No matter your experience with food storage, you’re going to run into Mylar bags at some point. I didn’t run into them until we started freeze-drying, as they aren’t the go-to option for canning, and they can be overkill for some dehydrated goods. So – mylar bags. What are they?
Mylar bags are strong and resistant to the elements, perfect for keeping food and other items fresh for a long time. They come with a zip-lock or are heat-sealed to keep everything secure. They are in emergency kits, camping gear, and any situation where long-term storage is a must!
Ready to store things for decades safely? Let’s chat all about mylar bags so you’re ready for anything, including freeze-drying.
What Are Mylar Bags
Mylar bags are made from a type of polyester film that is coated with a thin layer of aluminum. This combination of materials creates a highly effective barrier that blocks moisture, oxygen, and other environmental factors that can cause spoilage or degradation.
Mylar bags are often used for long-term food storage because they provide an excellent barrier against moisture, oxygen, and other contaminants. When used correctly, Mylar bags can help preserve the quality and freshness of food for many years.
Mylar bags are also commonly used to store electronics, such as circuit boards and computer components because they provide an excellent barrier against static electricity and other sources of damage.
Mylar bags are typically constructed with a zip-lock or heat-seal closure, which helps to keep the contents fresh and secure.
Overall, Mylar bags are a versatile and reliable packaging material that can be used in a variety of applications. Whether you are storing food, electronics, or other items, Mylar bags can help protect your items from damage and preserve their quality and freshness for years.
Mylar Materials and Construction
Mylar bags are made of a combination of materials that provide strength, durability, and protection to the contents inside. These materials include aluminum foil, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyester film.
- The aluminum foil layer provides an excellent barrier against oxygen, moisture, and light, thereby preserving the freshness and quality of the contents inside.
- The PET layer gives the bag high tensile strength, making it resistant to tearing and puncturing.
- The polyester film layer provides added protection against abrasion and wear.
Mylar bags are typically constructed using a biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET) film, a type of PET stretched in two directions to improve its strength and flexibility. This process also gives the film high tensile strength, which is essential for constructing Mylar bags.
The metalized polyester layer of Mylar bags is created by coating the BOPET film with a thin layer of aluminum using a process called vacuum deposition. This layer provides an additional barrier against moisture and oxygen and enhances the bag’s reflective properties.
Mylar bags are often laminated, which involves bonding multiple layers of materials together to create a single, strong, and durable bag. Lamination can include additional layers of aluminum foil, PET, or other materials, depending on the specific requirements of the pack.
Overall, the combination of materials and construction methods used in Mylar bags provides a reliable and effective means of protecting the contents inside from external factors that can affect their quality and freshness.
Uses of Mylar Bags
Mylar bags are a versatile and durable storage solution that can be used for a variety of purposes including food storage, shipping, insulation, as a building block in certain goods, general storage, and protected storage.
Here are some common uses of Mylar bags.
One of the most popular uses of Mylar bags is for long-term food storage. Mylar bags are airtight and moisture-proof, making them ideal for storing dry foods such as grains, beans, and dehydrated fruits and vegetables.
When used in combination with oxygen absorbers, Mylar bags can help extend the shelf life of food up to 25 years. Preppers and survivalists often use Mylar bags as a way to stockpile food in case of emergencies.
Mylar bags are also commonly used for shipping items that need to be protected from moisture and air. Items such as electronics, documents, and collectibles can be safely shipped in Mylar bags.
Getting goods shipped in mylar bags makes opening them a breeze, in my opinion.
Mylar bags can be a reflective insulation material in homes and buildings. When used in combination with other insulation materials, Mylar bags can help reduce heat loss and lower energy costs.
Mylar bags can be used to create solar filters for telescopes and cameras. The reflective properties of Mylar make it an ideal material for blocking out harmful UV rays and allowing only visible light to pass through.
Mylar bags can be used to make kites. Mylar’s lightweight and durable properties make it an ideal material for kite-making.
Mylar bags can be used as lightweight and waterproof shelter material when camping or as a blanket, or mylar bags can be used to store those items.
Mylar bags can also be used to store food and other supplies.
Books and General Storage
Mylar bags can protect books and other paper items from moisture and air. Mylar bags can also be used to store air or water-sensitive goods, such as those you’d use if you were big into hunting.
