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The 2024 Complete Guide to Storing Food In Mylar Bags

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We love storing food in Mylar bags. The past few years have taught the world the value of preparation for unforeseen emergencies. Whether you consider yourself a prepper or not, it’s hard to deny the benefits of having extra food stored away to keep your family safe and healthy if the mainstream food supply fails. 

Veteran preppers and newbies alike should know about Mylar bags: what they are, how to use them, which foods they’re best for, which foods they’re not so great for, and their different sizes and styles. 

While Mylar bags are not the only option for long-term food storage, they are a staple product in the prepping realm. And they have their advantages. (Disadvantages too.)

Keep reading to learn more about Mylar bags than most homesteaders worldwide have ever known. Fifteen minutes from now, you’ll become a Mylar bag expert!

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. 

Let’s start at the beginning.

Shall we?

What Is a Mylar Bag? And Why Are Mylar Bags Good for Food Storage?

A Mylar bag is a pouch manufactured with multiple alternating layers of food-grade plastic and aluminum sheeting. The aluminum protects whatever is inside the bag from light, moisture, and insects, while the plastic protects the contents from reacting with the aluminum.

yummy breakfast snacks stuffed inside mylar foil bag
Most foil laminate food pouches have different layers. There’s at least a foil layer and a PETE layer. But what is PETE, exactly? And how does PETE relate to Mylar bags? Well, PETE is a famous food-grade plastic that helps preserve dry foods. It’s also called polyethylene terephthalate. And Mylar is the most widely-known PETE foil laminate food preservation bag brand. PETE helps lock out moisture and has no known toxicities, making it perfect for food storage.

Mylar Bag Oxygen Absorbers 

Oxygen (O2) promotes microbial growth and proliferation, meaning oxygen inside your Mylar bags can decrease shelf life and cause the food to become rancid.  

That arguably defeats the entire purpose – so, not good! 

O2 absorbers provide a barrier against oxygen and help to maximize shelf life. 

Oxygen absorbers are small packets you place inside Mylar bags and foods prepped for long-term storage. They scavenge and absorb any O2 present, transforming microorganism-loving aerobic (oxygen-rich) environments into germ-killing anaerobic (no-oxygen) atmospheres. 

Bacteria, fungi, and viruses that require oxygen cannot live in an anaerobic world. That means that the foods you store will have strong protection from microbial decay for A LOT longer! 

commercial mylar foil bag processing machine in food factory
How can you start storing food in Mylar bags? Very carefully! Here you see an industrial-sized Mylar-bag style vacuum sealer. Preserving dry food for long-term storage with Mylar-style foil pouches is tremendously effective but somewhat tricky. Proper sealing involves using oxygen absorbers and a vacuum heat seal. These foil bags reduce moisture and oxygen transmission. But they’re not perfect. They only work for preserving dry foods. Wet foods stored in vacuum-sealed foil bags can easily host botulism – a nasty food poisoning you should avoid at all costs. And, while Mylar bags contain a foil layer, mice and rats can easily chew through the bag. (Read our mouse-proof food storage guide for tips on how to avoid these snack-stealing creatures.)

Benefits of Storing Dry Foods In Mylar Bags 

Many benefits exist when using Mylar bags to store emergency foods. Sure. They extend shelf life by protecting the food from air, bugs, light, and moisture. But did you know that they also: 

  1. Inhibit oxidation in vitamins E, C, & A
  2. Prevent the growth of funky microorganisms, including mold
  3. Remove the need for additives like benzoates, sulfur dioxide, & sorbates
  4. Help to preserve the fresh-roasted taste of coffee, herbal teas, nuts, & seeds
  5. Help prevent oxidation of oleoresins & other beneficial nutrients in spices & herbs
  6. Improve the storage quality of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), like those in fish oil

And there’s more! Storing food in Mylar bags also prevents the condensation and oxidation of health-enhancing pigments in berry – and tomato-based sauces. Finally, Mylar bags are excellent for storing emergency pharmaceutical supplies, vital paperwork, and weapons and ammunition.

Using Mylar Bags for Food Storage
Here’s one of our favorite Mylar bag storage tutorials from Guildbrook Farm. They teach everything you need to know about long-term food storage using Mylar bags. Their tutorial covers various Mylar bag styles, foods you can safely preserve using Mylar foil pouches, and a list of foods to avoid. They also share an easy-to-follow list of Mylar food preservation supplies you need to get started.

