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Old 04-01-2011, 10:53 PM
skydiverMN skydiverMN is offline
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Question storage for powders (baking soda/powder, spices, etc)



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I just about killed my vacuum sealer because I sucked up a a whole bunch of baking powder while trying to vacuum a small mylar bag. Sure, I knew it MIGHT happen, but thinking that I'm so much better than that, I doubted it would happen to me. News Flash. I'm not that good. It is a good thing that I'm handy and was able to open the machine and clean the parts and have gotten it working again.

So my question is this: How can you successfully vacuum fine powders for long term storage in a mylar bag? Do you put it into one of those brown paper lunch bags, then insert it into the mylar? What about just putting it into a small sandwich bag (not sealed, but perhaps folded over to contain the powder)? How long are these expected to last, or will the plastic degrade (come on, it's plastic. It'll outlive us, probably)? Will the brown paper lunch bag also degrade into something nasty and mess with your food items?

I'm definitely curious to hear how you can get these powder items into mylar AND vacuum them. Glass jars are not an option. Also, I'm also using one or two small O2 absorbers (300cc) in these small (qt and gal) sized mylar bags.

Thanks for your help!
Old 04-01-2011, 11:11 PM
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If the dust is a problem for your vacuum sealer: seal them with an iron like you would a 5gal bucket. I have an old iron I use exclusively for my bags. I've put up baking soda, corn starch, spices and no problem. Hope this helps!
Old 04-01-2011, 11:15 PM
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they make a vaccume sealer attachment for mason jars might wanna look into it I know food saver makes one I would imagine having the jar wit a little room and a o2 absorber and then vacume it on top would be good for long time

Old 04-01-2011, 11:27 PM
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First, regular Mylar bags aren't designed for vacuum packaging, only the more expensive and thicker bags are made for that. Second, there's no real advantage and possibly a disadvantage by applying a vacuum to the bags.(basic physics teaches that nature hates a vacuum. The higher the vacuum the more pressure applied from outside to equalize pressure.)

With that said there are videos on youtube showing how to use the hose attachment after sealing up most of the bag.

Vacuum sealing, with the bags provided, are for short term storage. Mylar bags and O2 absorbers are for long term storage. There are no professional food packing companies that apply a vacuum to Mylar bags.
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Old 04-02-2011, 01:54 AM
skydiverMN skydiverMN is offline
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I appreciate the info. I am using mylar and O2 absorbers, so I should be just fine. I do have the hose attachment for my food saver and I've been doing the vacuum with it. After a few I definitely got the hang of it and it's no problem getting a good seal/vacuum. That being said, if it's not needed, then it's just one less step to have to mess around with. It's certainly easier to efficiently fit things into a pail when they're NOT vacuumed too.

Again, thanks for the comments and suggestions!
Old 04-02-2011, 08:55 AM
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I've read plenty of threads on these forums and other sources of intel on vacuum sealing and O2 absorbers.

My understanding is that using any O2 absorbers in a vacuum sealed package is over kill.

If you suck all the air out of a space with an O2 absorber in it, the O2 absorber will not activate.
Old 04-04-2011, 09:58 AM
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Question changed my technique

So I've changed my technique to just put whatever it is that I'm storing into mylar, add one or more O2 absorbers, then fold over the excess to create a seal with my iron. There's still some air space at the top of the product and it's not hard packed as when you vacuum. This also allows easier placement into plastic pails as I can mold the sealed bag to fit into unusual spaces.

The above certainly works great on non powder type items (i.e. NOT baking soda, powedered sugar, corn starch, fine spices, etc.). I've found that regardless how careful that I am some fine powder will get onto the mylar where the seal will be, and it simply won't seal. I've been using unzipped Zip-Loc bags to contain the powder before inserted into the mylar. They're open so the O2 absorber will have unrestricted access to do their thing. Does anyone know if this pre-bagging method will cause any issues long term? Online I've seen a video where those paper lunch bags are used, but these brown Kraft process bags are designed to be biodegradeable. To me, this solution doesn't really make a lot of sense for long term storage. Unless, in a low O2 environment these won't degrade. Thoughts?

