As we discussed in Food Storage Mistakes Even Veteran Preppers Make, there are a lot of wrong ways to go about storing food for the long haul. One of the big issues is storing foods in inconvenient packages. There are many videos floating around on the Interwebs that show you how to pack a 5 gallon bucket full of food in a single mylar bag.
This is a mistake! You are not likely ever going to cook 5 gallons of rice at one time. Your food will stay fresh longer if you break it up into smaller packages and then open those as need occurs.
TruPrep Amy has put together an excellent video on doing just that. So let’s take a look at How to Use Mylar Bags and Oxygen Absorbers for Long-Term Food Storage and break it down step by step. You can view the entire video at the end. Once you are through you will be way ahead of the game when it comes to properly preparing bulk foods for long term storage.
Items You Will Need
- A supply of bulk foods like white rice, wheat berries, dried beans, etc.
- 1 gallon mylar bags
- Oxygen absorbers
- Hair straightener or clothing iron
- 5 gallon food-grade buckets
White rice and dried beans have a shelf life of right around 2 years in their current packaging. However, if you seal them in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber, they will last up to 20 years.
Preheat Your Hair Straightener
You want to get your hair straightener nice and hot so it is ready when it comes time to seal your bags.
Label Your Bag
Be sure to label the bags with both the contents and the current date. It’s much easier to label the bag before you fill it. If the food item you are storing has cooking instructions on the original packaging, you should write this on the bag with your Sharpie as well.
Fill Your Bag
Dump your bulk foods into the bag. It is helpful to put the bag in a box or bucket when filling to keep it from tipping over. You will put just under a gallon’s worth of food in the bag (about 3/4 full). You will need to leave some extra room at the top for the seal.
Add an Oxygen Absorber
If you are preparing multiple bags of food, go ahead and fill all your bags up first before opening the oxygen absorbers. As soon as you open the oxygen absorbers, they will start working. You want to open them up last. You can store your leftover oxygen absorbers in an air tight bag to be used at a future date.
For the 1-gallon mylar bags show in this video, you will want to use 500cc oxygen absorbers. Put the oxygen absorber right on down in the middle of the food.
Seal Your Bag
You will use your hair straightener as the heat source to seal your bag. Crimp it down along the top edge of the bag, holding it for 2-3 seconds as you go. Make sure you get a really good seal all the way across your bag. It’s a good idea to make a second pass across the seal to be sure it’s tight.
Let the Oxygen Absorber Do Its Job
Some food preppers will suck the air out of their bag before completely sealing it. Amy recommends just letting the oxygen absorber do its job. After you let it sit overnight, you’ll be left with a much more compact, brick-like bag. The absorber will do the job of getting rid of excess oxygen.
And here’s the video in its entirety:
Thanks Amy for a fantastic training video!