This is guide is to help those who use mylar bags and oxygen absorbers or are thinking of using mylar bags and oxygen absorbers to store food but have questions on the best way to use these products.
Many times people buy mylar bags and oxygen absorbers and don't know how to use them properly and some sellers don't provide any instructions - so this guide gives clear instructions on how store food in mylar bags using oxygen absorbers and what to look for when doing so.
PREPARE - HAVE THE FOLLOWING THINGS TO HAND
1. Buckets /Cotainers -Have your food grade buckets/containers to hand (ensure that even if you buy new buckets you wash them out in hot soapy water with some bleach and thoroughly dry the buckets).
2. Mylar Bags /Food- If you are using the large 20 x 30 Mylar Bags place in the bucket (as pictured)_ and fill with dried food. If you are using the smaller mylar bags fill with dried food (as pictured)
3. Glass Jar with Cover & Dried Beans - Ensure you have a clean glass jar to hand with a cover and around 1lb of dried beans to hand (any kind doesn't matter). This will be used when you open your packet of oxygen absorbers. Because your oxygen absorbers start working immediately when they are exposed to air - you want to reduce the amount of time they are exposed to air and minimise any spoilage of your oxygen absorbers - Even if the oxygen absorbers are in packs of 10 sometimes you run out of time when sealing the mylar bag - so it is better to be prepared than have your oxygen absorbers spoiling on you.
3. Once your mylar bagis filled with dried food pick up your mylar bag and shake and tap the bag slightly on the counter/table - doing this ensures that your food product is gets in the corners of your mylar bag and at the same time reduces the air pockets within the mylar bag.
3. Heat your iron on the highest setting or if you are using a teflon crimp sealer heat on the highest setting for a minimum of 8 minutes.
HOW TO SEAL THE MYLAR BAG AND CHECKING/USING OXYGEN ABSORBERS
4. Begin to seal your mylar bag with the iron or crimp sealer ONLY SEAL THE MYLAR BAG HALF WAY - DON'T SEAL THE OTHER HALF - doing this allows you to quickly seal the remaining mylar bag when you put the oxygen absorber in - greatly reducing the amount of time the oxygen absorber is exposed to air - ENSURE YOU SEAL THE MYLAR BAG AT LEAST A MINIUM OF 1 INCH.
5. Get the oxygen absorber packet - BEFORE opening - check that the oxygen indicator tab is still pink if it is blue - the oxygen absorbers are not valid. Also check that the oxygen absorber packet is vacuumed. Oxygen absorbers come vacuumed packed so that the oxygen absorbers are not activated. If the packet is not vacuumed do not use the absorbers as the air has gotten into the
oxygen absorber packet and the oxygen absorbers have been activated - which mean if you use them they will most likely not perform properly in the mylar bag. Also take note of how long the absorbers can be exposed to air. -
AFTER CHECKING THESE THINGS IF THE OXYGEN ABSOBRERS ARE ALRIGHT THEN..
Open your oxygen absorber packet and place one on top your food and begin to QUICKLY seal
your mylar bag with the crimp sealer or iron.
LEAVE 1 INCH UNSEALED AT THE END OF THE MYLAR BAG and press the remaing air out the mylar bag and then finish sealing the mylar bag.
Keep and eye on the time - depending on the size of oxygen absorber you are using it can be exposed to air for different periods of time ranging from 10 minutes to 2 hours. Though it is important to bear in mind that the oxygen absobers do start working as soon as they are exposed to air - therefore it is advisable after 10-15 minutes to place the remaing oxygen absorbers in the glass jar with the oxygen indicator and cover with dried beans all the way to the top of the jar and cover - doing this HELPS TO STOP the oxygen absorbers from working until your ready to use them again.
