Fats and rancidity: a food prepper's problem.Submitted by Smudge Pot on Thu, 05/30/2013 - 13:22
Many of the dehydrated "food storage units" available these days specify that you need a certain amount of fats or oils to supplement their unit. You probably know these units, they generally sell as "1 person, 1 year" type of packages and they contain a variety of grains, legumes, fruits other essentials. You might wonder why they don't just include a container of oil to complete their units. Or even why we need them.
Fats are pretty chemically simple, carbon with oxygen and hydrogen attached. Not as complex as amino acids (proteins). This goes for saturated, unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, the omega fats everybody loves to talk about these days, triglycerides and the cooking oil in your cupboard. Animal fats, vegetable fats are all this composition.
Fats (oils, lipids) are one of our bodies essential nutrients. While our bodies can manufacture some of the fat we need by using other nutrients, we can't make enough of them. Fats are our body's method of storing energy, lubricating joints and it turns out we need them to absorb a list of essential vitamins. They are not optional, we get sick and die without them. And in times of starvation our body burns off stored fat by converting it into energy (mostly by turning it into glucose which is the favored food of our cells.
Unfortunately the presence of these hydrogen and oxygen molecules aren't all that stable and the hydrogen and oxygen tend to become attracted to and run off with the milk man so to speak. They can get together with each other and create water which will induce a milky or emuslified kind of appearing oil, and this would be a hydrolysis. I usually see this with oils that have been "annealed" or subject to repeated heating and cooling.
The other thing is they can combine with oxygen and we have oxidation. The latter is the issue we call "rancidity".
Author L Joseph Mountain recently published Hidden Harvest, Long Term Food Storage Techniques For Rich And Poor. Available on Amazon.
Read the full article at LongTermStorageFood.com