Proper food storage can extend the life of food from months to years. It can make the difference in many situations, including survival. Many people were shocked at the supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic while others have been “prepping” for emergencies like that for years. And chances are, those people used Mylar bags as a large part of their plan.
There are many ways to prepare and package food for long term storage, but Mylar bags are really the gold standard. In this blog, we’ll share some insights such as:
- Why Mylar bags are the best for long term food storage
- Which foods are best for storing in Mylar bags
- Which foods should not be stored in Mylar bags
- Some tips on setting up a long term food storage system using Mylar bags
- Which Mylar bags are best for your needs
What is a Mylar bag or pouch?
Mylar bags are made from several layers of laminated food-grade plastic and aluminum. Food doesn’t react with the aluminum because it is separated by a special food-safe lining. They provide a strong light, moisture, and oxygen barrier which protects the items in the bag. High quality pouches will do the best job storing various food products.
Why are Mylar bags the best for food storage?
The qualities of Mylar bags that make them ideal for long term food storage are:
- High tensile strength
- Flexible material
- Isolating barrier properties
Or, as some people say, they are “strong, light, and tight”. Mylar bags do a great job of protecting against air, moisture, insects, and other elements. They are able to remove oxygen and then protect against air entering in the future, which is the key factor when storing food for the future. Another advantage of Mylar bags is that they can suit your unique needs. They come in a variety of sizes, from small enough to store garden seeds to large enough to line a 5-gallon bucket. Plus, Wallaby bags offer a resealable airtight zipper so that you don’t need to invest in any separate tools, and you can use them again and again. They’re also economical and can even be bought in bulk. You’ll find Mylar bags in almost any survival food kit available.
Which foods are best for storing in Mylar bags?
The fact is that many foods can be stored for the future in Mylar bags, but not all of them. Low moisture, low fat foods are ideal for storing in Mylar bags. Dry goods like white rice, wheat, flour, beans, sugar, and oats are all good choices for storing in Mylar bags. You could also try freeze dried foods.
It’s important to note that whole foods store better than ground versions (such as whole grains or whole corn vs. cornmeal). Also, you can package dehydrated fruits and vegetables in Mylar bags, but it’s essential that the foods are completely dry and that you use an oxygen absorber. It’s typically not worth the risk for those categories of foods.
Here is a list of foods and their approximate storage times in Mylar bags:
Less than 1 year:
- Chocolate or candy
- Brown rice
Between 1 - 3 years:
- Dehydrated meat, i.e. beef jerky
- Roasted coffee beans (placed in freezer for best results)
Between 3 - 5 years:
- Baby milk/formula
- Cornmeal (maize flour)
- Herbs (ground)
- Powdered milk (full-fat)
- Sprouting seeds
- Green coffee beans
Between 5 - 10 years:
- Herbs (whole)
- Mung beans
- Peppercorns (whole)
- Peanut butter powder
- Powdered milk (semi-skimmed)
- Powdered egg
- Unbleached flour
- Wheat flakes
Between 10 - 20 years:
- Black turtle beans
- Black-eyed peas
- Butter/margarine powder
- Cocoa powder
- Durham wheat
- White flour
- Wholewheat flour
Between 20 - 30 years:
- Coffee (instant)
- Freeze-dried fruit and vegetables
- Hulled oats
- Kidney beans
- Lima beans
- Pink beans
- Powdered milk (skimmed)
- Rolled oats
- Tea (bags or loose)
- White rice
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
Which foods should NOT be stored in Mylar bags?
Fruit and vegetables should not be stored unless they are dehydrated. Meat, nuts, and legumes will turn rancid quickly no matter how they are stored. Keep to the rule of thumb that if a food has 10% or greater moisture content, it likely won’t do well being stored over time no matter what steps you take.
Steps for properly storing food in Mylar bags:
We suggest making a day of preparing food for long-term storage. You’ll want to be sure you have all the foods you want, the bags and supplies all in one place, and an extra person to help.
- Determine which foods you want to store and buy in bulk to save
- Buy enough Mylar bags to store all of your ingredients, you can opt for a variety of one gallon and five gallon. Also purchase a few 5 gallon food-grade buckets.
- Set the oxygen absorbers that come with your Wallaby bundles next to your filling station.
- Label the Mylar bags with what you plan to put inside and the date. Wallaby products are easy to label with the identification stickers provided, no need to purchase extra labeling tools.
- Fill the bags using a partner system if possible (where one person holds and the other fills the bags).
- Add oxygen absorbers to the top of the bags and seal them. Use one to two 400cc packets in each gallon bag and one 2500cc packet in each five gallon bag.
- Store Mylar bags in larger buckets or bins and place them in a cool, dry location for maximum shelf life.
- Sleep better at night knowing you and your family has a backup food supply!
Which Mylar bags are best for your needs?