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Long-Term Food Packaging: Mylar Bags vs Cans

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Mylar bags were initially used by NASA for a number of purposes, including food storage for astronauts. They are essentially a special form of polyester that is incredibly airtight and water resistant. They are light-weight, incredibly strong and create a nearly impenetrable barrier that protects contents from oxidation and other chemical processes that cause spoilage or corrosion. This is why they are such an important component of a long-term food storage plan, and they are far more effective than using cans, mason jars or plastic bags.

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Keeping out Air and Water

Air and water are the two most destructive influences on food quality. It only takes a little bit of air or moisture to cause oxidation, the growth of mold, bacteria or other microorganisms that can be harmful to health. While zip baggies, cans and containers will provide enough protection for short-term dry, refrigerated or freezer storage, they will only extend the life of most items for a few days to a few weeks.

Focus on the Long-Term

Most methods of food storage can keep items fresh for a period of a few weeks to a few months. After that, they will need to either be consumed or discarded.   The shelf-life of items will also vary based on their ingredients and other factors such as ambient air quality and temperature. The use of Mylar bags will help to keep things simple because of their ability to create a virtually impenetrable barrier. Foods stored in Mylar bags can last for years.

This gives you a tremendous amount of additional options, especially when using the bags to store dry goods or items that have been dehydrated. You can prepare foods now and have them ready for consumption for years to come in many cases. Rotating products in your pantry or storeroom will not be as important, and you don’t have to worry as much about keeping track of what items need to be eaten sooner rather than later.

It is also important to know that even the best plastic, vacuum-sealed baggies will start to leak after a period of time. They are far less durable than Mylar bags, and it is not uncommon for seals to break or tears to develop, even if they are too small to notice with the naked eye. They are useful for short and medium-term storage, but they will not help you to keep food for long periods of time. Finally, their quality as well as the quality of the seal that the machine makes will depend on the products you are using, and these variables contribute to their overall lack of reliability.

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Packing Mylar Bags

It’s important to have a variety of sizes to choose from based on the amount of foods that you want to store. You never want to overfill a bag, and there needs to be enough room to seal, handle and store them properly. You also have a couple of choices when it comes to sealing the bags. Some people use bags that do not have any zip locks and use a hair crimper or professional sealing machine instead. This will produce a longer-lasting seal that is less prone to coming open or leaking. You can also open them and reseal as necessary as long as you have packed them with enough empty space on top.

Storing the Bags

The best way to store sealed bags is by placing them in a large bucket that has also been lined with a large Mylar bag. However, the bag is not absolutely necessary, but it does add an extra layer of protection. Placing the bags in buckets or even large tin cans will prevent animals or rodents from chewing through the items while also protecting them from accidental tearing if you move them from place to place. A bucket or tin will also help to keep water out in the case of flooding. Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to long-term food storage.

Using Mylar bags will dramatically enhance your food storage capabilities, but they don’t need to replace methods that you currently have in place. Continue to store items that you will consume in short periods of time in bags or cans. However, you should make sure that you also have a stockpile of items that will be accessible for a long time in the future in order to prepare for any eventuality.

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