Drawbacks of Storing Food In Mylar Bags 

There are only a few issues with using Mylar bags for storing dry foods. The first is that they are not animal-proof. Mice, rats, cats, dogs, and most other animals can chew through them surprisingly fast. They are, for the most part, insect-proof, which is a good thing. 

The other drawback of Mylar bags (for some homesteaders) is that they are asymmetric and therefore do not stack very well. Some folks (like me) like to use a large 5-gallon Mylar bag, or multiple smaller bags, inside a 5-gallon plastic bucket. And then seal it tight with its snap-on plastic lid. 

If you have food stored airtight inside of a Mylar bag, with O2 absorbers, inside of a plastic bucket, with a tight-fitting lid snapped into place atop, you have a very effective system for protecting that food from light, air, moisture, insects, and animals.  

Plus, the plastic buckets, square or round, stack up so nicely! 

delicious assortment of tasty and colorful dried fruits and nuts
Storing food in Mylar bags can help skyrocket the shelf stability of dried foods. But Mylar bags aren’t ideal for all situations. Wet foods are bad candidates! However, many foods that require moisture-proof storage are ideal for Mylar bags. Dried fruits are at the top of our list. Other dehydrated foods can store in Mylar bags for many years. But it’s 100% vital that the food is dry and requires moisture-free storage. And remember, preserving food in Mylar bags always requires a proper heat seal!

Best Foods to Store In Mylar Bags 

A generally accepted rule for food storage is that any food to be stored long-term should have 10% moisture or less. 

Typically, bulk foods and dried goods like baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, dry beans, oats, pasta, sugar, white flour, and white rice are some of the best choices for Mylar bag storage. 

Dehydrated vegetables, fruits, herbs, and meats also store very well in these convenient pouches. They also work well for freeze-dried fruit and other freeze-dried foods. 

Side Note! Be aware that whole grains can be stored in Mylar bags for longer than flour ground out of those grains. For instance, while wheat kernels can safely store for up to 30 years or more, the storage limit for wheat flour typically tops out at about five years. 

Similarly, dried beans store longer than bean flour. Also, rolled oats or steel-cut oats safely store longer than oat flour.

Finally, Mylar bags make excellent long-term storage containers for living seeds. However, it’s vital to avoid oxygen absorbers when storing viable seeds. 

I like putting my seeds inside a paper envelope. And then I tuck them inside the Mylar bag. Seeds stored in this manner get protected from light, moisture, and insects for many years. 

FoodMylar Shelf-Life
NutsUp to 1 Year
Brown RiceUp to 1 Year
Beef Jerky1 – 2 Years
Dried Herbs From The GardenUp to 5 Years
RyeUp to 10 Years
GranolaUp to 10 Years
AlfalfaUp to 10 Years
Powdered EggsUp to 10 Years
BuckwheatUp to 20 Years
White FlourUp to 20 Years
Powdered MilkUp to 30 Years
Pasta and NoodlesUp to 30 Years
White RiceUp to 30 Years
SaltIndefinitely
HoneyIndefinitely
SugarIndefinitely
Mylar Shelf-Life of Average Foods
Food Storage: 25 Foods You Can Package in Mylar Bags for Long Term Storage
Are you looking for more foods you can store in Mylar bags? Check out this epic tutorial from The Provident Prepper. They showcase 25 foods for long-term food storage using Mylar-style foil pouches. They also share tips on oxygen absorbers, double-wrapping Mylar bags, and foods to avoid storing in Mylar bags.

Least Suitable Foods for Mylar Bag Storage 

The foods least suitable for storage in Mylar bags or any other food preservation system are those with high fat, oil, or moisture contents. 

Some examples of these food products include brown rice, chocolate, cookies, crackers, granola, nuts, pastries, raisins, and unbleached flour. 