Thanks!
Old 04-04-2011, 10:14 AM
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What if you put the O2 absorber inside the Zip-Loc, to give it a better chance? Just a thought.
Old 04-04-2011, 10:29 AM
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Yeah good point, but for qt sized mylar I'll use 2-3 small ones, and I'll put one or two directly inside the pre bag. Seeing O2 is so darn tiny, I'm sure that any opening is like a giant hangar door that's open.
Old 04-04-2011, 10:59 AM
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You don't need to use a vacuum when you use O2 absorbers. They do all the work. In fact, the manufacturer says not to. So there's an easy solution. You also don't need O2 absorbers with things like baking soda, salt, sugar, etc. anyway. O2 is not their enemy. In fact, the O2 absorber will cause things like sugar to turn into a rock because of the moisture they produce as they work. This might ruin baking soda too, I don't know. Things like spices benefit greatly from the O2 absorber of course. As it keeps their fragrance oils from oxidizing.
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Old 04-04-2011, 11:26 AM
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Question redo the work that I've already done?

Yeah, I don't use O2 absorbers in my salt and granulated sugar. I did vacuum just about everything though. Do you recommend that I mylar bag them again, and re-O2 absorb them, and not vacuum? I have plenty of the 1gal sized bags that I've packaged them in. I have many of the local food store bakery glaze buckets, which are quite a bit shorter than the 5gal pails (maybe 3.5 gal?). I've found that 3 - one gallon sized mylar bags fit well, with small extra spaces for other very small items too. Using those big 20"x30" 5 gal sized mylar bags is a total waste for the small pails that I have.

I assume that there's no reason to repack vacuumed salt, sugar, spices, but perhaps vacuumed rice and grain? There's not that much stuff and I want it done correctly too. Thoughts?

Thanks for your time!
Old 04-04-2011, 11:51 AM
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The dust issue:

Avoid pouring the powders by using a small scoop. Use a funnel from the canning section of the department store to guard the sealing edge of your bag. Just scoop the powder into the funnel.

I have stored them 2 ways. In Mylar with o2ab and in vacuum bags with a sealer.

The bags made to vacuum seal have a section with mesh. This mesh keeps the vacuum from sucking the plastic so tight that air can not be pulled from the bag. The mesh allows the air to pass.

When doing powders with a vacuum seal and the proper bags, I use narrower bags and place my fingers in a "scissor" position on each side, between the powder and the machine. I do this with both hands, clipping the bag from both edges between my fingers. Then I apply enough pressure to hold back the powder but the air goes through. What little powder that get past my fingers is caught in the mesh.
Old 04-04-2011, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skydiverMN View Post
Yeah, I don't use O2 absorbers in my salt and granulated sugar. I did vacuum just about everything though. Do you recommend that I mylar bag them again, and re-O2 absorb them, and not vacuum? I have plenty of the 1gal sized bags that I've packaged them in. I have many of the local food store bakery glaze buckets, which are quite a bit shorter than the 5gal pails (maybe 3.5 gal?). I've found that 3 - one gallon sized mylar bags fit well, with small extra spaces for other very small items too. Using those big 20"x30" 5 gal sized mylar bags is a total waste for the small pails that I have.

I assume that there's no reason to repack vacuumed salt, sugar, spices, but perhaps vacuumed rice and grain? There's not that much stuff and I want it done correctly too. Thoughts?

Thanks for your time!
If you're using O2 absorbers in them, I wouldn't bother with the vacuum. It adds nothing, puts the bag under stresses it wasn't designed for, etc.

I don't know what to suggest on the ones you've vacuumed and used an O2 absorber with. Every time I mention that it's not recommended to do that, a bunch of people come along to argue the point, even though I called the O2 absorber manufacturer specifically to get their clarification on the issue and they said not to do it. And none of the food storage companies do it either.

Since the O2 absorber didn't have much O2 to absorb, I would probably snip off a corner to let the vacuum equalize, then reseal it. The O2 absorber should still have plenty of capacity left since it really didn't do any work.
Old 04-04-2011, 12:57 PM
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I appreciate the comments.

I personally totally love my vacuum sealer and it does an amazing job at preserving food that will be frozen. Recently I ate a 3 year old vacuumed Italian sausage that was frozen fresh from the package. The color was still perfect and the fennel taste and aroma were also very strong. Seriously, it was awesome! My wife rolled her eyes more than once, though. Anyway, I completely understand why people would want to use vacuum with long term storage. Seeing it does such an awesome job with frozen food, why not incorporate it with long term stuff? That being said, if the commercial places aren't doing it, then there's no reason for me either.

Thanks for the help!
Old 04-04-2011, 01:15 PM
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When I vacuum seal powders I take a folded paper towel and place it in the end of the bag on top the powder so it can block the powder from coming out. Works for me.
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