But you may be asking yourself What are Mylar Bags? and What are Oxygen Absorbers? And how do these products help store food for the long term?
This guide is to help answer these questions.
LOOKING FOR MYLAR BAGS & OR OXYGEN ABSORBERS?
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WHAT ARE MYLAR BAGS?
The name Mylar is actually a trademarked name like Nestle, Cadbury, Clorox etc. Mylar in its basic form is actually a CLEAR material made from polyester resin. Commonly known mylar bags for long term food storage are actually the clear "mylar" material laminated to aluminum foil, creating the effect of a flexible tin can.
The greater the layers of "mylar" laminated to greater the layers of aluminum foil is what determines the strength/thickness of the mylar bag. Therefore the less layers of "mylar" laminated to less layers of aluminum foil means the mylar bag is not as strong and provides less protection for your food.
In order to reap the benefits of mylar bags in long term food storage I STRONGLY recommend that your store your food long term in 4.0MIL mylar bags and above. Also double bag your food for ultimate protection. So line your food grade bucket with a 4.3mil and above 20 x 30 mylar bag and then pack the bucket with your sealed mylar bags and then seal the outer 20 x 30 mylar bag for maximum protection,
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF MYLAR BAGS?
If you use aluminum foil at home in cooking and storing food you will know it provides protection for your food while cooking so that the food does not get burnt, it reduces the access of heat and air getting to your food and it helps preserve your food for a period of time from the elements of light, oxygen, odour, moisture. This is what a mylar bag does and more! Because aluminum foil can easily tear - but aluminized mylar bags have several layers of mylar (polyester resin) and aluminum bonded together, it can withstand greater weights before tearing/bursting.
Mylar bags can also be laminated with white plastic and aluminum. This is usually done for commercial printing purposes. You would have come across mylar bags in your everyday shopping: Your filtered coffee, bags of nuts, cookies, crisps, chocolate bars, instant mash potato, muselli, and some cereals are all stored in mylar bags
The benefits of using mylar bags for food storage are also the things that affect your food over time if not stored using mylar bags. Eliminating these factors will assist you to store dried and dehydrated foods for 5-15 years. Without the use of mylar bag and oxygen absorbers most dried foods can only be stored for 6 months to 2 years.
- AIR (Oxygen) -
Oxygen causes discoloration, loss of taste, compromises the freshness of the product and allow insects to breed over time. Mould can thrive in and so can toxins as a result of the bacteria bree ding in your food.
Regular plastic bags that food comes in not only seeps oxygen back into the food product quicker than mylar bags, the plastic bags does not provide any light protection - if sunlight can get through an item, it increases the temperature of the product inside.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF MYLAR BAGS AGAINST OXYGEN?
Mylar bags combined with the use of an oxygen absorber provides and effective oxygen barrier helping to preserve your food for longer - keeping your food fresh. The thicker the mylar bag the lower the oxygen transmission rate - which means the rate that oxygen seeps back into your mylar bag will always be slower than a regular clear plastic bag that most of your
food come in.
This is why storing food long term in clear ziplock plastic bags or clear bags are NOT recommended as the oxygen transmission rate (the rate at which oxygen seeps back into the bag), will always be higher than a mylar bag.
Some food products are more sensitive to light than others. If light can can get through - the temperature of the product can also rise - causing rancidity of oil based products, like nuts, biscuits, crisps, chocolate etc. also discoloration can occur.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF MYLAR BAGS AGAINST LIGHT?
Mylar Bags (aluminized) completely block out light (4.0mil mylar bags and above - please note you can see right through a 3.5mil mylar bag. If you must purchase 3.5mil mylar bags please double bag in a 4.3mil 20 x30 mylar bag BEFORE storing in your food grade bucket - because light can also get through a food grade bucket)
This is why chocolate bars, crisps etc are sold in mylar bags. They keep the light out, keeping the product coolerfor longer than if it was stored in a clear plastic bag - reduces the risk of rancidity over a period of up to 9 months and keeps the product cooler.
Moisture can destroy your food when in storage - apart from causing damp, the damp then encourages mould, fungus, insects and bacteria. In humid climates, humidity can affect your food even if it is stored in mylar bags - because condensation can occur in the mylar bags.
Therefore it is advisable to also use a food grade desiccant (moisture absorber) in the mylar bag along
with am oxygen absorber if you reside in humid conditions. - Please note not all desiccants are food grade and silica deiccants are not suitable for food as they can increase the risk of cancer.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF MYLAR BAGS AGAINST MOISTURE?
