This post will talk about some of the experiences, techniques and tips that readers and others have provided us.
MaKettle10 provides us with this info:
In a study done with mylar bags and mice, it took the mice about 15 seconds to sense the food was there, and get into the bag to start eating it. Good idea you have to put the mylar bags into the big plastic storage bins. I’d never store them in cardboard boxes for extended, long-term storage.
Also, I went through and inventoried my food storage a few months ago. We have a moth problem, so I was checking everything for infestation. I don’t think we ever found any moths in the mylar-stored food, but I did find a bag that I could see into. The silver stuff on the outside of the bags is very thin (think thin like those dumb emergency “blankets” — body bags, as Jim Phillips calls them). I think maybe with the boxes being moved around over time, the stuff had gotten a bit worn. What you actually have is a thin layer of whatever the silver stuff is over a plastic that is several mils thick. At least that’s what they were about 8 or 10 years ago when I did the rice. I use them now to store almonds in because I am constantly rotating them and I don’t need a quick accumulation of metal cans right now.
One thing I don’t like about the mylar bags is that it is difficult to reclose them once they’ve been opened. They are so stiff that even a chip clip doesn’t hold them very well, at least in my experience. Once they are opened, then I’m looking around for a container that stands up (mmm, kind of like a #10 can) to pour the stuff into to make it more convenient to use.
One big advantage of them, as I mentioned before, is that they collapse down and don’t take up much room when empty. They are also reusable if you have the means to seal them shut. I’ve heard people say that you can use an iron, but I’ve heard others say that it doesn’t get hot enough to do a good job. If anyone has any personal experience in that area, I’d be interested to hear it.
MaKettle is right on about the rodents! USA Emergency Supply tells us this: “Mylar is not strongly resistant to insect penetration and not resistant at all to rodents.”
In asking around, I’ve been given a couple recommendations: 1) store the bags in a plastic bin, you can get these from WalMart for a few dollars (this is what I’m doing). 2) Store the bags in 5 gallon buckets 3) Store the bags in cardboard boxes (this idea seems bad since mice can chew through cardboard rather easily)
I’m also working on a couple ideas for Mylar Bag holders, if that ever comes to fruition you know I’ll post about it :)
AVFoodStorage told us this:
I too want to add my warnings, you have to store the mylar bags in something rodent proof, also they do tear, especially with pooky things like spaghetti in them.
I hadn’t thought about the potential destruction from within by spaghetti, good tip AV!
ScootersMom tells us:
I’ve used an iron and it works fine. I was using a heat gun when a friend asked if an iron would work so I tried it. I did put it on the hottest setting but it did a great job. You can do a much thicker area than with the gun. I had to use the gun on the medium setting as it can get too hot and melt right through the mylar. I tested both once cooled and both held the bond.
I really like the mylar bags and put most of my long term storage in them as a sealed lining for the buckets. Just in case of an earthquake and the buckets tumble and come open. Also I have read that almost any plastic is permeable and eventually air can get through but not through the mylar.
And BlueMagnolia tells us:
I used the mylar bags the last trip to the cannery in NC before I moved. I put beans, potato flakes, wheat, and carrots in them. I sealed them with an old iron and put an oxygen absorber in each bag they sealed tight and it was like freeze dried packaging. I put them into 55 gallon water barrels to move and they moved with no problems (except loading and unloading the truck naturally). I wasn’t about to leave my barrels behind and couldn’t afford the space of moving them empty so they were filled to the brim and everything made it across country to Utah fine.
I was sent another fantastic idea with great detail on creating custom sized Mylar bags (more serving size oriented) but haven’t gotten permission to re-publish it yet. If I’m able to get permission, we’ll have one more post to go in this series!
Special thanks to all those who provided input on this post, you gave us some great pointers! Do you have anything else to add?