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Author Topic: Long Term Food Storage  (Read 478 times)

Solani

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Long Term Food Storage
« on: February 11, 2019, 03:56:09 PM »
Long Term Food Storage In Mylar Bags With Oxygen Absorbers

By Solani

Today, I’m working on filling spices which I buy in bulk into Mylar bags, along with oxygen absorbers, for long-term storage

I feel it is very vital that we not only stock up on “Rice and Beans” and everything else but, also put away a LARGE amount of different spices. Being able to spice the food we will be eating, will help tremendously when trying to keep some sort of normalcy when SHTF. Just being able to create a variation of flavor in whatever limited supplies we have to cook with for our meals, will give us a much larger variety and for those that have children, it will make meals not quite so “boring”. Also, IF we ever reach the stage where we might need to “camouflage” what we are preparing for a meal, adding spices will go along way, especially when it comes to getting our children to eat.



Spices will also be very valuable in a bartering situation, as once the stores are empty, spices will be among the items we have so far taken for granted. Same with salt. Actually, salt will be even more valuable if we don’t live next to the coast and can extract the salt from the ocean water. But that might not be possible either, if our oceans are contaminated, radioactive or whatever else could be in them that would not be safe to ingest.

I buy Large Mylar bags from the Mormon Warehouse. Many of the warehouses will sell to non-members and you can buy from them online. They have very good prices and the quality of the Mylar bags are excellent! I have yet to find thicker bags anywhere else. The Mormon Church is known for teaching their members to keep a large food storage, so I’m not surprised that they go for quality, so that whatever they are storing will last as long as possible. Price-wise they are more inexpensive to buy the Mylar bags as well as the oxygen absorbers from, considering the high quality they have. Yes, you can find Mylar bags on eBay or Amazon but, those bags are much thinner. The bags I buy from the Mormon Warehouse, are about 3 times as thick. The oxygen absorbers are much the same as you can buy from other online vendors but, I see no reason to buy anywhere else, even if those are a little bit more expensive. The postage when buying online from the warehouse is much cheaper so, it more than evens out in the end.



I only buy the large size Mylar bags since I have found that if I need a smaller bag, such as when I’m putting away spices, I can cut one large bag into 4 smaller bags and seal off the edges with my hot iron. I don’t have a special machine to heat-seal the bags, since it works just fine using your regular iron. Just make sure you don’t have water in your iron for steaming. If you don’t have an iron, you can pick one up for a few dollars at the second-hand store. Much cheaper than buying the heat/seal machine to seal off the bags. I’ve tried sealing off the bags using my vacuum sealer which has a heat function to seal off the plastic bags but, it’s not strong/hot enough to seal the Mylar bags.

I’ll be posting pictures here of the different steps I take when cutting a large bag into smaller bags, sealing off the sides of the cut bags so they become a smaller version of the large bags, how much spice I fill in each bag, the oxygen absorber, how I seal the bag when I have filled it with the spice and oxygen absorber. I also write on the bag with a regular permanent marker the month, year, what type of food is in the bag and also the name of whatever is in the bag. In other words, today since I’m doing spices I would write. 2-2019, Spice, Taco Seasoning, as that is what I am putting away for storage while typing this information.

      

First, if I need smaller bags, I will take the large bag and fold it over, first one side, take my thumb nail and make a permanent crease on the fold, fold the bag flat again and fold the other side, scrape with my thumbnail so that I get a permanent mark so, that when I have the bag flat again, I can see where I need to cut the bag to get equal size smaller bags. I then just cut with regular kitchen scissors along the creases. I’ll do several of the large bags before I seal off the edges that need to be sealed with my iron, since I know I will be needing quite a few to fit all the spices I want to seal. I also have several other types of spices that I will be sealing in Mylar bags today so, it just makes sense to do all of them at the same time.



With my hot iron, I run it over the edges of the cut Mylar bags that I want to be smaller versions of the large bag. You need to have your iron set to the highest heat setting. I’ll move the hot iron over the sides of the bag making sure I have a good seal. Just leave the top side open so you can fill the bag with whatever you are planning to put up for storage… Yes, I have accidently sealed all 4 sides… LOL

   

Once you have sealed the edges that needed to be sealed, start filling your bags with your dry goods. Don’t fill to much, about ¾ full is what you should go for. If you fill them to full, you won’t be able to seal the top opening without having food stuffs falling out or causing a bad seal.