Because mylar bags are laminated in several layers with aluminum foil, they can be incredibly easily and they are waterproof - that's why if you had food in a sealed mylar bag and it rained or your house got flooded in a properly sealed mylar bag, your food would remain completely dry.
Have you ever placed a bag of flour or powdered milk near a bag of onions? most likely when you used your flour or your milk it would smell of onions! Most foods absorb ordour which obviously spoils your food. Its all well and good storing large bags of flour, rice etc, but if they all taste different due to absorbing ordour of onions, gases, then not only would your food taste horrible, it also changes the viability of your food storage.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF MYLAR BAGS AGAINST ODOURS?
Because mylar bags are laminated to aluminum which is an oxygen barrier mylar bags protect your food against contamination against odour and gases. For this purpose clear plastic bags are not recommended for long term food storage.
Plastic and paper absorbs ordour. For this reason a brand new bag of oats in a plastic bag or a bag of flour in a paper bag if placed to strong odours the food will absorb the smell. This is also particularly true in warmer climates.
Aluminum does not absorb odours and because food grade mylar bags are laminated with several layers of aluminum the food placed inside will not absorb odours. This is why it is advisable to line any container or even food grade bucket with a large mylar bag first before putting your food inside.
This is particularly true if your shipping food in barrels -as the level of humidity can easily rise within a shipping container (even in winter) most barrels are made of plastic (non good grade) so when the humidity level rises the plastic releases an ordour - , which unfortunately seeps into your food causing your food to taste "funny" - when shipping food try and bag your food inside mylar bags and seal with an oxygen absorber and moisture absorber protecting against humidity and ordours (thisi is what is done by professional shippers of food). If you are worried about customs checks - keep your food in the original packaging (as the shipping and clearance may take 1month - 2 months) but place the original packaging within a 5 gallon mylar bag with an oxygen absorber and moisture absorber and seal - that way you should have great tasting food when your your barrels arrive at your destination.
Long term food storage is not just about preparing for financial instability an natural disasters, it is also in reality protection against possible terrorist attacks, which could also mean release of gases contaminating the food supply.
NB: Please note mylar bags are not 100% puncture proof and this is why it is ALWAYS Advisable to store your mylar bags in a food grade bucket or some kind of container and that can be sealed - so that it protects against rodents chewing through the bag. Also portability of your stored food is essential. If you need to leave your home due to a a natural disaster, or any other emergency you want to ensure your food is easily portable to put in a car or carry.
CHECK OUT OUR SELECTION OF MYLAR BAGS IN OUR STORE VIA THE LINK BELOW:-
WHAT IS AN OXYGEN ABSORBER?
An oxygen absorber is made from a chemical compound with the active ingredient being iron powder. Though not toxic it is not edible. This is why food grade oxygen absorbers are made from Tyvek (TM) material. It does not release any harmful gases and it does not remove the fresh smell and taste of food.
HOW DO OXYGEN ABSORBERS WORK?
Oxygen absorbers are activated by air - once exposed to air for a brief period of time the oxygen absorbers will start to get warm. Different size oxygen absorbers have a different tolerance to how long they will can be exposed to air before they stop working. Though there are some oxygen absorbers that can be exposed to air for up to 2-4 hours, this does not mean you keep them out for that long, the quicker you can you use the pack of oxygen absorbers or quickly place unused oxygen absorbers in an airtight container will help maintain the potency of the oxygen absorbers for use within the mylar bag or mason jar/ glass jar for your long term food storage programme.
Therefore it is important when purchasing oxygen absorbers to know how long they can be exposed to air before invalidity. If you don't have this information clearly given to you by the seller, then you risk putting invalid oxygen absorbers in your mylar bag for long term food storage.
Because oxygen absorbers are activated by air for this reason they come in a vacuumed packed bag to ensure they are not activated. Once you use an oxygen absorber in a mylar bag it will suck the air out and create a natural vacuum within the mylar bag - this answers the question should you vacuum a mylar bag? You don't need to. Once you pack your food in the mylar bag and place the oxygen absorbers in it a natural vacuum will occur over a few hours.
This is another reason if you are storing food in a food grade bucket. Because the oxygen absorbers will create a vacuum once all the air has been sucked out there will be a risk of the oxygen absorber pulling the bucket in slightly due to the vacuum. This will not only create in a dent in your food grade bucket there is a risk of the lid lifting (slightly letting in air rendering your oxygen absorber useless and spoiling your food!) once the vacuum has been created in the bucket. Therefore for this reason, it is always advisable to place a mylar bag in the bucket first and once filled seal it with the oxygen absorber, That way when the vacuum occurs, it occurs in the mylar bags and not in the bucket risking pulling in the bucket and letting air in.
