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Old 03-31-2011, 10:10 PM
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Default My first mylar bag and oxygen absorber project



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I have a confession to make, this was my first time to seal food in mylar bags. To be perfectly honest, I was a little intimidated by it all. What if I screwed everything up, what if I sealed the food wrong, what if the seals did not hold,,,,,.

Thanks to SafeCastle, Prepared.pro I have a bunch of 1 gallon mylar bags, and 50 02 absorbers. So off a sealing I went.

After work today my wife and I went to the super wal-mart in Jasper and I did a little grocery shopping. While we were getting our usual stuff, I picked up a 10 pound bag of Krusteaz instant pancake mix, all you have to do is add water and your good to go.

Went home, got everything ready, and started sealing the mylar bags.

Todays cache:

20 pounds white rice
10 pounds instant pancake mix
5 pounds pinto beans
1 pound navy beans
5 boxes mac & cheese
2 boxes pasta
2 pounds 4 ounces (2 containers) Quaker instant oats

I'll post an update tomorrow evening as to how the mylar bags look. I also did some videos, but before their uploaded to youtube I want to see if the bags are going to suck in.

I will work on getting some pics and a video up tomorrow, or this weekend.

The only question I have so far, how do I eliminate the wrinkles while sealing the mylar bags?
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:27 PM
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Mylar bags come in Ziploc also. They are a tad more though.
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Old 03-31-2011, 10:53 PM
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What did you use to seal them, Kev? Iron? Hair Straightener? Hotjaw sealer?

If you're using an iron, what I have done (before getting a Hotjaw sealer) was to take a couple of pieces of 1" stock (it's 3/4" square in dimension). Cut two about, oh, 16" long. Carefully sand them smooth so there are no sharp edges or splinters or whatever. Put the two together, then use a rubber band at one end to hold them. Voila! You have something you can use to hold the bag flat while you seal.

When I did this with an iron, I'd seal on a 2x4 or similar, so that the open end of the bag was up higher than the bench I was working on, i.e., the thickness of the bag was compensated for by the 2x4. Then I'd use a piece of 1x stock to seal on with the iron.

OK, here are a couple pics I just took. They really are worth a thousand words:





If you make up something like this, make sure you sand all edges smooth so they won't tear the bags or poke through them.
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Old 04-01-2011, 06:52 AM
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What did you use to seal them, Kev? Iron? Hair Straightener? Hotjaw sealer?
My wifes iron was used.

I have a large plastic clamp that came with the mylar bags, but its not wide enough. When I put a mylar bag into the clamp, the last 1/2 - 3/4 inch get crimped inside the clamp.

Checked the bags this morning, it was clear that the beans, rice, mac and cheese were being sucked down, the pancake mix not so much. Since the pancake mix has no edges to show through the mylar, its less clear that the 02 is being removed.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:02 AM
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My wifes iron was used.

I have a large plastic clamp that came with the mylar bags, but its not wide enough. When I put a mylar bag into the clamp, the last 1/2 - 3/4 inch get crimped inside the clamp.

Checked the bags this morning, it was clear that the beans, rice, mac and cheese were being sucked down, the pancake mix not so much. Since the pancake mix has no edges to show through the mylar, its less clear that the 02 is being removed.
I tend to get the same effect with powdered or similar kinds of food.

I just put up some powdered milk; I can feel the O2 absorber working through the mylar--it gets warm. But I think there's just too much air amongst the particles of milk to get the bag to suck down tight.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:22 AM
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wouldn't a vacuum sealer work for the powdered products? I just did a couple pounds of cocoa powder. I made sure I put a fold paper towel at the end of the bag before I sealed it so the powder wouldn't get sucked out into the machine. Then I put that into a tote of other foods.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:30 AM
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your 1 gallon bags - what is their measurement - length by height please - im about to order some but the retailer doesnt list them by gallon so i was hoping to get a comparison from you
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:43 AM
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your 1 gallon bags - what is their measurement - length by height please
At work right now so I am estimating from memory, width is about 10 inches, maybe 11 inches and length is about 14 - 16 inches.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

What finally got me to take the plunge into mylar bags is the current food situation. I was planning on making a purchase of #10 cans,,, and some other supplies this week. But after looking through several online stores, it seems that just about all of the good stuff is sold out. After doing a few google searches, and several of them taking me back to this forum about can good shortages, I decided it was time to take action, while there is still time.

