Learn how to seal mylar bags to ensure that your long term food storage pantry is protected against pests and the elements.
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We started our long term food storage pantry back in 2016. There have been many times since then, that I have been thankful that we had it. Simply not having to go to the store as often, as a busy homeschooling mother of four has been a wonderful reason that having extra food on hand has really been a blessing! It also saves tons of money and helps stay ahead of the inflationary curve!
There have power outages, civil unrest, and not to mention 2020! All of those recent events confirmed, in my mind, that having a long term food storage plan was a good idea. It wasn’t long ago that every household was advised to have at least 6 months worth of food storage for any type of disaster, but somehow that has slipped away.
I think there is a food storage revival happening! Which is why I wanted to write this post on how to seal Mylar Bags. This is our favorite method for storing our grains, flours, sugars, and beans. It keeps them good for a long time without us having to worry about spoilage. If you haven’t heard of this method before you might be wondering what Mylar Bags are.
What are mylar bags?
Mylar Bags are storage bags that come in all different sizes. They are commonly used for long term food storage. The bags look like they were made from a heavy-duty aluminum foil, although you can buy them with see through windows, or other colors like black.
You can fill these bags with dry food and oxygen absorbers to boost the shelf life of your extended pantry. If you are unsure of how much oxygen absorber to use, I recommend referencing the USA Emergency Supply website. Here you will find an in depth list of how to properly use oxygen absorbers.
Once filled, you can easily seal Mylar Bags with an impulse sealer or even an clothes iron or a flat iron hair straightener. Once sealed, the oxygen absorbers will remove the oxygen in the bag, which will keep your dry goods fresh.
What food can you store in mylar bags?
You can store a variety of foods in Mylar Bags with oxygen absorbers. Remember that the foods stored in this way must be dry foods that contain 10% or less moisture. You cannot store oily foods in Mylar Bags, which is why brown rice does not store as long as white rice. Some common of the dry foods that store great in Mylar Bags include:
- White rice
- Whole grains
- Rolled oats
- All-purpose and bread flour
What you will need to seal mylar bags
- Your dry food
- Mylar Bags
- Permenant markers-We like these ones for labeling all of our long term food storage
- A bucket-it does NOT need to be food grade since the mylar will covering the food. We also like storage totes because they save space.
- A container lid
- The proper amount of oxygen absorber for Mylar Bags
- An impulse sealer or a heat source like a clothes iron or a hair straightener
How to seal mylar bags
- Label the mylar bag– do this step first so it can lay flat while you write the contents and date.
- Pour the food into the mylar bag-It is really important to be careful that the mylar does not crease or bend, so that it isn’t damaged. A damaged mylar bag will not seal properly.
- Lift the Mylar bag to settle-Gently shake the bag and lift the bag to make sure that all the contents are settled to the bottom. This will help the food fill into air spaces in the bag so more food can fit.
- Put in the correct amount of oxygen absorber-You can place it right on top. Try to let out as much oxygen out of the bag before sealing. This will allow the oxygen absorber to absorb every bit of oxygen and get a tight seal and package.
- Seal the bag-Use an impulse sealer (we like our impulse sealer from Harvest Right, but this 16 inch impulse sealer from Amazon is also great quality) clothes iron or hair straightener to seal the top of the bag. The heat source should be at a high setting to seal the bag correctly. When using a clothes iron, it is sometimes helpful to use a piece of wood to iron against. Start heating from the middle of the bag and move your way to the outside. This will help the seal lay more evenly.
- Place packaged mylar food into a bucket or storage bin-This helps the mylar stay protected from scratches and dents. Remember, a damaged mylar bag will not hold a seal, and can be a place for bugs and rodents to get in.
Remember to label your mylar bags
If you already read how to seal Mylar Bags then you know that labeling first is a good idea. I thought labeling was worth having its own section since it is so important. Trust me, I know you think you will remember what is packaged, but if you are storing this food for any length of time, it can get confusing quick! Simply use a black permanent marker and label the contents and the date. You can also label the weight of the dry goods you put in the bag, but I personally don’t.
How to store mylar bags
Remember that Mylar Bags can tear easily, which is why it is important to put them into a secondary container like a bin or 5-gallon bucket.
As another option, you can store your sealed Mylar Bags in large, rectangular storage bins. This is what we personally do because it saves space and the bins stack nicer in our long term food storage pantry.
Of course, I cannot also forget to mention that the environment that these containers are stored in needs to be clean, dark, dry, and cool for optimal food storage.
How long will my food last in mylar bags?
If you store your food stored in Mylar Bags in a clean, dark, and dry location than it the food can last between 10-25 years! Other factors that change the length of time that food stores is the type of food that is being stored. Some foods like white rice, simply last longer than whole grain products.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you need a special sealer for Mylar bags?
No! Though an impulse sealer is a convenient machine, there are other ways to seal a mylar bag, if you haven’t yet made the purchase. Here are the most common ways to seal a mylar bag:
- Iron: A household iron are an easy way to seal 5 gallon bags. It is much easier than ironing a shirt: one of two passes with the iron creates a great seal and is perfectly safe for the iron and the bag.
- Hair Straightening Iron: This is an easy way to seal a mylar bag because it is as simple as grasping the the mylar bag with the straightening iron and running it along the mylar bag for 1-2 passes, while the bag is still upright.
- Food Saver: If you have a Food Saver, it is an easy way to seal smaller gallon or quart bags. There has been some confusion in the past about using Food Saver machines for heat-sealing Mylar bags, depending on the settings, it may heat-seal before it vacuums all the air out and this has caused some frustrations with some. However, it is okay to have air in your bags when sealing, that is the oxygen absorber’s job after all!
- Impulse Sealer: Heat sealing with an impulse sealer may be one of the easiest ways to heat-seal Mylar bags, however good impulse sealers are expensive.
Do you vacuum seal mylar bags?
No, you do not need to vacuum seal Mylar Bags. If you take the steps above the oxygen absorber will make a vacuum. Many people assume that mylar bags are vacuumed sealed because they are packaged so tightly. That isn’t to say that you can’t use a vacuum sealer if you choose to, but it isn’t necessary.
Can I use my FoodSaver to seal mylar bags?
Yes, you can use your food saver appliance for sealing mylar bags. Just make sure to take all of the other steps mentioned above.
How to use Mylar Bags?
Mylar Bags are easy to use once they are filled, sealed, and stored. Simply read the contents and open the bag when you are ready to use the food.
How to remove air from Mylar Bags?
By squeezing the oxygen out and placing the correct amount of oxygen absorber in the bag before sealing, there will be no more air in your mylar bag. This will result in a tight package of food that will last for 10-30 years!
How do you seal Mylar Bags for long term food storage?
Sealing Mylar Bags for long term food storage is as simple as making sure your mylar is undamaged, and you use the proper amount of oxygen absorber.