There are a variety of methods available today that lengthen the shelf life of food so that it can be stored and used at a much later date. Examples of those methods include canning, smoking, and dehydrating, just to name a few. The method that you choose will depend on the type of food you want to store and for how long.
If you want to store primarily dry food and you want the option of storing it for a very long time, then you have come to the right place because this article is all about storing food in mylar bags. Let’s begin with why you should choose mylar bags as a food storage option.
Why Use Mylar Bags?
Saving food in mylar bags is relatively affordable, easy, and can be done at home. We will get into this more in the next section but for now, just know that anybody can use this method and it takes no time at all to get started.
If you are reading this then you probably know all the reasons why someone would want to store food, but you may not know why someone would choose mylar bags.
The main reason is that they can protect food for a very long time. Some estimates say food stored in mylar bags can last up to 40 years when done so properly which is pretty incredible if you stop to think about it. Food placed in one of these bags today could be eaten in the year 2061! Although most food options will last closer to between twenty and thirty years which is still quite a long time. Food can stay good for this long because mylar is an excellent barrier against oxygen, moisture, and sunlight.
Oxygen and moisture are the two biggest enemies in keeping food from spoiling because they promote the growth of bacteria and other small critters.
Sunlight is another culprit of food deterioration because over time it can have a negative impact on certain vitamins. Mylar is an effective barrier against all three issues.
Mylar bags also come in a variety of sizes. Half gallon, one gallon, and even five-gallon bags. This gives a person more options when deciding what kind and how much food to store.
Another reason people choose to use mylar bags has nothing to do with food. These bags can be used to store almost anything that you want to protect against oxygen, moisture, and sunlight. This could include things like clothes, tools, gear, or family heirlooms.
What You Will Need
Storing food in mylar bags is simple and easy. To get started you will need the following items. Some of these items can be picked up at some big box stores, specialty stores, or online.
As mentioned before, these bags come in a variety of different sizes. Most people can get what they need out of using one gallon-sized bags or smaller. The five-gallon bags are quite large but work great if you purchase bulk food or if you want to store larger items.
The other factor to consider is the thickness of the bag because bags can be different in this regard as well. The thickness of a mylar bag is measured in mils, but many people agree that the bags should be a minimum of 5 mils thick.
Lastly, some mylar bags come with resealable tops, much like a Ziplock bag. These can be nice for keeping food fresh longer after the mylar seal has been broken.
Last update on 2021-11-17 at 04:07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
An oxygen absorber is a small packet of powdered iron that is placed inside the mylar bag along with the food to decrease the amount of oxygen.
Just like the mylar bags, oxygen absorbers come in different sizes as well. The size that you choose will be based on the size of the bag you use and the type of food in the bag. Click here for a more detailed chart on using oxygen absorbers.
Last update on 2021-11-17 at 04:08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
This is a device that gets very hot to melt and seal shut the mylar bag. There are a couple of different options to choose from.
The first option is to get a sealer that is specifically made for sealing mylar bags. There are two different options available. One simply seals the bag and another is a vacuum sealer that not only seals the bag but removes the air from the bag before sealing.
The next two options are for DIYers who don’t want to spend a lot of money but still get the job done. The first is a clothes iron and a piece of wood or other solid backing material. The wood is used as a backing material for the iron to press the bag against during the heating process.
The last option to use is a hair straightener which looks like some mylar sealers, is easy to use, and is probably the cheapest option because many households already have them.
Last update on 2021-11-17 at 04:10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Helpful Items That Are Not Required
The above list of items are things that you will need while the list below includes items that are not required but can be helpful to the process.
These help in providing support to the bag during the filling process. Also, if the bag accidentally tips over before it is sealed, then the spilled food will be contained and will be easier to clean up. It is also recommended to have large sealable containers in which to store the sealed mylar bags.
Measuring Cups or Scales
These two items are helpful if you are concerned with controlling portion sizes or with keeping the weight of the bags within a certain range.
A scoop will help to transfer the food from the original container to the mylar bag quickly and cleanly. These are especially helpful when dealing with bulk food items.
If you are an organized individual then you may or may not want this item. Either way, a label maker will make it easier to identify what is in the finished mylar bag and the date it was sealed by placing a label on the outside of the bag.
Putting it All Together
Once you have all your supplies gathered up it’s time to start bagging some food. Below is an easy-to-follow guide for storing your food in mylar bags.
Choose the size of mylar bag that you want, open it, and stand it upright on a level surface. At this point go ahead and plug the sealer in so that it has time to warm up.
Use a scoop to transfer the food from the original container and into the mylar bag. If the original container is not that big then you can simply pour the food into the bag. Be sure to give the bag a good shake to settle the food as much as possible.
Don’t fill the mylar bag to the top because you will need some space to add oxygen absorbers and to pull the two sides of the bag together. A few inches of space should suffice.
Place the appropriate number of oxygen absorbers right on top of the food. Once they have been exposed to air, you need to move quickly to seal the bag so that they can do their job.
Any extra oxygen absorbers that are not going to be used need to be stored in an airtight container. Consult an oxygen absorber chart to figure out how many absorbers you will need. Click here for a chart provided by USA Emergency Food.
Once the oxygen absorbers are in it’s time to use whatever sealer you have to close the top of the bag. The sealer will either clamp down onto the top of the bag or it needs to be run across the top to create a seal. Depending on the type of device you are using it may take a little bit of practice to get a feel for this part but it doesn’t take much to form a tight seal.
At this point, the food is sealed and ready to be stored. For good measure, you may want to label the bag with the type of food and the date that you sealed it. This will take away any guesswork down the road when you are going through your stored food items.
Storing Finished Bags
Since mylar bags are susceptible to punctures and critters getting into them, it’s a good idea to store the finished bags in a hard container that can be sealed. The containers do not need to be food grade but they should be clean and do not have a history of storing any hazardous materials.
Popular containers include five-gallon buckets and common plastic totes. The containers should then be stored in a cool, dry location and out of direct sunlight.
Types of Food That Can Be Stored in Mylar Bags
Almost any type of food can be stored in mylar bags but foods that are low in moisture, fat, and oil, are better to store because they will last much longer. Here are a few popular food options and the duration that they can be stored.
- Hard grains like wheat or corn can last over ten years
- Dehydrated fruits or vegetables over ten years
- Pasta can last up to thirty years
- Honey, salt, and sugar that have no additives should stay good indefinitely
Overview of Mylar Bag Benefits
- Mylar bags are non-porous
- Simple, easy process that can be done at home
- A variety of food can be stored in them
- Up to 30-year shelf life
- Excellent barrier against oxygen, moisture, and sunlight
- Variety of different sizes available
- Mylar bags can be used for non-food items as well
- Sealed mylar bags are easy to transport
Storing food in mylar bags is a great way to save food for emergencies or as a money-saving measure by purchasing food in bulk. Using mylar bags is an affordable easy option for anyone wanting to store food at home.
I hope that this short guide has answered some of your questions and possibly piqued your interest in using mylar bags as a food saving option
Let us know if you have any thoughts, questions or you just want to share your experience with using mylar bags by leaving a comment below. Thanks for reading and stay prepared!