Mylar bags are a very effective way to preserve dry foods long term with an unbeatable shelf life potential. What are Mylar Bags? Mylar is a brand name (made by Dupont) for BoPET bags laminated with a metal layer to enhance food storage abilities.
BoPET is a short way of saying biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate. BoPET is a tough polyester material that is durable and resists punctures and tears at a certain thickness. When lined with a metal (often aluminum)BoPET bags are completely opaque and provide good durability.
These bags offer excellent barrier properties against oxygen, light, and moisture, all of which are enemies of long term food storage. Freeze dried foods and other foods that need to stay dry and away from light during storage are perfect foods to store in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Mylar will protect food value and offer a shelf life up to 25 years at a cool room temperature.
What the metal layer Does:
- Oxygen Barrier: The metal film, when laminated onto BoPET enhances the storage properties of the material and acts as a barrier against oxygen. This helps to prevent the oxidation of food. For extra protection against oxygen, add O2 absorbers. Learn all about oxygen absorbers here.
- Light Barrier: The metal layer also blocks light, protecting the contents of the bag from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, which can degrade the quality of food.
- Moisture Resistance: While the polyester film itself is naturally resistant to moisture, the metal layer further enhances the barrier properties, helping to keep out water and humidity. This is CRITICAL for preserving Freeze Dried foods. If you want even more protection against moisture, add silica Gell packets into the bag as well.
- Durability: The metal layer adds strength and puncture resistance to the BoPET.
Do you really need Mylar bags for food storage?
Mylar bags protect dry foods from light, moisture, and oxygen. They are also very convenient to store, lightweight to carry and you can eat the foods straight out of the bags. But they are not the ONLY method of long term food storage.
Food grade plastic buckets with good seals can also hold food long term when properly used. Even Mason Jars can provide several years of storage without losing food value for freeze dried and other dry foods, when properly stored, in a cool dark place and the jar is sealed with an O2 absorber inside.
Mylar bags are not necessary for short-term storage or for items that are not as sensitive to oxygen and light exposure. Consider the types of foods you’re storing. And how long you want storage to last.
What Should You Not Store in Mylar bags:
Mylar bags are perfect for storing a wide range of dry and non-perishable food items. However, there are certain types of products that are not well-suited for Mylar bag storage.
Here are some items you should avoid storing in Mylar bags:
- Liquid or Moist Items: Mylar bags are not designed to hold liquids or foods exceeding 10% moisture. Moisture in the bags will cause bacteria to grow and spoil the food.
- Highly Perishable Raw or Fresh Foods: Mylar bags are really great for long-term storage of dry goods. Highly perishable items and items that require refrigeration are not good to store in mylar bags unless they are first freeze dried.
- Temperature-Sensitive Items: Mylar bags do not provide insulation, and extreme temperatures can affect the quality of the stored items. and may affect the bag seals. Avoid storing items that are highly sensitive to temperature fluctuations in Mylar bags.
- Items Requiring Constant Access: If you need frequent access to the stored items, Mylar bags may not be the most convenient option. Opening and resealing the bags can reduce their effectiveness over time. But you CAN access what’s in the bags and reseal the bags.
- Sharp or Pointed Objects: While Mylar bags are puncture-resistant, storing sharp or pointed objects may increase the risk of punctures or tears, compromising the integrity of the bag.
Reliable Brands Of Mylar Bags: What to Look for:
Her are a few reputable brands and considerations when choosing Mylar bags for food storage.
- Harvest Right Company is the leader in home freeze dryers are well known to produce high-quality bags. These bags are sold for use with their home freeze-drying machines but anyone can purchase them on their website. These bags are very durable at 7 mils thickness and effective for long-term food storage.
- PackFreshUSA: PackFreshUSA is a well-regarded brand known for offering Mylar bags suitable for food storage. They provide various sizes and thickness options, along with oxygen absorbers and other related products.
- Wallaby Mylar Bags: Are also well rated thick, durable mylar bags. This company sells various shapes and sizes.