Instead of buying pancake mix in a #10 can, I decided to buy a 10 pound bag from the local grocery store and seal it in mylar bags, as well as rice, mac & cheese, oats,,,, and a few other things.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:00 AM
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My wifes hair straightener works the best for me, with the bags standing up, you dont have to worry about content falling out and you can get more in them since you dont have to lay them down to seal. It even works great on the 5 gallon ones for my wheat.
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Old 04-01-2011, 10:10 AM
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My wifes hair straightener works the best for me, with the bags standing up, you dont have to worry about content falling out and you can get more in them since you dont have to lay them down to seal. It even works great on the 5 gallon ones for my wheat.
Yeah! I tried my daughter's (don't anybody tell her) and could not believe how convenient it was. Had to be careful because it was a little too hot, so I just really was quick with it before it could melt the bag.

Kev, I'm amazed that this is your first foray into this.

And I agree about the powders, they incorporate a lot of air between the particles. It's probably just fine.

Cocoa... I don't have that. Duh. (adds to list)
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Old 04-01-2011, 11:44 AM
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hair straighteners work good, better then an iron in my experience. I was sealing a lot of food though so I purchased an impulse sealer (5mm wide seal) to seal the bags.

http://www.sorbentsystems.com/impulsesealers.html

It makes it got a LOT smoother. since the seal is 5mm, I always make a seal, skip about 1/2 inch, and make another seal at the top to make sure I got a good seal if the first on fails. Its is so fast there is no reason not to. If the bag is filled, I can seal it in about 15 seconds.
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Old 04-01-2011, 12:23 PM
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Hey Kev, good job!

To do buckets, we use two people sitting on folding chairs facing each other. We compress the majority of the air out of the bag and then lay the board over one side of the bucket edge. One person grabs both corners of the bag, one in each hand, and pulls them taught. While held taught and against the board, the other person does the ironing, starting in the center working out, leaving a couple inches un-ironed in one corner. We let it cool a a minute and then press more of the excess air our of the small opening. Then we iron that corner.

We usually do enough buckets to have them lined up and ready to seal. It only takes a few minutes with two of us working together. We get a nice smooth seal this way.

Always be careful not to puncture the bag when packing, and you will not have problems with the seal. We did four buckets of elbows once, and the sharp edge of the pasta must have made a little hole. We noticed it as we were doing that last bit of pressing out the extra air through the two inches left un-ironed. I just put a large patch of duct tape over the little hole and continued. I left the lid off the bucket and watched it a few days. It held very nicely, the Mylar sucking down tight against the pasta. I then threw an extra 02ab on top of the bag before sealing the gasket-ed bucket.

Another tip: Remember the old cereal box statement, "content settles during shipping." Well, I grab one side of the bucket edge and lift it up and down so that it taps on the floor. The contents settle and I can add more food. I fill the bucket a third of the way and "settle" then another third, and so on. It makes the biggest difference on powdery food like sugar. You not only fit more; you also displace some air so the 02ab can do a better job.

I have been repacking some of my smaller buckets as I rotate my wheat. The Mylar bags I have are about 6 inches too tall. I have been cutting the bags down before filling them and using the scrap to make small bags. The edges seal nicely in my foodsaver, using the hottest setting.
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:03 PM
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Kev or anyone,

How long do you expect the pancake mix and oats to last in the mylar/o2/buckets?

Just got another shipment of ziplock mylar bags and was going to pack away another round of the usual staples, but might reconsider if other items(like pancake mix and oatmeal) will last over a decade in the mylar.

Thanks,
Duke
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Old 04-01-2011, 05:28 PM
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Kev welcome to the world of Mylar and 02 absorbers..... I use a hair straightener.. Works great on the Gallon Bags.. $20 bucks @ Walgreens.. The 5 Gallon Bags not so much.. It will not reach the middle of the 5 gallon bags...

Also I seal up everything but the corners of the bags before opening absorbers then drop them in and seal the corner.. saves a lot of time.. and with 02 absorbers Time is the Enemy...