While Mylar bags have many valuable applications, they have a higher learning curve and can be more expensive than other storage solutions. However, Mylar bags are an excellent choice for those looking for a durable and long-lasting storage option.
Food Storage Mylar Bags
Mylar bags are an excellent option for long-term food storage. They are made of a polyester film that is highly durable and provides an effective barrier against air, moisture, and light. Mylar bags can help keep food fresh for up to 25 years when combined with oxygen absorbers.
Mylar bags are ideal for storing dry foods like rice, beans, pasta, wheat, oats, spices, sugar, flour, dehydrated fruit, dry corn, powdered milk, coffee, tea, brown sugar, legumes, grains, brown rice, granola, nuts, seeds, cereal, whole-wheat flour, chips, dried eggs, and more.
To use mylar bags for food storage, follow these simple steps:
- Choose the right size bag for your food item. Consider storing smaller amounts in small mylar bags as a test bag, or just as a general rule.
- Fill the bag with the desired amount of food, leaving some space at the top for sealing.
- Add one or more oxygen absorbers to the bag, depending on the size of the bag and the amount of food.
- Seal the bag using a heat sealer or an iron.
- Label the bag with the contents, date, and other relevant information.
Mylar bags, including stand-up and zipper bags, come in different sizes and shapes. Stand-up pouches are convenient for storing larger quantities of food, while zipper bags are easy to open and close for frequent use.
When storing food in mylar bags, keeping them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight is essential. Avoid storing them in areas with high humidity or temperature fluctuations.
Overall, mylar bags are an excellent choice for long-term food storage. They are affordable, easy to use, and highly effective at preserving food. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your food stays fresh and safe for years.
Note: If you’re doing a lot of food storage, or perhaps you own a cottage business selling freeze-dried goods in mylar bags, you’ll want to get mylar bags custom made (perhaps with your logo).
Packing and Sealing Techniques
When it comes to packing and sealing Mylar bags, there are several techniques you can use to ensure that your food stays fresh and protected for a long time.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
1. Prepare Your Work Area
Before you begin packing and sealing Mylar bags, it’s important to prepare your work area. Make sure you have all the necessary tools and equipment, such as a heat sealer, work gloves, a piece of wood, a towel, a scoop, a funnel, and a permanent marker. You should also ensure that your work area is clean and free of debris or contaminants.
2. Pack Your Food
Once you’ve prepared your work area, it’s time to pack your food. Start by placing your food in a mason jar or food-grade storage bucket. Then, transfer the food into the Mylar bag using a scoop or funnel. Be sure to leave some space at the top of the bag so that you can seal it properly.
3. Seal the Bag
You can use a heat sealer or a hair-straightening iron to seal the Mylar bag. Of the two, the heat sealer (also called an impulse sealer) is the far better option.
- If you’re using a heat sealer, place the open end of the bag between the heating element and the sealing bar. Press down on the bar for a few seconds until the bag is sealed.
- If you’re using a hair-straightening iron, place the open end of the bag between the plates and press down firmly for a few seconds. You’ll want to do it from both ends of the pack.
Note: if you don’t have a freeze-dryer yet, an impuse heat sealer is part of the package deal when you order directly from Harvest Right. If you aren’t waiting on a Harvest Right special delivery, then buying one on Amazon is a great option.
4. Label the Bag
After you’ve sealed the Mylar bag, it’s essential to label it with a permanent marker. Write the contents of the bag, the date it was packed, and any other relevant information. This will help you keep track of your food and ensure that you use it before it expires.
5. Store the Bag
Storing them correctly is crucial once you’ve packed and sealed your Mylar bags. You can store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Store them in 1-gallon Mylar bags or food-grade storage buckets for added protection.
By following these packing and sealing techniques, you can ensure that your food stays fresh and protected for a long time. Always use food-grade Mylar bags and handle them carefully to avoid any tears or punctures.
Benefits and Limitations
Mylar bags offer several benefits and limitations you should be aware of before using them.
Here are some of the benefits and limitations of Mylar bags.
- Long-term food storage: Mylar bags are excellent for long-term food storage. They have an extremely low Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR) due to their thick foil laminate layer, which provides three layers of protection from moisture, light, and odor. This makes them ideal for storing dry foods like rice, beans, flour, and grains.
