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How to Use Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers to Store Food Long Term

This post is dedicated to Mrs. Linda, you have my apologies for not having this information front and center!  For the Mylar Bags we sell at Advice and Beans (Discount Mylar Bags), there are a number of ways to seal them, including with a straightening iron, some vacuum sealers, and a hot jaw sealer.  As most everyone probably has a clothes iron around, here are instructions for using one to seal Mylar.

1. Place the bag on a flat surface. The two sides of the open end of the bag must be flat and without wrinkles.

2. Set the iron to “wool.” The wool setting will be warm enough to seal most Mylar bags. Thicker bags may require a higher setting.  You do not need to place a cloth or anything in between the iron and the surface of the bag. IMPORTANT: The material of our bags has been designed with a heat resistant outer layer. We accept no responsibility in attempting to do this with other packaging materials.  Please note you can melt even the outer layer if your iron is set too high or you keep the heat on the bag for too long.

3. Seal the bag closed with the iron. Go over the bag several times in a three to four inch wide band creating a wide seal area. Watch closely for even small wrinkles. A small wrinkle in the seal can remove 95+% of the barrier proprieties of the bag.

For more info please see the following YouTube video.  (This is #1 in a 3 part series; you can link to the other parts from YouTube)

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30

08 2010

16 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. Bunny Hopkins #
    1

    Question for Tobias: I’ve bought a stash of conventional dehydrated supermarket products: cake mixes, mac & cheese, instant oatmeal breakfasts etc that are packed in individual serving wax bags. Can these bags be slit or punctured at the tops to pack several into a one-gallon mylar bag? Or must they be emptied into the mylar before adding the oxy absorber? I’m thinking of putting an absorber at both the bottom and the top of each bag. What’s your opinion?

    Thank you so much for this superb blog – and your store!

  2. 2

    Ma’am,

    Thanks for the question, and a great idea to make sure you have a variety of foods! You can puncture the bags to ensure oxygen is absorbed, but I prefer to remove foods from their packaging entirely. Paper packaging over time can support bacterial growth and off-taste, and I usually go for ‘rather safe than sorry’. You will very likely be fine in either case though, and that is more my personal preference than a ‘must do’. I’d be careful with the cake mixes or anything with fats or oils, as these will go rancid over time (usually still edible in a pinch, they’ll just taste bad). Make sure you rotate those items regularly. (Though doing that with all your food is usually the right call) Many folks put an absorber at both the top and bottom, but I don’t have any results to point to that is better than putting them just at the top or bottom. It certainly can’t hurt though!

    Good luck!

    Thank you!
    Tobias

  3. Storage mama #
    3

    Can you use oxygen absorbers with a vacuum sealing system that uses the plastic type bags? Is there an advantage? Would the product last longer? Or is the Mylar overall better.

  4. lila #
    4

    Can I use Mylar bags to store ham to use at another time? Should I use the absorbers if I can use the Mylar bags??

  5. 5

    hi , i saw you products in the ebay web site, i interest in storage food in long term, but I dont have a Idea Who to do it, do you have recipes o sugested product to doit whit your bags???
    I leve in mexico.
    best regards
    oscar

  6. 6

    Ma’am,

    I am hoping to do some organizational products to go with the bags this year, though at this point no recipes. There are a ton of great food storage recipe books available with a quick Google search; we usually just wing it!=)

    Thank you!
    Tobias

  7. 7

    Ma’am,

    Heya, thanks for the question! I would not store meat in a Mylar bag. You want foods with as low a moisture content as possible, preferably 12% or lower. Usually folks store dry goods such as rice, wheat and legumes (and some processed foods such as pasta) as they meet that requirement. If you food has above a 35% moisture content, you are also at risk of botulism, as it requires both a high moisture content and an anaerobic environment such as is caused by an oxygen absorber.

    Thank you!
    Tobias

  8. 8

    Ma’am,

    Some of the vacuum sealing systems recommend freezing your bags after sealing them. Not much beats freezing/vacuum sealed products in terms of shelf life. However, for foods that will be exposed to room temperatures, Mylar and absorbers are the way to go. The big benefit to Mylar and absorbers is that they bring the oxygen level in the package down to .1% or so, while vacuum sealing generally only brings it down to about 2%. That’s about a 2000% difference in oxygen levels!

    Thank you!
    Tobias

  9. Melinda #
    9

    I just purchased the bags and absorbers. I have rice, oats, etc. sealed and inside of buckets ready to be sealed. My question is this: Can I store these sealed buckets in an area that has a fluctuating temperture or do they have to be stored in a controlled temperature environment? To clarify, what I mean by fluctuating is that the temperature will vary from HOT to COLD…my available space is within my barn.

  10. 10

    Ma’am,

    Thanks for the note! A consistent temperature environment is definitely what you want to strive for. I don’t know if there is any room to dig down a bit in your barn, but that could be one way to make the temperature a bit more consistent (kind of like a mini root cellar). A rule to remember is that for every 18 degrees, you cut your shelf life in half (or double it, if decreasing the temp). So if you average 100 degrees in the summer, you end up ‘aging’ your food about 2 years in comparison to aging only 6 months at 60 degrees. Plus, heavy temperature variations also have the risk to cause moisture in your food, as it may ‘expire’ and resettle on your food, which makes temp fluctuations also have a mold risk. If that is the only option you have, I always say some storage is better than none, but I would definitely test your food often!

    Thank you!
    Tobias

  11. Jarret #
    11

    Can you put oxy absorbers in a mylar bag and use only the seal setting (no vacuum) on a Foodsaver vacuum sealer?

  12. Sfreeman #
    12

    I have purchased the zip seal Mylar bags. Do they need to be ironed closed to ensure the bags seal good or do I just zip seal them and store them in my buckets?

  13. 13

    Ma’am,

    Sorry for the very slow reply, I missed this back when originally posted! Yes, for longest term storage, you should heat seal the Mylar bag above the zip seal.

    Thank you!
    Tobias

  14. 14

    Sir,

    Yes, though because Food Saver seals are thin, I always recommend sealing each bag twice!

    Thank you!
    Tobias

  15. Sue #
    15

    I measured my dry beans and rice into 1# portions and used a vacuum sealer seal the bags. I’m planing to store them in mylar bags. My question(s) is do I need to used oxygen absorbers in my mylar bag and should i use a bucket also? I live on the gulf coast and the humidity is terrible, will this way of storing be wise? Thank You

  16. 16

    I bought an impulse sealer F-300, but the instructions are pathetic. The heat dial goes from 1-5 in blue and 6-8 in red. Do you know how any of those numbers would correspond to the wool setting on an iron? I have mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. I can do trial & error and ruin a few bags, but prefer not.
    Thanks much



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