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Old 04-01-2011, 06:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by survivalistmomma View Post
Hey Kev, good job!

To do buckets, we use two people sitting on folding chairs facing each other. We compress the majority of the air out of the bag and then lay the board over one side of the bucket edge. One person grabs both corners of the bag, one in each hand, and pulls them taught. While held taught and against the board, the other person does the ironing, starting in the center working out, leaving a couple inches un-ironed in one corner. We let it cool a a minute and then press more of the excess air our of the small opening. Then we iron that corner.

We usually do enough buckets to have them lined up and ready to seal. It only takes a few minutes with two of us working together. We get a nice smooth seal this way.

Always be careful not to puncture the bag when packing, and you will not have problems with the seal. We did four buckets of elbows once, and the sharp edge of the pasta must have made a little hole. We noticed it as we were doing that last bit of pressing out the extra air through the two inches left un-ironed. I just put a large patch of duct tape over the little hole and continued. I left the lid off the bucket and watched it a few days. It held very nicely, the Mylar sucking down tight against the pasta. I then threw an extra 02ab on top of the bag before sealing the gasket-ed bucket.

Another tip: Remember the old cereal box statement, "content settles during shipping." Well, I grab one side of the bucket edge and lift it up and down so that it taps on the floor. The contents settle and I can add more food. I fill the bucket a third of the way and "settle" then another third, and so on. It makes the biggest difference on powdery food like sugar. You not only fit more; you also displace some air so the 02ab can do a better job.

I have been repacking some of my smaller buckets as I rotate my wheat. The Mylar bags I have are about 6 inches too tall. I have been cutting the bags down before filling them and using the scrap to make small bags. The edges seal nicely in my foodsaver, using the hottest setting.
When I went to the LDS cannery they warned me not to put O2 absorbers in sugar. They said that it would make the sugar harden into a block. Just passing on the info.
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Old 04-01-2011, 07:57 PM
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No 02's in sugar or salt, been there.
Kev glad you did the mylar. I like knowing what is in my buckets.

I have to admit I never used the smaller mylar bags (1.5 gal) until this year...got 50 for a good price and just love them. I find it's easy to make up emergency food for the new prepper members. The 5 gal thing isn't pratical for everyone...Sometimes it's easy to do baby steps with them (newbies) Cant wait to view your videos.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:03 PM
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Kev or anyone,

How long do you expect the pancake mix and oats to last in the mylar/o2/buckets?

Just got another shipment of ziplock mylar bags and was going to pack away another round of the usual staples, but might reconsider if other items(like pancake mix and oatmeal) will last over a decade in the mylar.

Thanks,
Duke
I've stored Oat Groats in mylar w/ O2 absorbers, I'm expecting 20+ years out of them.

How long the pancake mix will last is dependent upon what's in it. I wouldn't be surprised at 5-10 years.

And FWIW: The ziploc mylar are still meant to be sealed with heat; that's why there's a margin above the zip. The ziploc is for after they're opened.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:15 PM
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Some of the bags have tightened up real good, some of them not so good.

One thing I have learned, do not open a bag of 50 oxygen absorbers at one time. The next set of 02 absorbers I buy will only be in packs of 10, and not packs of 50. By the time I got half way through the 50 pack, the indicator tablet was changing colors.

So far it seems that the best results have been the rice and beans. On a couple of bags I put two 02 absorbers in the bag, and they have pulled up real good.

The pancake mix still has air in it and does not seem to be pulling down. So I am thinking of going with 3 absorbers next time in the pancake mix.

Pasta has pulled up good
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:27 PM
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Some of the bags have tightened up real good, some of them not so good.

One thing I have learned, do not open a bag of 50 oxygen absorbers at one time. The next set of 02 absorbers I buy will only be in packs of 10, and not packs of 50. By the time I got half way through the 50 pack, the indicator tablet was changing colors.
Kev, if you seal the rest back up quickly, you'll find that the indicator will change back! Magic.
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Old 04-01-2011, 08:35 PM
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Kev, if you seal the rest back up quickly, you'll find that the indicator will change back! Magic.
To store the rest of the 0s absorbers until I am ready to finish the project, I cut off a small section of mylar bag, put the 02 absorbers in, and sealed the bag with an iron.
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