When you're out shopping for Mylar bags to use for your food storage needs, are there any important factors that you need to consider? You notice that they come in different thicknesses. Does this make a difference when storing food? That's what we asked packing experts and here's what they have to say.
Yes, thickness matters when it comes to storing food. The general rule is that the thicker the Mylar bag the better. It would provide better protection against light, moisture, odor, and puncture. For your reference, Mylar bags that are between 5 to 7 mils thick are good to use for packing your food items.
Keep on reading so we can tell you more about the required thickness of Mylar bags when it comes to food storage. We'll also teach you how to pack your food using these bags and answer if you need to use oxygen absorbers and if you need to put these bags in food-grade buckets when storing food. Let's start!
Using Mylar bags in food storage
It is always wise to have food stored in your pantry. Whatever circumstances or emergencies arise, you're prepared and sure that your family always has something to eat. That's why we take food packing seriously.
When it comes to food storage, Mylar bags are a favorite among food packers. These are available in different sizes which is why you have to choose which one will suit your specific storage needs.
Some foods are bulky and would require a bigger size while some can fit smaller bags. Some manufacturers even allow you to customize the size that you want.
One thing that you'll notice when shopping for Mylar bags is that they also come in different thicknesses. They usually range between 2 and 7.5 mils. For reference, a mil is a thousandth of an inch. It might not mean much to you but this is an important factor to consider when storing food.
The packaging has to be of a certain thickness to provide sufficient protection to your foods. Remember, food is sensitive. Aside from your need to ensure its cleanliness, you also have to make sure that it is packaged well.
This is the reason why many people prefer Mylar bags. These plastic and aluminum bags are lightweight but very effective in sealing off oxygen, light, moisture, and insects away from the food.
By ensuring that these foreign particles don't get inside the packaging, the food quality is preserved so you can enjoy it for a long time.
But for Mylar bags to be more effective in preserving food quality, they have to be between 5 and 7 mils thick. With this level of thickness, they would be able to give adequate protection to your food, especially against UV light, moisture, and outside odors.
The thicker the bags are, the greater resistance they have against punctures and damage. So, as much as possible, do not use Mylar bags with a thickness of 4.5 mils or lower to ensure that your food is well-protected from external factors.
How to package dry foods in Mylar bags for long-term storage
Now that you have good-quality Mylar bags with you, let's get down to the packing business.
But let us clarify that not all foods can be stored in these bags. They should be dry with long shelf life.
They should also have low oil and moisture content. Examples are pasta, white rice, rolled oats, and dry beans.
Here's how to pack them:
- Choose the right size of Mylar bag for your dry goods.
- Label the package with the name of the food and the date of storage.
- Put the food inside but do not fill it up to the top. Leave sufficient space for sealing.
- Include packs of oxygen absorbers inside the packaging.
- Seal the Mylar bag. You can use a vacuum sealer, impulse sealer, or clamshell heat sealer. But if you don't have any of these, you can go with your flat iron or hair straightener.
- Store in a safe place in your pantry.
Easy peasy, right? Now, you have a stock of your favorite food staples in your pantry.
Do you need oxygen absorbers in Mylar bags?
Oxygen absorbers are packs or sachets that usually contain iron powder, activated carbon, sodium, and other substances that can absorb gas. These are effective in removing oxygen inside the packaging.
Why is this crucial in food storage? It's because oxygen is the enemy of food preservation. Once you allow air to enter your food container, the oxygen in the air will cause a chemical reaction with the food. This would then cause changes in the quality of the food in terms of appearance, nutrient content, and flavor.
In other words, the food quality would deteriorate and won't be fit for consumption anymore.
That is why oxygen absorbers are great to add to your Mylar bags to help extend the shelf life of your food products. They will absorb the air that was retained in the package after sealing so that it won't affect the quality of the food.
When putting oxygen absorbers in your bags, the general rule is the more, the merrier since each sachet can only absorb so much.
But for your reference, experts recommend that you put 300 to 600 cc worth of oxygen absorbers for every gallon-sized Mylar bag. Just adjust this figure according to the size of your container.
Again, it's better to go beyond the recommended amount but don't ever scrimp on oxygen absorbers to maximize their effectiveness.
Do I need food-grade buckets with Mylar bags?
You might have read somewhere that aside from ensuring that the Mylar bags are sealed properly, some homemakers also put these food packs inside food-grade buckets. If you're wondering if this is really required, the simple answer is no.
Mylar bags can protect your dry food and prevent food spoilage by keeping off the air, moisture, light, and small insects as long as they are made of good quality and properly sealed.
However, these plastic bags aren't mouse-proof. So if you have problems with mice lingering around your home, it's best to keep your packed foods inside food-grade buckets to protect them from these house pests.
Mouse-proof Food Storage
Mice have a very sensitive sense of smell and once they get a whiff of your food stock, it's like an invitation to them to come and stay in your storage area. And they will certainly make themselves feel right at home.
Be cautious because aside from attacking your food pile, these little creatures also carry with them harmful viruses and bacteria that can cause different illnesses such as leptospirosis, pulmonary fever, infectious jaundice, and salmonellosis.
So, if you want peace of mind that your food stock is safe and secure from these house pests, consider putting them inside food-grade buckets. Mice won't be able to chew through these containers. It's not just your food that is safe but also your family as well.
When buying Mylar bags for food storage, just go by this simple rule: the thicker the better. They might be more expensive but with their quality, you can be assured that they'll give better protection to your food items.