Once you’ve filled all your bags, open the bag that has the oxygen absorbers and take out as many as you need. Close the bag which you have taken out the absorbers you need, so that the absorbers that are still in that bag get less oxygen exposure. You need to keep that bag sealed off when you are not working with them, or they will have absorbed to much oxygen and they won’t work. I keep mine in vacuum seal bags and when I’m done for the day, I will put them through my vacuum sealer and get all the air out of the bag before it seals it off. That way, I know that they are good to go, next time I am putting other things in Mylar bags.



Place 1 oxygen absorber in each of the small bags. I only use the 300cc absorbers. I could use a 100cc for these small bags but, they cost nearly the same as the larger ones so, I just stick to one size. If I’m using a large Mylar bag, like when I will be bagging flour, I’ll use the large bag as it is. I will put 2, 300cc absorbers in the large Mylar bags. 1 could be enough but, I want to make sure I get rid of as much air as possible. Plus, if I were to open a large bag but didn’t need more than half of what is in the bag, I’d be able to re-seal the Mylar bag again, without adding a new absorber.

   

Try to get as much air as possible out of your Mylar bag when you seal the top off. I use my ironing board without a soft cover. It’s just the wood top so I have a sharp edge on the side of the board, so I can put just the top of the bag over the edge and pull it up against the edge, until I feel that I can’t pull it up any further due to the food or in this case the spice would pour out of the bag and onto the ironing board. I use my knee to hold up the bag and my fingers to hold the top down on the ironing board while I run the hot iron over the top end of the Mylar bag. Run the iron a couple of times across the top edge of the bag when you seal. You will be able to see if it has sealed when you compare it to the side seals. They seal quite fast but be careful when you handle the newly sealed bag, the seal is HOT… :)

   

Continue to seal the rest of the full bags. When you are done with all the bags, write with a permanent marker the date and what is in the bags. Try to flatten out the sealed bags as much as possible, so they will take up less space when storing, and also stack easier…



Store all of the sealed Mylar bags in a tote or bucket. Just make sure it has a good and sturdy lid. You don’t want any mice or other vermin getting into your storage.

//Solani
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 08:56:03 PM by Solani »
~In order to determine what is possible, one only needs to step out into what is considered impossible and look around...~
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~I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change... I am changing the things I cannot accept~
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Solani

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Re: Long Term Food Storage in Mylar Bags
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2019, 01:28:49 PM »
When I am storing dry foods for long storage in Mylar bags along with oxygen absorbers. There are some foods that I will "pre treat" before I put them in Mylar bags along with the oxygen absorbers. Dry foods such as rice, flour, beans of all types, dried peas, lentils etc. All types of grains, cornmeal, cornstarch, arrowroot powder including oatmeal, popcorn kernels and many other items that I can't remember right now...

I also do this with our dogs commercial dried dog food which I have bought to put away for long storage. I usually make our dogs food myself but, when SHTF and until we will be able to have a harvest, both veggies as well as fresh meats. I've made sure I have a years supply of their food...

What I do is, before I put these food items in Mylar bags, I will place these food items in their original packing, in my deep freezer and keep them there for up to 2 - 3 days. I do this to kill eventual larvae/bugs/eggs etc. that could hatch while in storage.

There are many people that store food items in the extra large Mylar bags that fit in large 5 gallon pails with tightly sealed lids. I however have opted not to use those large bags, since all it takes is one larvae or egg to survive and then, whatever is in that whole 5 gallon bag/pail is not fit to eat. (unless you're really hungry and opt to call it "extra protein". I'd rather not have to do that if I can avoid it.) That is why I only use the 1 gallon bags or smaller. I'd rather lose 1, 1 gallon bag than a whole big 5 gallon bag.

I have not tried to freeze them after I have put them in the Mylar bags along with the oxygen absorbers, since I have no idea how the oxygen absorbers will react to the freezing temperatures.

After I have taken whatever dried foods out of the freezer, I will do the same as I do with any other dry foods that I'm storing in Mylar bags. I'll add the food stuff to the Mylar bag, 3/4 full, add the amount of oxygen absorbers I need and heat seal them. Flatten the sealed bags as much as possible and write date and what is in them on the bag with a permanent marker.  The oxygen absorber will remove as much air as possible from the sealed Mylar bag and if you haven't made sure the filled bag is as flat as possible, you will end up with a full Mylar bag that has a big "bump" in it, which will make it more difficult to store.

//Solani
~In order to determine what is possible, one only needs to step out into what is considered impossible and look around...~
*******************************
~I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change... I am changing the things I cannot accept~
*******************************

 

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