PAST KNOWLEDGE SESSIONS

Using Mylar Bags & Oxygen Absorbers for Easy Dry Food Storage

We held a demo on using Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers to easily, quickly and inexpensively store some of your dry food staples for the relative long-term.

There are many options to choose from in terms of the bags and other supplies you need to do this but all are readily available online (and some are available at The Prep Den).

BASIC DETAILS (Mylar Bags)

THICKNESS: Ranges from a couple of mm. thick to to more than 10 mm.

SIZE: Ranges broadly. Pint, Quart, Gallon and multiples of these are common. Trim-to-suit also available. At The Prep Den, we even have rifle/long gun single mylar storage bags with moisture wicking desiccant packs available for sale.

QUALITY:  Varies wildly. Important to work with a reputable vendor on these as they will be holding your food! Check the puncture/damage strength for durability and ease of sealing. Good quality bags should be easily sealed with an inexpensive hair straightening iron.

QUANTITY: Are typically sold in packs of 10, 50, 100 or in bulk quantities.

EXTENDED SHELF LIFE: Excellent quality bags that are properly sealed will hold your dry food safely for over 25 years.

How To Use Mylar Bags & Oxygen Absorbers for Dry Food Storage

Mylar bags offer an easy, quick and inexpensive solution to sealing dry food as they help keep moisture, sunlight, and oxygen out and extend the food’s shelf-life. 

Get all of your supplies ready:

• Food you’re going to store.

• Bucket(s) & Lid(s)

• Mylar bags with correctly sized oxygen absorbers for each.

• Hair straightener iron.

STEPS

1 – Prop your bag up in a sturdy manner so it doesn’t tip over. Many people like to use the bucket as the holder for the bag. You can also work with a partner.

2 – Pour the food into the Mylar bag and shake it a little bit so it settles nicely into the bottom.

3 – Throw an oxygen absorber into the bag right on top of the food making sure you select the right size for use in that bag.

4 – Seal the bag with your hair straightener iron. Try to seal it by clamping it as close to the food level in the bag as you can without straining or pulling on the bag too hard as you don’t want it to tear. The oxygen absorber will do the rest for you. If there is still some space in the bag even after it’s sealed, it shouldn’t be a problem as it’s likely to be just nitrogen which will not hurt your food at all. 

5 – Label your bag as you seal it with type of food inside and the date you sealed it, at a minimum. More information can be helpful but it’s up to you to determine what to add. 

6 – Carefully place the bag into your storage bucket or other container. Once filled up with bags, place a tight lid on container. 

7 – Store containers in cool, dry place. 

Brief Instagram Video of our sealed demo bag which was filled and sealed in about 2 minutes and oxygen absorption completed as it sat on the counter, within 2-3 hours.

In our demo, I showed a bag I’d filled with wheat berries and sealed more than two years ago. It’s still solidly sealed and hard as a rock. The demo bag we filled with quinoa at the demo (6/9) was packed tightly and also super hard with no bag flexibility within a few hours of being sealed. These are both on display at The Prep Den.

QUICK GUIDE TO OXYGEN ABSORBER SIZES:

TIPS

  1. Re-seal the packaging of any oxygen absorbers you do not use immediately, as once they’re exposed to the air they begin absorbing the oxygen out of it. You can use a basic vacuum sealer for this purpose. Some oxygen absorber brands send a “viability sticker” along with their products that show they are still effective. Most don’t, however.
  2. Either use a sticker label or a permanent marker to indicate what’s in the bag, when it was packed, the original “use by” and when you’d like to plan to use or toss. Remember that, if packed and sealed correctly, most of these dry staple foods will stay good to consume for at least a couple of decades.
  3. If you’re following the use guide (above) but still having a tough time deciding how many oxygen absorbers to use, overestimate by a little bit. Sometimes I’ll add a second, lesser quantity absorber to the bottom of the bag followed by the original absorber on the top, before filling and sealing, just to be sure.
  4. It’s usually best to have the correct amount of food to store in one sitting as you have bags and absorbers prepared to use. That way you can open the package of oxygen absorbers (typically 10 in a pack) up just one time, fill, seal, and be done in just minutes.
  5. Do what works for you but I choose to use the smaller sized bags for our food storage so that when the time comes to use them, we can take only the amount we need and leave what’s left sealed and secure. While you can re-seal a bag after it’s been opened, I prefer to know exactly when it was sealed in the first place and not make any changes to it unless I have to.
  6. Store your sealed bags in a more sturdy container. I use the food-grade buckets from Lowes in the 5 gallon size but there are a variety to choose from. Be sure to get a good lid and a lid remover too!
  7. Periodically check your stored bags to make sure none have broken their seal. It doesn’t happen very often but on the off chance they have, and you know that it was within the timeframe of the food’s “use by” date, you can re-seal or use that food up right then.
  8. If you make a mistake, be like Bob Ross and just think of it as a happy accident. You learned what not to do the next time and still have the option of just simply trying again! Remove just a bit of the food from the bag and re-seal the top.

The buckets I use:

I like the 5-gallon buckets with the handle (and lid). I pack food into smaller sized Mylar bags so I can use only what’s needed when it’s needed and not have to re-seal anything.

SEALER IRON

Though there are many ways to seal your mylar bags, I’ve found the easiest and least expensive is to get a flat hair iron from one of the big online shops. You can find them for as little as about $8 (for the 2-inch, with the 1″ being even less expensive).

WHERE TO BUY MYLAR BAGS, ETC.:

At The Prep Den, we sell 10-packs of 1-gallon or 1-quart sized mylar bags with the correct size oxygen absorbers. We also sell single long-gun size bags with a desiccant pack. I’ve only marked these up about 5% compared with the prices on Amazon, to cover my shipping and handling. I buy PackFreshUSA Brand which have been the best I’ve found so far.

You can also buy from Amazon/Walmart or a variety of specialized product distributors if you’re interested in higher quantities or alternative sizes. Try to choose the USA-made products or at least those coming from a US-based manufacturer/distributor as opposed to buying from an overseas source as you’ll want these to work for the duration for you and your family.

I encourage everyone to just get started asap with this activity, even just with a 10-pack, due to the ease of use and the relative low cost of this option. It can extend your available emergency food supply from days to months very quickly and easily!

As always, reach out with questions or better yet, pop into the shop sometime.

Share This Post:

Facebook
X