- Durable: Mylar bags are highly durable and have a high tensile strength. You can store many kinds of foods in a Mylar bag, and in high quantities, without worrying about the bag breaking or ripping. So, it’s an excellent option when selling larger quantities of cannabis or edible products.
- Lightweight and portable: Mylar bags are lightweight and portable, which makes them ideal for camping and hiking trips. You can store food, clothing, and shoes in Mylar bags for medium-term storage.
- Easy to use: Mylar bags are easy to use. You can place the contents inside the bag, leaving some space at the top for sealing. Then, use the heat sealer to apply heat along the open end of the bag, creating a tight and secure seal. Alternatively, some Mylar bags come with built-in ziplock closures for easy sealing without additional tools.
- NASA-approved: Mylar bags are NASA-approved for use in space. They protect sensitive equipment and food items from the harsh conditions of space.
- Higher learning curve: Mylar bags require a higher learning curve than traditional food storage methods. You need to learn how to use a heat sealer and ensure that the bags are sealed correctly to prevent air from entering.
- More expensive: Mylar bags can be more expensive than traditional food storage methods. However, they offer superior protection and durability, making them a worthwhile investment for long-term food storage.
- Not cheap: Mylar bags are not cheap, and they can add up in cost if you need to store a large quantity of food items. However, they are a cost-effective solution for long-term food storage.
Mylar bags offer several benefits for long-term food storage, including durability, portability, and ease of use. However, they also have some limitations, including a higher learning curve and a higher cost than traditional food storage methods.
Maintaining Quality and Shelf Life of mylar bags
When it comes to long-term food storage, maintaining quality and shelf life is crucial. Mylar bags are an excellent option for keeping your food fresh for an extended period, provided you store the bags correctly.
Here are some tips to help ensure your stored food stays fresh and safe for consumption.
One of the most important factors in maintaining food quality and shelf life is controlling the amount of oxygen in the storage environment. Oxygen absorbers are small packets that remove oxygen from the air inside the bag, creating a low-oxygen environment that helps prevent spoilage and extend shelf life.
Moisture and Light
Moisture and light can also have a significant impact on the quality of stored food. Mylar bags are designed to be moisture-resistant and light-proof, providing an extra layer of protection against these factors. However, it’s still important to store your bags in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
Desiccants are another useful tool for maintaining quality and shelf life in mylar bags. These small packets absorb moisture from the air, helping to prevent mold and bacteria growth. Desiccants are especially important if you’re storing food with a high moisture content, such as fruits and vegetables, or if you live in a humid area.
ACH and Oxygen Transmission
When choosing mylar bags for long-term storage, it’s important to consider the bag’s ACH (air change per hour) and oxygen transmission rate. A lower ACH and oxygen transmission rate means less air and oxygen will enter the bag over time, helping to maintain the quality and shelf life of the contents.
Rodents and Pests
Finally, it’s important to protect your stored food from rodents and pests. Mylar bags are not rodent-proof, so it’s important to store your bags in a rodent-proof container or area. You can also use traps or repellents to keep rodents and pests away from your stored food.
By following these tips, you can help ensure that your stored food stays fresh and safe for consumption for months or even years to come.
Safety and Compliance
When using Mylar bags for food storage, safety and compliance are crucial. Ensure the bags you use are safe for food contact and meet all necessary regulations.
Here are some key points to keep in mind.
Food Grade and Safe for Food Contact
Mylar bags that are intended for food storage should be labeled as food grade or safe for food contact. This means that they are made from materials that are safe for storing food and won’t leach harmful chemicals into your food. Look for bags that are made from materials that are approved by the FDA or USDA for food contact.
USDA Compliant Liner Material
If you are using Mylar bags for long-term food storage, it’s important to make sure that they have a USDA compliant liner material. This liner material helps to prevent oxygen and moisture from getting into the bag, which can cause food to spoil. Look for bags that have a USDA compliant liner material to ensure that your food stays fresh for as long as possible.
Wallaby and Dupont Materials
Some Mylar bags are made from materials that are specifically designed for food storage, such as Wallaby or Dupont materials. These materials are known for their durability and ability to keep food fresh for extended periods of time. If you are planning on storing food for long periods of time, consider investing in bags made from these materials.