Oxygen Absorbers ARE NOT REUSABLE once used they used they ARE NOT TO BE USED AGAIN. This is important to think about when storing food in mylar bags - remember if you are storing food in the large 20 x 30 mylar bags remember once you reopen that mylar bag the Oxygen Absorber will need to be replaced with a new one if you are going to reseal the bag.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF AN OXYGEN ABSORBER
Oxygen absorbers preserves the:
- The Taste
- The Smell
- The colour of dried and dehydrated foods
- Using an oxygen absorber to store dried and dehydrated foods long term eliminates the need to use preservatives to store your food long term
- Reduces the level of oxygen within a mylar bag/container to 0.01%. Maintaining such a low oxygen level within the mylar bag/mason jar, is what helps to stop moulds, fungas, micro organisims, bacteria, from growing and discoloration of the food product occurring within the mylar bag/ container.
- Oxygen Absorbers creates a vacuum within the mylar bag. Even if you vacuum seal your food it still leaves 2% oxygen within the vacuum bag and though it will preserve for a period of time it is not as effective for long term food storage as oxygen absorbers reduce the air within a container to 0.01%.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO USE A MYLAR BAG OR MASON JAR WITH AN OXYGEN ABSORBER?
Because the oxygen absorbers reduce the oxygen within a container to such a low level, you must use a mylar or glass./mason jar when using oxygen absorber as they vacuum the oxygen within the container. If you store food in a food grade bucket only using an oxygen absorber without any mylar bag the strength of the oxygen absorber can begin to pull in the bucket slightly as the oxygen absorber creates a vacuum when the vacuum is created it can lift the lid, creating an air pocket, resulting in spoilage of your food. THEREFORE PLEASE PLEASE USE MYLAR BAGS TO STORE YOUR FOOD IN BEFORE PLACING IN YOUR FOOD GRADE BUCKET OR CONTAINER.
HOW MANY OXYGEN ABSORBERS TO USE?Mason Jars 0.5 litre = Recommended use: 1 20cc tightly packed 1 - 50cc loosely packed
5 x 7.5, 5 x 8 6 x 8 and 8 x 8 mylar bags = Recommended use: 1-2 - 100cc oxygen absorber
8 x 12, 10 x 14, 10 x 16, = Recommended use: 1 - 300cc/500cc
11 x 13, 12 x 12, 12 x 13, 12 x 16 = Recommended use 1 - 500cc
18 x 28, 22 x 28, 20 x 30 = Recommended use: 1 - 1500cc / 1- 2000cc
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Pasta has a high level of space/oxygen to absorb so using the highest 2000cc oxygen absorber in the 20 x 30 mylar bag will safely cover any food products that you store using a 2000cc oxygen absorber. If you are storing pasta in a 10 x16 mylar bag it may be worth putting an extra 100cc or 300cc oxygen absorber in the mylar bag. It is better to be safe than sorry when you need your food most.
CANT AFFORD MYLAR BAGS & OXYGEN ABSORBERS?
I would say though this has been a proven food preservation method for dried foods over 5-15 years and oil based foods for 9 months if you cannot afford to buy mylar bags and oxygen absorbers PLEASE DO NOT LET THIS STOP YOU FROM STORING SOME FOOD FOR EMERGENCIES. Regular tinned foods will last for 3-4 years with no problems. Rice will stored in reinforced paper bags last for 2 years, flour lasts for 6 months, pasta lasts for 2 years without any special methods, those it is always advisable to store all foods in a cool dark place. - if you reside in a humid climate - ensure you have moisture absorbers placed either within your food or in the four corner of your cupboard /container to reduce humidity levels and absorb an moisture within your food caused by humidity - reducing effects of molds, fungai and insects
Inflation is on the rise, the world is in financial crisis and millions are on the brink of starvation, governments are rising taxes so much that soon it may be impossible for many in western countries to buy food at a reasonable price- therefore I would encourage you regardless of your beliefs in mylar bags or not to store some food for a rainy day in what ever form you can - things are happening at a very fast pace in the world, please do not put off starting some form of food storage programme.
I HOPE THIS GUIDE HAS HELPED YOU TO UNDERSTAND THE USE OF MYLAR BAGS & OXYGEN ABSORBERS BETTER AND THAT YOU WILL SERIOUSLY THINK OF STARTING A FOOD STORAGE PROGRAMME