Again, dry foods are the best for long-term storage – making them excellent for stocking your emergency rations supply.

delicious selection of dried fruits apricots raisins cashews and hazelnuts
We love eating almonds, peanuts, pistachios, cashews, and hazelnuts by the handful! Unfortunately, these high-moisture foods make lousy candidates for long-term storage – even if you use Mylar bags. In our experience, they will only last one to two years before going rancid. And nobody will eat rancid nuts. They make you gag! But why do nuts spoil so quickly? The problem is the oil content! For example – brown rice, many seeds, and nuts have lots of oil, so they will go bad faster than white rice, which has far less.

Which Mylar Bag Is Best for You? 

Mylar bags are available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. I recommend a 5-7 millimeter bag thickness for long-term dry food storage.  

I would avoid any Mylar bags that are less than 5 millimeters thick. Food storage is a serious investment, and it makes sense to splurge for a quality product instead of something you can’t fully trust for long-term performance. 

Sizes of Mylar Bags 

You can buy Mylar bags in a variety of sizes. Some are very small and made for storing single packages of seeds. Others are larger and made for storing mid-sized amounts of flour, sugar, and other staples.  

5-gallon Mylar bags are brilliant for storing more substantial amounts of survival foods and are excellent for multi-family or community-based food storage operations. 

Helpful Tip! You can easily take a heftier Mylar bag and use an iron to create multiple seams, forming custom-sized smaller bags in whatever dimensions you like. Then, you use scissors to cut through the middles of the seams you made, leaving you with the smaller bags as intended. Each of these smaller bags can seal just like the parent bag!

Read More!

Our Favorite Mylar Bag Food Storage Options

We know choosing the best Mylar bags for food storage is a tad tricky. But don’t worry! 

We amassed a small list of our favorite Mylar food storage gear to help kickstart your food preserves.

They are as follows.

  1. Impulse Sealer | 12 Inch | Manual Heat Sealer Machine for Mylar Bags | Wallaby
    $79.99 $74.99

    Want to store foods with Mylar bags? Then don't forget the heat seal! This heat sealer from Wallaby helps lock out moisture and seals thin Mylar and thicker Wallaby Mylar bags. (It works on Mylar bags up to 8 Mil.) It's also easy to use. Line the bag with the heater and press for three to five seconds for a secure seal. No warm-up time is required.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/13/2024 04:42 am GMT
  2. 1-Gallon Mylar Bag Bundle | 75 Count | Wallaby
    $45.99 ($0.61 / Count)

    Wallaby is one of the most reliable brands for heat-sealable Mylar bags. These bags lock oxygen and light out from your food supplies. And this kit includes 75 Mylar bags, 80 oxygen absorber packs, plus 80 sticker labels for easy identification. The bags hold one gallon and can help preserve sugar, flour, rice, dehydrated fruits, veggies, plus other dried foods.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/13/2024 04:56 am GMT
  3. 500cc Oxygen Absorbers for Long-Term Food Storage | 100 Count | Wallaby
    $19.99 ($0.20 / Count)

    These oxygen absorber packs are the ideal size for a 1-gallon Mylar bag. They help to extend the shelf-life of various dried foods. They're excellent for helping preserve powders, grains, spices, pasta, sugar, flour, beans, cereal, and freeze-dried foods. This pack contains 100 oxygen absorber packs - but Wallaby also sells them in quantities of 20.

    Get More Info

    PAID LINK - We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    06/13/2024 04:57 am GMT

How to Store Food In a Mylar Bag 

While the overall process is surprisingly simple, there are some details to ensure when storing certain food types in Mylar bags. It’s vital to label your bags. Then add the food snugly and use an oxygen absorber when necessary. Then seal them properly for the best long-term results.  

Let’s look at each step! 

Make Sure to Label and Date the Bags 

Although it seems obvious, many people forget to label and date their Mylar bags before putting the food in them. It’s easier and more effective to lay them flat on a table and then use a permanent marker to note the date and what’s inside. You’ll appreciate your effort in the future when you’re searching for specific foods. Nobody wants to open a mystery Mylar bag to see what’s inside! 

Add the Food Into the Mylar Bag 

The most important thing to remember about filling Mylar bags with food is to leave enough room for sealing. The amount of space you’ll need will depend on which type of iron you’re using to seal the bags, whether or not you are vacuum sealing them, and your personal preferences. The worst-case scenario involves removing some food from the bag before sealing it. 

No biggie! 

