Question from one of our readers:
Do I need to freeze rice and beans before I store them in Mylar bags?
Short answer is not necessarily.
Explanation – There are 5 main enemies to food storage; light, moisture, contamination, heat, and infestation.
Proper Mylar pouches (and not the discount shiny plastic versions found online) already provide barrier protection against light, exterior moisture, exterior contamination, and exterior infestation if properly sealed and the appropriate oxygen absorber is used. Good Mylar pouches also provide a solid oxygen barrier which is crucial to placing food in ‘hibernation’ once an o2 absorber is used.
Mylar does not protect against heat and therefore the storage conditions should be cool temperatures if possible.
The reason some people freeze their dry goods prior to sealing is an attempt to kill insects that may be hiding in the food. Most commonly these will be weevils. Weevils have been shown to be viable for years in an o2 deprived environment. Freezing may not kill them or their eggs unless you place the rice in a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit for a period of 3 days. Many consumer freezers are not able to achieve that cold of a temperature. And in many cases when we store 50lbs at a time that would take up a lot of freezer space.
If we looked closely at some of the flour we purchase we might find these little critters crawling around but in rice, the eggs are usually hidden in the rice seeds. Weevils have the capability to assume the color of the food they are in. The good news is that they are edible, the not great news is no one cares to eat bugs and if they have settled in, they may have excreted in the food. But that should be obvious if it happened.
If they have found their way into your rice just cook the rice as usual. The boiling water will float them all to the surface where you can skim them off.
For our personal large quantity storage, we have not frozen the food prior to Mylar repackaging.
For reference visit this website: https://hortnews.extension.iastate.edu/rice-weevil-and-granary-weevil
If you have any questions you would like to see addressed, please reach out on any of our social outlets and we will get them answered by one of our survival experts!