It is important to seal the mylar bag with a MINIMUM 1 INCH SEAL - to ensure optimum conditions for your oxygen absorber to work. DO NOT VACUUM your mylar bag. The oxygen absorberswill create a natural vacuum in the mylar bag once all the air is removed - which is usally done within 24hours. Oxygen Absorbers need oxygen to work so vacuuming the mylar bag PREVENTS the oxygen absorbers to stop working - and in event doing their job.
CHECK FOR VACUUM - (which naturally occurs when using oxygen absorbers - see picture below)
6. lf storing food in the 10 x 16 and smaller mylar bags leave the sealed mylar bag laid flat on the counter overnight or for about 8 hours to ensure that the mylar bags have started to vacuum. Please note that pasta and rice can sometimes punch through the mylar bag when it begins to vacuum so leaving the mylar bag on the counter and checking over for any holes BEFORE storing in the food grade bucket will help avoid any nasty surprises.
MARKING UP YOUR MYLAR BAGS AND ROTATION
7. Once your mylar bags have vacuumed normally with the oxygen absorber (see picture below) begin to mark on each bag the following:
1. The weight of the bag (know the weight of the product is useful
2. What is stored in the bag
3, The packed date/ the original expiry date & the rotation date (as pictured below)
4. Label your bucket with a number (it is not advisable to clearly state that you have food in the bucket)
5. Create a master list - when packing your bags into the bucket -
DO TWO LISTS -of what your putting in the mylar bag /bucket) includng, points1-3 on the list and the number of the bucket before sealing the bucket -place the list on top so when you
open the bucket you know what is stored and the other list keep with your emergency planning
products (like torches/ batteries/portable stove etc) so you know what emergency food you have.
Therefore your master list should look like this:
2lbs Long Grain Rice - packed 19/09/11 Expiry Date 20/10/2013 Rotation Date 20/10/21
2lbs Lentil Peas - packed 19/09/11 Expiry Date 01/01/2013 Rotation Date: 01/01/2023
2lbs White Plain Flour - packed 19/09/11 Expiry Date 20/04/12 Rotation Date: 20/04/15
Having a master list of what you have stored in your bucket is useful because some people when money is tight live off their emergency food. so if you know what you have in your buckets - then you dont have to go opening all the buckets and the mylar bags looking for surgar or flour!
8. The rotation date for dried foods vary between products (I supply all my customers with a rotation date information sheet so they know when to rotate their food storage) but this information can also be found on the internet - and it is vital for food storage - dried beans store longer than flour and flour stores longer than mussli -
DOUBLE BAGGING - MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE
I strongly advocate double bagging - meaning - if you are using 10 x 16, 12 x 13 and smaller mylar bags that are not 7.5mil mylar bags even if there are no holes and the bags have vacuumed properly I still line the food grade bucket with a 20 x 30 mylar bag first (4.0 mil or 4.3mil) - and place the smaller mylar bag within the larger 20 x 30 bag and placing a 2000cc oxygen absorber on top and sealing (as instructed above) doing this provides a second line of defense in case there is any damage to the mylar bag when storing within the bucket (that you may not see) and double bagging allows will keep your dried and dehydrated foods in optimum condition for many more years
IT IS STRONGLY ADVISE TO DOUBLE BAG YOUR FOOD STORAGE IF YOU ARE USING 3.5MIL 10 x 14 nd 10 x 16 Mylar Bags -
In my previous guide - I have stated you can see right through these bags - defeating the purpose of light and odour protection when using mylar bags. All dried food products the manufacturer recommends storing in a cool dry place. but if light can get through the bag - then you are not effectively storing your food correctly for long term storage Light can inflitrate food grade buckets - the purpose of the bucket is not to protect against light but against phyiscal damage like tearing, rodent bites etc and portablilty Plastic absorbs ordours - so if you have a gas leak the ordour of gas seeps through plastic (the bucket. This is why it is important to line your bucket with a 4.0 mil and up mylar bag so oxgyen transmission /odours are kept out.
HOW TO STORE FOOD USING MYLAR BAGS & OXYGEN ABSORBERS
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3 October 2011
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