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Is there a way to remove air from a container via a spell or other means? My DM is starting a new campaign with heavy survival elements, including food spoilage. He agrees that if I could seal spoil-able rations in an airtight container, they would last much longer.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! Take the tour if you haven't already. Good question! Also, it's worth keeping in mind that removing air from a container is not the same thing as the container being airtight. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 24 '18 at 0:28
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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you chosen a class yet or would you make the decision based on the availability of such a spell (if it exists)? Are there restrictions on classes (I can see Create Food and Water / Goodberry ruining part of the survival element)? \$\endgroup\$ – fabian Dec 24 '18 at 0:30
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    \$\begingroup\$ I recommend that you take a look at these Q&A regarding survival based campaigns, survival, and foraging. They are related to the campaign's theme, but do not directly address your thoughts on making sealed food containers. \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 24 '18 at 15:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've changed the title to one which better matches the question body. Feel free to edit it back, if you think it is necessary. \$\endgroup\$ – enkryptor Dec 24 '18 at 16:49
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Use basic canning techniques.

This is the method used by napoleon and the first use of large scale canning. Fill a bottle with cooked stew, insert cork, put bottle in water and bring to a boil and cook, allow to cool, boom sealed pasteurized food with no air. With spells that let you heat food directly or purify food while still in a sealed jar this is even more effective.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Of course, one wonders what a technique from the 19th century is doing in a medieval fantasy setting. \$\endgroup\$ – Dale M Dec 24 '18 at 20:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ Magic makes for strange technological progression, most fantasy settings have plate mail, buttons, and clear glass bottles but no cannons. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dec 25 '18 at 15:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ You need to leave a little bit of air in the container (called headspace) before you boil it to make a seal. \$\endgroup\$ – Vaelus Dec 25 '18 at 15:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't know how much space you need when using a cork, since the pressure will suck the cork in. \$\endgroup\$ – John Dec 25 '18 at 16:03
  • \$\begingroup\$ If you have magic, why can't you can? \$\endgroup\$ – Harper - Reinstate Monica Dec 25 '18 at 20:43
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Depending on your campaign, certain actions may be easier or harder.

If you're a part of a lower-level campaign or a low-magic campaign, then that's where things get complicated. You should ask your DM what should be plausible to craft with your resources, but creating a vacuum-sealed environment given the right set of Artisan's Tools isn't impossible. For example, you could burn up all of the oxygen in a sealed space by putting a candle in a closed environment (probably a box), alongside the food. Despite it not being a 'vacuum-seal' by conventional means, it would effectively burn up all oxygen in the environment. Even if this specific idea doesn't work, a good DM will work with you to encourage creativity.

If you're a part of a high-magic campaign and the source of the spoilage is mold, your DM might allow the Purify Food and Drink spell to properly treat the food. Alternatively, Create Food and Water allows you to bypass finding food altogether. If your DM is nice enough, he may even allow you to exploit Mordenkainen's Magnificent Mansion. According to the spell's text, the mansion

contains sufficient food to serve a nine-course banquet for up to 100 people.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd suggest flipping the organization of your answer around, answering the OP's direct question of how to remove air first, and then describing other potential solutions to the spoilage problem. \$\endgroup\$ – V2Blast Dec 24 '18 at 2:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @V2Blast Done. Thanks for the suggestion! \$\endgroup\$ – Hayden Pack Dec 24 '18 at 3:01
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There are many ways to prevent food from spoiling.

You might want to consider the variety of ways that people preserved food before refrigeration, such as salting, spicing, smoking, pickling, and drying. Cheese is a way of preserving milk. Many foods such as nuts and root vegetables will last a long time without being treated, as will many staples, such as flour and corn meal.

In a society without refrigeration, food preservation is likely to be well-known by just about everyone, and certainly known by farmers, butchers, and others specializing in food preparation.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Well known enough that preserved foods could just be bought for a journey. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 24 '18 at 16:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie - personally, I think so. Assuming a society without refrigeration, but with a non-growing season, food preservation is likely to be remarkably unremarkable. \$\endgroup\$ – Jack Dec 24 '18 at 17:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ And it was. Corned beef, salt pork, barrels of cold-stored root vegetables, pickles and preserves, wine, ale, cheese — all historically common food preservation products that could be bought for long journeys. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Dec 24 '18 at 20:12
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Is there a way to remove air from a container via a spell or other means?

There is an easy way — fill the container with water, and all the air inside will be displaced.

if I could seal spoil-able rations in an airtight container, they would last much longer

Well, this is not exactly true. Low oxygen environment does not prevent food from spoiling. For example, it is especially suited for Clostridium botulinum, the bacteria that causes botulism. You need to get rid of the existing bacteria first before sealing the container. Typically this can be made by freezing or boiling.

However, the very process of sterilization (or removing the air, for any means) does not make the container airtight. You probably need to use some kind of hermetic seal. As far as I know, grease and wax (thank you, @KorvinStarmast) were used for preserving food in the medieval times.

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    \$\begingroup\$ And wax, as well as grease? \$\endgroup\$ – KorvinStarmast Dec 24 '18 at 16:11

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