Place an Oxygen Absorber On the Top 

O2 absorbers create an oxygen barrier to protect your food. It’s vital to not leave them out in the air. That will activate them and decrease their service life. 

In most cases, you’ll probably deal with more than one Mylar bag at a time. So, if you’re filling multiple bags, leave your oxygen absorbers sealed in their original container until you have all the bags filled. 

Then, open your oxygen absorbers, and place one in each bag that needs it. I keep some bag clips on hand, then fold each Mylar bag shut and clamp it before moving on to the next one. This storage process minimizes my oxygen absorber’s exposure to the atmosphere when sealing. 

If you’re working with one-gallon size Mylar bags, you’ll need a 300 – 500 cc oxygen absorber for each. 

And if you’re working with five-gallon Mylar bags, you’ll need a 2,000 – 3,000 cc oxygen absorber in each one. Oxygen absorbers typically come with bags, so you won’t need to worry too much. 

Now, let’s learn how to seal the bags tightly and efficiently to maximize the storage life of your dry, low-fat foods. Everyone loves a bucket of food with a 30-year shelf life!

How to Seal Mylar Bags 

Sealing your Mylar bags is vital because even a tiny leak can compromise the effectiveness of your oxygen absorber. That’s not what you want! It’ll make your food spoil much faster! 

There are various tools you can use to seal a Mylar bag correctly, including: 

  • Flat iron 
  • Clothes iron 
  • Heat impulse sealer 
  • Clamshell heat sealer 
  • Hair straightening iron 

However you choose to seal your Mylar bags, remember that you want to limit your oxygen absorber’s exposure to the atmosphere as much as possible. The faster that you can safely complete the task, the better. As a rule of thumb, never load more Mylar bags than you can seal in about 10 minutes. 

Whichever method of sealing you choose, just be sure to take your time, do a good job, and, most importantly, don’t get burnt!

Protecting Your Mylar Bags During Storage 

Once your Mylar bags are loaded with food, protected from oxygen exposure, and carefully sealed, you must store them in a dark, chilled, dry location.  

I like placing my bags with oxygen absorbers inside 5-gallon buckets and then sealing them tight with a lid. However, a metal trash can or other sturdy tote will suffice. 

Oh, and don’t store your Mylar bags in cardboard boxes. Hunger-motivated rodents have no issues eating through the box and the bag!

fruits veggies flour and grains neatly tucked away in food storage
Moisture levels and a tight seal are vital considerations when storing food in Mylar bags. Dried foods like barley, lima beans, white rice, powdered eggs, dehydrated fruits, kidney beans, dehydrated meat, wheat flakes, cocoa powder, margarine powder, maize flour, black-eyed peas, and other dehydrated veggies are perfect for Mylar storage. We also read that many baking goods, such as yeast packets, baking soda, and salt, can stay in their original packaging and get reinforced with Mylar bags with a tight seal. We love the idea! (Or – chuck the Mylar bags in a big plastic tub or bucket.)

Closing Thoughts About Storing Food In Mylar Bags 

Mylar bags have remained a tremendously popular long-term food storage option for decades because they work, especially when given the extra protection of an airtight container. 

They’re relatively inexpensive, even for high-quality products. They’re reusable, non-toxic, and will serve any prepper well for many years. They’re also clean and sturdy, with few drawbacks except that animals can chew through them. 

Well, here we are. At the end of this helpful guide about storing dry foods in Mylar bags. Did you ever think that you would know so much about these convenient emergency food storage pouches? 

Good then, we’ve both learned a lot about extending the life of foods. The maximum shelf life rocks! 

Thank you for reading along, and I hope the information is valuable. And that it positively impacts your prepping lifestyle for decades to come. 

Food Security Matters!

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4 Comments

  1. Anybody have a problem with the reflective layer delaminating from the bag and contaminating the food stored in it.

    1. I’ve never hear of mylar bags delaminating (nor have I experienced it myself). Let’s see what everyone else thinks!

      Thanks for the feedback, Pete! πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Carol,

      I personally don’t use mylar bags, either, though I’ll admit that my food stores don’t last as long as they would if I did use mylar bags. What I use are dark glass mason jars (specifically, these amber glass jars ). The tinted glass does a bit to keep the food in a dark, airtight environment. But ultimately, mylar bags do offer the longest-lasting food stores in my experience.

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