Long Term Food Storage Using Mylar Bags
& Oxygen Absorbers

 

CLICK HERE to see all Mylar Bags, Oxygen Absorbers, Desiccant & Heat Sealer


Mylar Bags for Long Term Food Storage

When deciding what kind of food storage arrangements to make for you and your family, you have several good options. You may choose food storage systems that are already pre-packed for long term storage and ready to be opened and eaten when an emergency strikes. That is an easy and commendable way to take care of your food storage needs. Plus the shelf life on these foods is an amazing 10 to 15 to 25 years due to the packaging!


However, there are some other excellent options for customizing how you store your food by doing it yourself. Or you may want to just add some special items to your food storage that aren’t in your ready-made food storage systems. Optimum Preparedness is excited to be offering the materials that use the latest technologies to allow you to do your own emergency long term food storage packaging. It is simple, safe and it lasts a long time.


Please read on to find out more about the great products we offer and how to do it yourself. You can package the food you want the way the professionals do it.


Remember, we are always glad to answer any questions you may have and assist you with recommendations regarding your specific food storage needs.



Do It Yourself Food Storage


Mylar Bags


Many people line the 5 gallon pail with a 5-gallon size Mylar Foil bag and place dry food products in there for long term storage. Another option would be to consider placing numerous 1 gallon, 1 quart or 1 pint size mylar pouches inside. This way you don't have to open 35 pounds of rice or beans all at one time. Plus you can put an assortment of food in one bucket. One example would be to have a bucket with a couple of one gallon mylar bags of oatmeal (or one oatmeal and one 7-grain cereal mix), a quart size bag of raisins, a quart or pint size bag of brown sugar and maybe a jar of cinnamon powder. There you have, in one tidy kit, all the makings of a dandy hot breakfast!


Mylar Bags Inside Pails    Mylar Small Pouches Inside Pail

Not Just For Food Storage


Mylar bags used in conjunction with oxygen absorbers are also a great way to preserve important books and other papers. We also sell a specially sized mylar foil bag that will accommodate rifles and shotguns. The mylar foil oxygen barrier bag is 11" x 60". You would use the 2000 cc oxygen absorber for the gun bags.
See item # H12MGB60 in our How To Hide Anything section.


Oxygen Absorbers


These packets eliminate the presence of oxygen in foodstuffs such as grain and milk powder, ensuring long-term shelf stability. They are commonly seen in beef jerky where they prevent mold while eliminating the use of chemical preservative and have been used by the US military to extend the shelf-life of bread for combat troops to up to two years.


How much oxygen absorbent capacity do you need for standard containers?


We recommend either 1500 or 2000 cc’s of oxygen absorbing capacity for 5 and 6 gallon pails. Use 1500 cc when packing things like rice, wheat, lentils - tthings that pack together closely. Use 2000 cc when packaging things with more residual air like pastas (and dog food). Thus, you could use 5 individual 300cc packets, or 3 individual 500 cc packets to make 1500 cc's of oxygen absorbers. For 2000 cc's you can use 4 of the 500 cc oxygen absorbers or one of our 2000 cc oxygen absorbers.


For a one gallon mylar bag or 1 gallon canning jar we recommend using one 300 cc oxygen absorber.

 

For one quart or one pint mylar bags or jars we recommend using one 50 cc oxygen absorber.


Concerned about humidity? Use a desiccant


If you are concerned about humidity affecting your food product (rice, wheat, beans and other dry grains.....) we have a clearly established protocol and procedure for providing a solution for this problem.


One to two individual 1 oz. packets of desiccant should be placed in the bottom of your Mylar Foil bag prior to filling with product. The oxygen absorbers are then placed on top of the grain or beans for sealing. Note: This is the recommended procedure for the 5 gallon sized mylar bags that are designed for 5 and 6 gallon pails. For some products that are already extremely dry and for which concern is minimal, you may use one packet.