FDA and USDA Regulations
When it comes to food storage, there are strict regulations in place from the FDA and USDA to ensure that food is stored safely and hygienically. Make sure that any Mylar bags you use for food storage meet these regulations to ensure that your food stays safe and fresh.
When using Mylar bags for food storage, it’s important to make sure that they are safe for food contact, have a USDA compliant liner material, and meet all necessary regulations. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your food stays fresh and safe for consumption.
Other Items for Storage
Mylar bags are not just for food storage. You can also use them to store other items that you want to keep safe and dry. Here are some examples:
If you grow your own herbs, you can store them in Mylar bags to keep them fresh for longer. Simply dry your herbs and then place them in a Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber. This will help to prevent moisture and mold from developing, which can ruin your herbs.
If you have valuable books that you want to protect from moisture and pests, you can store them in Mylar bags. Simply place your books in a Mylar bag and seal it with a heat sealer. This will help to keep your books safe and dry, even in humid conditions.
If you are a proponent of the 2nd amendment, you can store related items in Mylar bags to protect it from moisture and corrosion. Simply place it in a Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber and seal it with a heat sealer. This will help to keep your ammo dry and in good condition.
Blankets for emergencies are a great item to have in your survival kit, but they can be bulky and take up a lot of space. You can store your large blankets in Mylar bags to make them more compact and easier to carry.
Simply fold your emergency blankets and place them in a Mylar bag. You can then seal the bag with a heat sealer to keep your blankets safe and dry.
Or buy several emergency blankets (made out of mylar), and store those in a mylar bag!
Dehydrated Fruits and Veggies
If you like to dehydrate your own fruits and veggies, you can store them in Mylar bags to keep them fresh for longer. Simply place your dehydrated fruits and veggies in a Mylar bag with an oxygen absorber and seal it with a heat sealer. This will help to prevent moisture and mold from developing, which can ruin your dehydrated foods.
Overall, Mylar bags are a versatile storage solution that can help to keep a wide range of items safe and dry. By using Mylar bags to store your herbs, books, ammo, emergency blankets, and dehydrated fruits and veggies, you can extend the shelf life of your items and protect them from moisture, mold, and pests.
Best Places to Get Mylar Bags
The best two places to get Mylar bags are directly from Harvest Right or from Amazon. Buying from Amazon is usually the better route if you’re looking at price and value.
Frequently Asked Questions
We’re here to help! Check out our FAQs section below for answers to common questions. If we missed yours, let us know, and we’ll update the article. Contact us through our website, and we’ll respond directly to your question.
How do Mylar bags protect food from moisture?
Mylar bags keep food fresh by creating a moisture-resistant barrier that blocks water vapor. They’re made of a strong polyester film called BoPET, coated with aluminum on the inside to reflect heat and light. This combination provides flexibility, strength, and a barrier that protects food from spoilage.
What types of food can be stored in Mylar bags?
Store dry foods in Mylar bags for best results. Rice, beans, pasta, grains, and dehydrated fruits and vegetables work great. Avoid storing fresh fruits and vegetables, as they can create condensation and spoilage inside the bag.
Are Mylar bags reusable?
Mylar bags can be reused if cleaned and sanitized properly. However, they may develop small punctures or tears during use, which can affect their ability to protect food from moisture. For long-term storage, it’s best to use new bags.
What is the difference between Mylar bags and vacuum-sealed bags?
Mylar bags and vacuum-sealed bags both protect against moisture, but work differently. Mylar bags block moisture, while vacuum-sealed bags reduce oxygen to prevent spoilage. For short-term storage, use vacuum-sealed bags. For long-term storage, use Mylar bags.
Can Mylar bags be used for long-term storage?
Mylar bags are perfect for long-term storage of dry foods. They can protect food for up to 25 years when sealed correctly and stored in a cool, dry place. Use oxygen absorbers to remove oxygen from the bag and prevent spoilage.
How do you properly seal Mylar bags?
To seal Mylar bags, use a heat sealer. Put the food in the bag, leaving space at the top. Add an oxygen absorber and remove air. Fold the top twice and seal using the heat sealer. Leave space between the seal and food to avoid breaking it.