There are TONS of these type of food storage bags on Amazon. I have not been impressed with some of them. Here are some properties to look for when choosing Mylar bags.
Look for a thickness, sealability, transparency, and brand reputation. Reading customer reviews and testimonials can provide valuable insights into the experiences of other users. Additionally, check if the bags are explicitly labeled as food-grade and suitable for long-term storage.
Mylar ziplock bags are very convenient for short term storage or contents you need to access often. They can also be heat sealed for longer term storage.
Keep in mind that the availability of brands may vary by region, and new products may have been introduced since my last update. Always check the latest reviews and product specifications to ensure that you are making an informed decision based on the most current information available.
Do Mylar bags need to be vacuum sealed?
Mylar vacuum seal bags are readily available in the market place and several vacuum sealers are compatible. Vacuum sealers or chamber sealers will suck the air out of the bag content as it seals the bag. This is a nice option but not necessary to properly seal your bags.
For this reason Impulse sealers, home irons, hair curlers and can all be used to seal these bags. Just include an oxygen absorber and press out most of the air while sealing the bag.
How To choose the Best Mylar Bags:
Here’s a chart outlining key properties and recommended values for Mylar bags. Whichever brands you choose, check customer reviews, and ask around in social media groups for references. There are a lot of lousy bags out there. Pay for good bags to protect your food.
|Food-grade biaxially oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BoPET) laminated with Aluminum.
|4 mils or higher for long-term food storage. This is minimal thickness and only works if BOTH sides of the bag are 4 mils. If both together make 4 mils that is a very delicate bag. better bags are 7 mils or more on each side.
|Heat-sealable for airtight closures. Most bags have room at the top to seal them and some include notches on the sides for easy opening and some even have hand close seals (use heat seals as well), and gusset bottoms so the bag can free stand.
|Enhanced by aluminum or metal foil layer. Make sure this is a good quality by opening the bag and looking into it with light behind. You should NOT see light or holes in the bag if your using it for long term food storage.
|High resistance to moisture and humidity. Same as above. Make sure there are no punctures in the bag.
|Puncture-resistant and tear-resistant
|Typically opaque to protect from light, but may have a window. Bags with windows are suitable for freeze dried candy and other food products to be stored short term of in a dark tote with no light available.
|Various sizes to accommodate different quantities of food. Bags come in a large variety of shapes and sized for different purposes.
|Compatibility with Oxygen Absorbers
|Designed to work effectively with oxygen absorbers.
|Suitable for the intended storage environment. Store filled bags in a relatively stable temperature and humidity.
|Compliant with food safety regulations (FDA-approved). make sure you use food safe bags.
Packing Tips For Optimal Shelf Life:
Now you know light, and moisture must be kept out of dry food storage. The length of the life of your freeze dried foods REQUIRES you to carefully pack your food products in appropriate ways. This will give you the intended storage time you’re shooting for. Follow these tips:
- Use high-quality Mylar bags with a thickness suitable for long-term storage. Discount mylar bags need close scrutiny.
- Add oxygen absorbers to minimize oxygen inside the bag for added insurance against oxidation and spoilage.
- Seal the bags tightly to create a barrier against external elements. This means heat sealing the bag.
- Store the Mylar bags in a cool, dark, and dry place. Avoid exposing them to temperature fluctuations and direct sunlight
- Do not overfill your bags. This makes the heat sealing difficult since the bag bulges and the top gets misshapen. Distribute the food evenly throughout the bag
- Large mylar bags can be used to line food grade buckets to improve the shelf life of dry flours and grains. the buckets provide support for the bag.
In summary, Thicker bags with a higher mil thickness provide better protection against oxidation and light, this is especially important for long-term storage. Features of the various bags you might want to consider include ziplock seals and gusset bottom. Also use clear window bags only for candy or short term food storage and store away from light. Read product reviews before you buy and make sure the product you order is from a well reputed company.
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