IMPORTANT: The desiccant packets must be placed at the bottom of the pail or barrier bag or in the middle of the food products. The desiccant bags must not be close to the oxygen absorbers. Desiccants will negatively affect the performance of the oxygen absorber when close by. We do not recommend using the desiccant in the smaller one gallon, quart and pint size bags.

 

Sealing the Mylar Bags Properly


The mylar bags must be sealed properly for the whole thing to work as expected. You’ve got the food, the mylar bag that is more air-proof than a bucket, the oxygen absorber that will remove all the air so your food won’t go bad, but if you don’t seal that bag properly all your effort goes down the drain. Because the mylar bag is made out of a multi-layer material you CANNOT use a regular Food Saver or Seal A Meal unit to seal these bags. Those units just don’t reach a high enough temperature to do the job.


We offer the lowest cost, easiest to use hi-temp heat sealer for sealing the mylar foil bags. It has a wide ½” sealing width for very secure, lasting seals, and you can seal the smaller 1 gallon size mylar bags as well as the ones used with the 5-6 gallon buckets. There are bigger, badder better sealers, but a low end one is $1500 and they jump immediately into the $3500-$4500 range.


An alternative but not as easy way to seal the bags is to use your steam iron (with steam off) on the hottest setting (cordless irons won’t work because they can’t sustain the high heat long enough – you need to be up at 400 degrees Farenheit or 204 degrees Celsius) For most irons, Linen is the highest setting, so that will be your best choice with an iron.  (Instructions for using an iron are just below the info on the heat sealer.)


Options for Food Storage


Storage for Grains, Rice, Beans etc....


Mylar Bags Inside Pails


1. Food storage in a 5-6 Gallon Pail:


The Bag

Use the 5 gallon size Mylar Foil bag (we have several thicknesses) – this bag fits inside a 5 or 6 gallon pail and needs to be used with oxygen absorbers and then heat sealed. Most companies selling pre–packaged grains use this bag when packing grains and other foods.

 

The Oxygen Absorbers

Use 3 500 cc oxygen absorbers for items like wheat, rice, whole oats and other grains and beans that pack fairly tight in a bucket will be sufficient for a minimum TWO YEAR shelf life. You could also use 5 of the 300 cc oxygen absorbers (5 x 300cc = 1500cc). For food such as pasta, pet food and items that have a higher amount of residual air use the 2000cc oxygen absorbers or 4 of the 500 cc oxygen absorbers. It is OK to use the 2000cc oxygen absorber in a bucket of wheat, rice and other items that use 3 of the 500 cc oxygen absorbers.


500 cc oxygen absorbers, 50 per bag, use 3 per pail (order item # OAP500/50)

2000 cc oxygen absorbers, 10 per bag, use 1 per pail (order item # OAP2000/20)


The Desiccant

One to two individual 1 oz. packets of desiccant should be placed in the bottom of your Mylar Foil™ bag prior to filling with product. The oxygen absorber is then placed on top of the grain or beans for sealing. For some products that are already extremely dry and for which concern is minimal, you may use one packet per pail


Desiccant 1 oz each - Pak of 50 (order item # F205050PK01)


The Optimum Hi-Temp Heat Sealer

Heat sealers are critical to provide a proper barrier to oxygen for barrier bags. We recommend the 6-inch "constant heat" Clam type hot jaw heat sealer. The jaws are sufficient to close any type of heat sealable multi-layer structure. They can be used to seal the standard 20" x 30" barrier bag used in the five-gallon pails as well as the smaller bags.

 

The Optimum Hi-Temp Hot Jaw Heat Sealer (order item # FIPKHS606T)

 

Note: FoodSaver and Seal-A-Meal vacuum sealers do NOT reach a high enough temperature to seal the mylar foil bags. You will not get a seal that will hold. Those vacuum sealers are designed specifically for the clear plastic bags sold to be used with them.

 

2. Storage in 1 gallon mylar bags (approximately equivalent to a #10 can)


The Bag

You use one of these bags, which each hold the same volume as a 1 gallon jar. This will be approximately 7.5 pounds of grains or beans.


