Ultimate Guide to Long Term Food Storage Mylar Bags

long term food storage mylar bags

When it comes to prepping for the future or simply ensuring your pantry is well-stocked, long-term food storage is a critical consideration. Ever wonder why some preppers swear by Mylar bags? Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of why Mylar bags are the unsung heroes of food storage.

What Are Mylar Bags?

Definition and Origin

Long term food storage mylar bags are made from stretched polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a material known for its strength and durability. Originally developed by DuPont in the 1950s, Mylar is a trade name that has become synonymous with these versatile storage bags.

How They Work

These bags work by providing an impermeable barrier to oxygen, light, and moisture. When combined with oxygen absorbers, they create an environment that significantly extends the shelf life of food products.

Benefits of Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage

Longevity

One of the standout benefits of Mylar bags is their ability to keep food fresh for a long time—often upwards of 25 years under the right conditions. This makes them perfect for emergency preparedness.

Protection from Light and Moisture

Mylar bags are highly effective at blocking out light and moisture, two of the main culprits that cause food to spoil. This protection helps maintain the flavor and nutritional value of your stored food.

Preservation of Nutritional Value

By sealing out air and moisture, Mylar bags help preserve the vitamins and minerals in your food. This means you’ll still get the nutritional benefits even years down the line.

Types of Mylar Bags

Different Sizes

Mylar bags come in a variety of sizes, from small pouches suitable for single meals to large bags that can hold several pounds of food. This flexibility allows you to store both small and large quantities effectively.

Various Thicknesses

The thickness of Mylar bags can vary, with thicker bags providing more protection but at a higher cost. Common thicknesses range from 3.5 mil to 7.5 mil.

Ziplock vs. Heat-Sealable

Some Mylar bags come with a ziplock feature for convenience, while others are designed to be sealed with heat. Heat-sealable bags are often preferred for long-term storage as they provide a more secure seal.

Choosing the Right Mylar Bag for Your Needs

Determining Storage Requirements

Consider how much food you plan to store and the space available. Larger bags are great for bulk storage, while smaller bags are ideal for individual portions.

Considering the Type of Food

Different foods have different storage requirements. For example, grains and legumes might need different sizes and types of Mylar bags compared to dehydrated fruits or meats.

Evaluating Storage Space

Ensure you have enough storage space to accommodate your filled Mylar bags. A cool, dry place is ideal for maintaining the quality of your stored food.

Preparation for Long-Term Food Storage

Cleaning and Drying Food

Before sealing food in Mylar bags, make sure it’s clean and dry. Moisture can cause mold and spoilage, so it’s crucial to dehydrate foods thoroughly.

Using Oxygen Absorbers

Oxygen absorbers are small packets that remove oxygen from the sealed environment, helping to extend the shelf life of your food by preventing oxidation.

Labeling and Dating

Always label and date your Mylar bags before storing them. This helps you keep track of what you have and when it was stored, making rotation easier.

Step-by-Step Guide to Storing Food in Mylar Bags

Gathering Supplies

You’ll need Mylar bags, oxygen absorbers, a heat sealer or iron, labels, and a marker.

Filling the Bags

Fill the bags with your chosen food, leaving some space at the top for sealing.

Sealing the Bags

Place an oxygen absorber inside the bag, then use a heat sealer or iron to seal the bag tightly.

Storing the Bags

Store the sealed bags in a cool, dry, and dark place. Avoid areas with high humidity or temperature fluctuations.

Best Foods to Store in Mylar Bags

Grains and Legumes

Rice, beans, lentils, and other grains and legumes are excellent candidates for Mylar bag storage due to their long shelf life.

Dehydrated Fruits and Vegetables

These foods retain their nutritional value and can last for years when stored in Mylar bags.

Dried Meats

Jerky and other dried meats can be stored long-term in Mylar bags, making them a reliable protein source.

Foods to Avoid Storing in Mylar Bags

High-Moisture Foods

Foods with high moisture content, like fresh fruits and vegetables, are not suitable for Mylar bag storage as they can cause mold growth.

Oily Foods

Nuts and seeds have a high oil content and can go rancid quickly, even in Mylar bags.

Perishable Items

Foods that need refrigeration, like dairy products, should not be stored in Mylar bags.

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How to Seal Mylar Bags Properly

Using an Iron

An iron can be used to seal Mylar bags by pressing along the top of the bag to create a tight seal.

Using a Heat Sealer

A heat sealer is a more precise tool that provides a consistent seal, ensuring no air can enter.

Ensuring a Tight Seal

Double-check the seal for any gaps or weak spots to ensure the bag is airtight.

Storing Mylar Bags Correctly

Optimal Conditions

Store Mylar bags in a cool, dry, and dark place to prevent spoilage and maintain food quality.

Avoiding Pests

Use airtight containers or storage bins to protect your Mylar bags from rodents and insects.

Rotating Your Stock

Regularly rotate your stored food to ensure you use the oldest items first, maintaining a fresh supply.

Signs Your Stored Food Has Gone Bad

Physical Changes

Check for discoloration, mold, or any other unusual changes in appearance.

Off Odors

A foul or unusual smell is a clear indicator that the food has spoiled.

Infestation Signs

Look for signs of pests, such as droppings or holes in the packaging.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Inadequate Sealing

Ensure you properly seal the bags to prevent air from getting in.

Incorrect Storage Environment

Avoid storing Mylar bags in places with high humidity or temperature fluctuations.

Not Using Oxygen Absorbers

Always include oxygen absorbers to extend the shelf life of your food.

Conclusion

Mylar bags are a fantastic solution for anyone looking to store food long-term. They offer unparalleled protection from light, moisture, and oxygen, ensuring your food remains fresh and nutritious for years to come. Whether you’re preparing for an emergency or just want to keep your pantry stocked, Mylar bags are a reliable choice.

FAQs About Mylar Bags and Food Storage

How Long Can Food Last in Mylar Bags?

Under optimal conditions, food can last up to 25 years in Mylar bags.

Are Mylar Bags Reusable?

While some Mylar bags can be reused, it’s generally recommended to use new ones for long-term storage to ensure a secure seal.

Do You Need to Freeze Food Before Storing?

Freezing is not necessary, but it can help kill any potential pests before storage.

What Size Mylar Bag Should I Use?

The size depends on the amount of food you plan to store. Common sizes range from 1-gallon to 5-gallon bags.

Can You Store Cooked Food in Mylar Bags?

It’s best to store dried or dehydrated foods in Mylar bags to avoid spoilage.

 

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