Whether you are trying to save money or save the planet, this thought might have crossed your mind. Is it okay to reuse Mylar bags or should you just throw them away after use? That's what we'll talk about today. We asked the advice of experts and here's what they have to say.
Yes, you can reuse high-quality Mylar bags up to four times. Just cut off their top portion, wash them, and dry! They are now ready for use again to store and extend the life of your favorite food items.
Keep on reading to know more about reusing Mylar bags and what you can use to reseal them in case you don't have the right sealing tools. We'll also answer if you need to use oxygen absorbers and if you can also reuse them when packing food items in your Mylar bags. Let's get down to business!
Reusing Mylar bags
Pasta, rice, popcorn, oats, and flour are just some of the staples that you want to have in your kitchen all the time. And what's great about them is that they have a long shelf life. Well, as long as you pack and store them well.
This means you have the liberty to buy them in bulk knowing that they won't get spoiled. You go on fewer trips to the grocery, you get to save money since it's cheaper to buy in large quantities, and you're confident that you always have your supply of these food staples in your pantry.
When it comes to packaging these food items, Mylar bags are your best friend. They are lightweight and come in various sizes and thicknesses to accommodate different amounts of these dried food products.
The general rule is that the thicker the Mylar bag, the better the quality, and consequently can help you store and extend the life of your food items longer.
You can even request customized sizes from manufacturers if you need them in bigger or smaller sizes.
Aside from these, they are very effective in sealing off oxygen, light, and moisture. These are the enemies of food preservation. Once you give these elements room inside your storage bag, they will cause oxidation and food spoilage. That'll be a total waste of money!
Mylar bags are very useful indeed. And some of the food items you buy in the grocery store probably come in these bags already. So you might be wondering if you can reuse these packages. We understand the thrifty momma and eco-warrior in you!
To answer this question, yes, you can reuse Mylar bags, particularly those made of good quality. But of course, you have to clean them properly before reusing them. Here's how to do it.
- Cut the top portion including the old seal.
- Empty all their contents.
- Wash them.
- Let them dry completely.
Your Mylar bags are now ready to store your dried food items! You can reuse these bags up to four times if they are made of good quality.
They will get smaller each time since you have to cut off the old seal but as long as you can fit your food in there and seal them, this is a very practical way of storing food and helping the environment at the same time.
Can you use a flat iron to seal Mylar bags?
When reusing Mylar bags, you need to have them sealed again. Usually, you use tools such as a vacuum sealer, an impulse sealer, or a heat sealer. But if these tools aren't available, don't worry as you can always use your trusty flat iron.
Here's how to use a flat iron to seal your Mylar bags:
- Put a piece of wood on top of your working table.
- Pre-seal the Mylar bag by pressing the flat iron on the center and sides.
- Slide the iron all the way from the left to the right to completely seal the top portion of your food packaging.
- Check to see if the seal is tight. If air is able to escape, iron the top portion again until you achieve a good seal.
Remember, the key to long-term food storage and preservation is sealing your packaging properly.
This is in line with our topic of being resourceful and practical. You can even use a hair straightener to get the job done. No need to spend extra on a sealer, right?
How many oxygen absorbers are needed for Mylar bags?
Putting oxygen absorbers inside your Mylar bags is a great way to extend the shelf life of your dry goods. Some say that they can help preserve food for as long as 30 years! Food is preserved much longer since these absorbers remove as much oxygen inside the packaging as possible.
We all know that oxygen causes a chemical reaction that leads to the deterioration of the quality of the food from its appearance and flavor to its nutrient content. In the case of fatty foods, oxidation causes them to become rancid.
Good thing there are oxygen absorbers that are readily available on the market. These are sachets or packets that contain iron powder, activated carbon, and sodium.
For these absorbers to be effective in helping with food preservation, there has to be a sufficient number of packs inside the packaging. The number would depend on the size of your Mylar bag.
In general, experts recommend that you use 300 to 500 cc (cubic centimeters) of these oxygen absorbers for each gallon of food that you'll be storing.
If you'll only be packing a quart of oats, for example, you would need around 100 cc. But if you want to store five gallons of rice for long-term storage, use a total of 4,000 to 5,000 cc of oxygen absorbers.
These are only rough estimates and it's even better to put in more absorbers for added protection. With oxygen absorbers, you can always exceed the recommended amount but you should never go lower as it could lead to food spoilage and that's a complete waste of good food.
Can you reuse oxygen absorbers?
Since we're on the subject of reusing, please be advised that, unlike Mylar bags, these oxygen absorbers are recommended for single-use only.
These products are relatively cheap and one bag usually contains a lot of sachets. However, take note that once you open their packaging, you need to use them right away and store the rest in an air-tight container where they can stay good for up to 6 months.
As for the oxygen absorbers that you plan to put inside your Mylar bags, you need to have them sealed within 15 minutes. Otherwise, too much oxygen may have entered your packaging and these packets won't be able to absorb everything.
Experts also recommend using oxygen absorbers in food products that only contain 10% moisture or lower. This will prevent food botulism. This foodborne disease can cause nausea, vomiting, breathing problems, facial weakness, and even paralysis once affected food is consumed.
Reusing Mylar bags is a very practical idea. You get to save up on buying food packaging and you help our environment by reusing plastic material. It's all for a good cause!