Mylar Foil 5.0 mil One Gallon Bags

Mylar Foil 3.5 mil One Gallon Bags

Mylar Foil 5.0 mil One Gallon Stand-up ZIPLOCK Bags


The Oxygen Absorbers

For gallon size mylar bags use 1) 300cc oxygen absorber.


300 cc Oxygen Absorbers

 

The Optimum Hi-Temp Heat Sealer

Heat sealers are critical to provide a proper barrier to oxygen for barrier bags. We recommend the 6-inch "constant heat" Clam type hot jaw heat sealer. The jaws are sufficient to close any type of heat sealable multi-layer structure. They can be used to seal the standard 5 gallon size mylar foil oxygen barrier bag used in the five-gallon pails as well as the smaller bags.

 

The Optimum Hi-Temp Hot Jaw Heat Sealer (order item # FIPKHS606T)

 

Note: FoodSaver and Seal-A-Meal vacuum sealers do NOT reach a high enough temperature to seal the mylar foil bags. You will not get a seal that will hold. Those vacuum sealers are designed specifically for the clear plastic bags sold to be used with them.

 

3. Storage in 1 quart or 1 pint mylar bags


The Bag

You use one of these bags, which each hold the same volume as a 1 quart jar.


Mylar Foil 5 mil One Quart Bags

Mylar Foil 4.3 mil One Quart ZIPLOCK Bags


The Oxygen Absorbers

For quart or pint size mylar bags use 1) 50 cc oxygen absorber.


50 cc Oxygen Absorbers

 

The Optimum Hi-Temp Heat Sealer

Heat sealers are critical to provide a proper barrier to oxygen for barrier bags. We recommend the 6-inch "constant heat" Clam type hot jaw heat sealer. The jaws are sufficient to close any type of heat sealable multi-layer structure. They can be used to seal the standard 5 gallon size mylar foil oxygen barrier bag used in the five-gallon pails as well as the smaller bags.

 

The Optimum Hi-Temp Hot Jaw Heat Sealer (order item # FIPKHS606T)

 

Note: FoodSaver and Seal-A-Meal vacuum sealers do NOT reach a high enough temperature to seal the mylar foil bags. You will not get a seal that will hold. Those vacuum sealers are designed specifically for the clear plastic bags sold to be used with them.


      Mylar Small Pouches Inside 1 Gallon Pail    More Mylar Small Pouches Inside Pail


ROTATE YOUR FOOD STORAGE!


Date Your Food Storage Mylar Bags


Hi Temp Heat Sealers

Heat Sealer
Heat sealers are critical to provide a proper barrier to oxygen for barrier bags. We recommend the 6-inch "constant heat" Clam type hot jaw heat sealer. There are heat sealers out there that are fancier and that cost double the price, but this one does the job that needs to be done, and is designed to be used with the mylar foil oxygen barrier bags that you use for Long Term Food Storage. The jaws are sufficient to close any thickness of the mylar bags that we sell. They can be used to seal the 5-gallon size mylar foil oxygen barrier bags used in the five-gallon pails as well as the smaller bags.


Hot Jaw Heat Sealer (order item # FIPKHS606T)


Note: FoodSaver and Seal-A-Meal vacuum sealers do NOT reach a high enough temperature to seal the mylar foil bags. You will not get a seal that will hold. Those vacuum sealers are designed specifically for the clear plastic bags sold to be used with them. They do make vacuum sealers that would work but a low end one is $1500 and they jump immediately into the $3500-$4500 range.


USING YOUR CLOTHES IRON TO SEAL MYLAR BAGS

An alternative but not as easy way to seal the bags is to use your steam iron (with steam off) on the Linen or Cotton setting (cordless irons won’t work because they can’t sustain the high heat long enough – you need to up at 400 degrees Farenheit or 204 degrees Celsius) For most irons, Linen is the highest setting, so that will be your best choice with an iron.

