Mylar Bags: The Key to Manageable Food Storage That Lasts
There has been a lot of excitement recently regarding emergency preparedness. Both the wide range of “end of the world” movies and theories that have come out recently and the unfortunate string of severe natural disasters have caused people to be more aware of what they would do if caught in a disaster situation. Nobody can predict what is to come in the future but we can all be sure that taking the time for emergency preparedness is only going to make things better in a crisis situation. And although it does require an investment of both time and money, the piece of mind it affords is something that pays off immediately.
At the heart of any emergency preparedness plan should be building a good supply of food storage. It is far more plausible for most people to build their supply gradually and it is important that the necessary steps are taken to keep the food storage you buy fresh for as long as possible. When it comes to keeping food preserved long-term, mylar bags should definitely be a part of your plan.
Mylar bags are metalized storage containers that create an oxygen barrier to protect food and keep it from going bad during extended long-term food storage. The bags are composed of a polyester film laminated to aluminum foil so the seal is strong enough to keep out both oxygen and unwanted moisture. The material also makes them much more puncture resistant than other storage bags so it is far less likely that you have accidental spills, tears or rips.
Another distinct advantage to using mylar bags is variety in storage container size. Many common food storage items (rice, beans, flour, wheat, etc.) come in large fifty-pound bags or sturdy plastic containers. Containers this large make it difficult to rotate and use food storage systematically. Dividing up food into smaller, more manageable, mylar bags allows you to more conveniently access your food storage while still maintaining long-term freshness.
Using mylar bags is simple and can be done relatively quickly without the need for any professional equipment. Mylar bags can be found in most places that emergency preparedness supplies are sold or in many places online. There will also be a variety of sizes available and the bags often come in traditional bag shape or pouches that can stand upright.
After purchasing your mylar bags the first step is labeling them. It is important that you label each bag before sealing it because the bags are not see-through. After clearly labeling the bag (also include the date it was packaged) you will want to carefully transfer the food from its larger container to the bag. In most cases, it is a bad idea to try to pour directly from a large container into the mylar bag so use a pitcher, ladle, or other type of scoop. It is also not a bad idea (depending on the food) to throw in an oxygen absorber as well.
Make sure to leave several inches of space at the top of the bag to allow for heat sealing. Heat sealing can be done with commercial machines (check local food storage centers, many will allow you to use theirs for free) or can be done with a standard clothes iron. Ensure that the top of the bag is free from any food (especially with messy contents such as flour) because it will negatively affect the quality of the seal. Fold over the top inch or so and press the iron down firmly for several seconds, moving it across the length of the opening. And as easy as that you have smaller, more manageable, food storage containers that still effectively maintain food longevity.
Lee Flynn is an outdoor fanatic and personal preparedness writer.