Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage

Using Mylar bags are a great way to store foods for longer periods of time, when used with a vacuum sealer.  Many individuals who vacuum seal items might not be familiar with Mylar bags or using Mylar bags for food storage.  Perhaps you’ve seen them often, but never knew what they were called or what they were used for.  The main reason grocers and other merchants use Mylar bags is the same reason why consumers should use them, and that is to increase the shelf life of foods and protect other items for up to 20 years or so.

What Are Mylar Bags?

The word Mylar is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “a type of polyester resin which is used to make plastic films and sheets that are heat resistant.” Mylar bags are pouches made of foil and plastic.  Mylar is available in different sizes and thickness.  The material itself is tough and durable, thus making it an ideal choice for storing linens, clothing and other bulk items effectively.

You can purchase these bags with or without zippers.  The bags with zippers are convenient, but they are not good for long term storage.  The metal portion of the bag helps to protect the bag from moisture and oxygen. Mylar is also used for insulation, shipping, ids, labels, balloons and more.

Using Mylar Bags For Food Storage

Placing Mylar bags inside of food grade buckets along with an oxygen absorber is one of the best ways to store bulk dry foods such as beans, rice, pasta, sugar, etc, for long term storage. If you are using Mylar Bags for storing food items accessed frequently, consider using smaller sized Mylar bags and place single servings in them.  Pint or quart size bags are ideal for this purpose.

If you store large servings that require being opened often to get out small portions, then you are exposing them to oxygen, which means their shelf life will not be as long as it could be.  Sealing smaller portions allows you to store foods more effectively without exposing them to oxygen, thus they are better preserved for longer periods of time. Once you pre-pack portions of dried foods, you can store the pouches in a large container, such as a bucket, for long term storage.

To Store Foods in Buckets Do the Following:  Choose the appropriate size food grade bucket then snap a Gamma ring inside of the bucket, if you are using a Gamma Seal.  Then insert a fitted Mylar bag into the bucket, if storing in bulk.  Place the food into the Mylar bag that is already inside the bucket (or insert individual pouches, if storing smaller portions).  Be sure to leave about two inches of room at the top for proper sealing, and don’t forget to include an oxygen absorber.  Use a hot flat iron to seal (you can also use a heat sealer, iron, or vacuum sealer). Any of these items with a heating element will work.

To remove even more air from the packaging, use a vacuum sealer to suck out air before completely sealing the Mylar bag.  Simply leave a straw sized open space, then insert a straw into the package being sealed. Next, attach your vacuum sealer accessory hose to the end of the straw that’s exposed.  Then vacuum out the air while using the flat iron to finish sealing. Mylar bags are not just for food storage.  They can also be used with oxygen absorbers to store pictures, documents and other items.

How To Vacuum Seal Mylar Bags Video

Determining What Size Mylar Bag to Use

Use your best judgment to choose the appropriate size bags for food storage.  Use smaller bags for storing smaller items such as seasonings, salt and herbs.  Use larger bags for other items that are consumed in larger quantities such as rice, flour, beans, etc.  Combine smaller packages inside five gallon buckets for the sake of organization, and to take up less space.  Use labels or write on the outside of the package as soon as foods are packed, to avoid mislabeling, and so foods can be easily identified.

Mylar Bags Vs Vacuum Sealed Bags

Both Mylar bags and vacuum sealer bags can be used for storing food and other items.  However, vacuum sealer bags are not as durable as Mylar bags.  Mylar bags are thicker and stronger, and therefore offer more reliable protection, in most cases. Vacuum sealer bags seem to be more readily available, when compared to Mylar bags.  That’s not to say that Mylar bags are hard to find, but you may have to search for a local store that carries them.  Once you find that store, you will know where to go from then on.  Mylar bags can always be purchased online from Amazon, as well.

Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers

The purpose of an oxygen absorber is to remove oxygen from the air.  They are sold in different quantities and should be used as soon as the packaging is open, because they start working immediately.  Store any unused packs of oxygen absorbers inside a Mylar jar or vacuum sealed bag.  When oxygen absorbers are used up, they become rough and brittle and should be replaced.  Oxygen absorbers do not remove air from packing.  That is what a vacuum sealer does. Because you have so many good food choices, it’s nice to have a variety of food storage options. 

Some methods work better than others based on the type of food being stored.  If you’re not sure what storing options best fit your needs, the ideal thing to do is to use the same style of packing that the foods originally came in. When storing foods short or long term, always store them in a cool, dry place.  Storing foods in Mylar bags, or any other way, does not mean that they should not be stored at proper temperatures.  Heat and moisture will cause foods to go bad quickly, so make sure you keep foods away from sun, heat and moisture.

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