 

For instructions on how to use your iron to seal the mylar bags CLICK HERE


The Heat Sealing Process Illustrated


Opened Mylar Bag Inside 5 Gallon Pail Mylar Bag Opened with Dry Food Inside 5 Gallon Pail
Oxygen Absorber being Placed Inside 5 Gallon Pail Additional Oxygen Absorber being Placed Inside 5 Gallon Pail
Preparing Mylar Bag For Heat Sealing Heat Sealing Mylar Bag
Folding Heat Sealed Mylar Bag Preparing Corners of Folded Heat Sealed Mylar Bag
Heat Sealing Corners of Folded Mylar Bag Showing Sealed Corner of Folded Mylar Bag


CLICK HERE to see all Mylar Bags, Oxygen Absorbers, Desiccant & Heat Sealer


Mylar Foil® Oxygen Barrier Bags


In the food processing area, these bags are known as oxygen barrier bags. Many people refer to them as Mylar® Foil bags because the outer layer of the bag is Mylar® Foil, which is a brand name for the DuPont Corporation's polyester film.


OXYGEN BARRIER BAGS (Mylar®FOIL BAGS) will greatly increase the shelf stability of your food products. Polyethylene pails are not a true oxygen barrier by themselves. The oxygen transmission rate (OTR) is critical. For example, our bags have a transmission rate of 0.001 cc's of oxygen per square meter per 24 hours. A clear Mylar®/poly bag is 0.5 cc's/ square meter/ 24 hours. This means the Mylar/poly bag is 500 (FIVE HUNDRED!) times greater.


WARNING: Some companies and people will try to tell you that clear "FOODSAVER" bags are good for long term storage. THEY ARE NOT. For long term food storage you should use the mylar foil oxygen barrier bags.


How do I know if I have the right type of Mylar Foil™ bags?


This is an extremely good question. The Mylar® foil bags that are used for long-term food storage were originally designed for exporting Macadamia nuts in bulk. This bag is 4.3 mils thick and appears to look like aluminum foil. Although the Mylar® foil layer is transparent, long-term food storage bags are NEVER transparent. Here at Optimum Preparedness we sell only FDA approved food grade mylar foil oxygen barrier bags made for long term food storage.


Another type of Mylar® Foil with which many consumers are familiar is the "Mylar® Foil balloon" that is often sold at supermarkets for birthdays and other occasions. The industrial name for the Mylar® Foil balloon material (NOT the same as the bags we sell!!) is metalized polyester. This is product mostly cosmetic and has minimal oxygen barrier properties.


Any concerned individual should be very wary of an organization trying to promote "transparent" barrier bags as a food storage bag. Long-term food storage should never be one of them. (One good example to watch for is the US Military MRE products. The packaging material used to produce the MREs has a very high oxygen barrier.)


What is the worst that can happen if I do not use a Mylar Foil™ bag inside my pail?


First the plastic pail is not an oxygen barrier (like a #10 can is) so there is a slow transmission of oxygen through the polyethylene walls of the container over time. According to grain processors, the most common problem is insect infestation. Nothing will eliminate this as certainly as an oxygen barrier bag and an oxygen absorber. (Gas flushing will always leave 2-5% oxygen minimum.)


Also, since the oxygen absorber will actually remove 20.5 % of the air that is within the container, it is possible for the absorber to pull in the wall of the container (the vacuum effect) to such a degree that the lid separates from the pail.


IMPORTANT: IF THE LID, WHICH SHOULD HAVE A GASKET, SEPARATES FROM THE BUCKET ENOUGH TO CREATE EVEN A VERY VERY SMALL OPENING THE OXYGEN ABSORBER WILL BE DEPLETED WITHIN 72 hours MAXIMUM. THIS IS WHY THE HIGH QUALITY FOOD PACKERS USE A 4.3 MIL Mylar BAG INSIDE THEIR PLASTIC PAILS.