One way is to vacuum seal them. I've talked about the importance of a vacuum sealer in a previous post, so here I'd like to discuss a different method. Using mylar bags to store food in might be one of the most popular ways to increase the shelf life of items in your food storage. You can store just about anything in mylar bags from rice to sugar to your dehydrated vegetables. Mylar is widely used in the food storage crowd because it reduces the light that can enter, doesn't absorb moisture or oxygen, and doesn't absorb smells.
Mylar bags can be purchased in a variety of sizes, from bags that will line a 5 gallon bucket to smaller bags that would fit in a #10 can. Mylar bags are usually used in conjunction with oxygen absorbers. You fill the bag with your food storage item (rice, beans, sugar, wheat) add in the right size oxygen absorber for the bag size that you have, and then seal the bag. Overnight the oxygen absorbers will create a vacuum inside the bag that will prohibit bacteria and parasites from growing and ruining the food.
Here is a chart that's posted on USAEmergencySupply.com that shows how many oxygen absorbers and what size to use with what size mylar bag you are using and also based on what you're storing.
|Container Type||Wheat/Flour/Grains/Rice |
(More Dense/Less Air)
(Less Dense/More Air)
|Mylar Food Storage Bag 20in. x 30in. (5 and 6 gallon)||100cc: 10-20 |
|100cc: 20-40 |
|Mylar Food Storage Bag with Ziplock 18in. x 28in. (5 and 6 gallon)||100cc: 10-20 |
|100cc: 20-40 |
|Mylar Food Storage Bag 12.5in. x 18in. (1.5 gallon)||100cc: 5 |
|100cc: 5-10 |
|Mylar Food Storage Bag 10in. x 14in. (1 gallon)||100cc: 4 |
|100cc: 4 |
|Mylar Food Storage Bag with Ziplock 8in. x 12in. (1/2 gallon)||100cc: 2-4 |
|100cc: 2-4 |
|Mylar Food Storage Bag with Ziplock 11in. x 16.2in x 5.75in. (1.25 gallon)||100cc: 5 |
|100cc: 5 |
|Note, these are average amounts. You may need more or less depending on your individual conditions and the remaining residual volume of air. There is no danger in adding too many. |
Oxygen represents 20% of the total volume of air and the number in cc's above represents the amount of oxygen that would be absorbed.
Conversions: 1cc = 1ml. 1000ml = 1 Liter. 3.78 Liters = 1 gallon.
Sealing the mylar bags after you've put in your food and oxygen absorbers requires heat. You can purchase expensive mylar bag sealers or you can improvise and seal the bag with what you might already have around the house. You can use a regular hair straightener to seal the mylar bags, and you can also use your standard iron. Using the hair straightener to seal the bags is pretty straightforward, just clamp it down to create the seal. When using an iron you will need a surface and an aluminum level works great, just as the man shows in the video below.