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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒ&
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to prepping but I have been reading up on it for quite a while. I finally started accumulating supplies (prepping on a budget). I have a prepping partner who I do a fair amount of trading with and we pool our resources to get things done, like today. We each provided food and split it when we were done. He had the foodsaver and I traded items for my portion of the mylar bags. I wanted to try them out before I went and bought my own supply. Now, I wouldn't do this prepping thing with just anybody, this particular person is a like minded family member.

Today was definitely trial and error as it was our first time doing long term food storage. The items I prepped today were: basmati rice, jasmine rice, dried pinto beans, assorted dried beans (for soup). I used 1 gallon mylar bags with appropriate oxygen absorbers. We had the idea that we would be able to use the food saver to vacuum seal these bags. It didn't quite work out that way so I am not 100% happy with how the packaging turned out. The foodsaver, however, did a really fine job sealing the bags. It was hard to get as much air out as possible and I think this is due to the amount of dried goods in the bags.

In the photo below, we cut some of the gallon bags in half for smaller portion sizes. Being the novice I am, I have a few comments/questions:

All of my mylar bags looked like the larger one as far as air in the bag goes. From the time I finished sealing the bags, to the time this photo was taken, it was 3 hours. Most of the 1/2 gallon bags look like the one on the left as the oxygen absorbers are doing their job. I only have (3) 1 gallon bags and they all have so much air in them still. If they don't deflate by tomorrow, is it ok to open them up and re-do them?

I wish I'd done everything in 1/2 gallon portions to start but I don't have many of the gallon size so I am not too concerned. I have them stored in 5 gallon food grade buckets with gamma lids.

I have been watching some youtube videos and have seen one gal use a flat iron, I think I will try that, as it actually looked like the easiest method. Has anybody here used a flat iron to seal?

Any tricks of the trade you can share with me to help me along for next time? I have a small family, just 3 of us to prepare for so I also was curious how much food storage I should have per person? Also, do you have enough stored for 3, 6, 9 or more months? We don't really have the room for a lot of storage so I am trying to be as practical as possible.

 

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Peas and Carrots!
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The problem with using the foodsavers to do the seal is it makes such a narrow seal that it leaves a much increased chance of seal failure. Most of my 1 gallon bags don't look "crinkled" until the next day. I bounce them a few times as I'm filling them to get as much product in them as possible and hand flatten the top of the bag before I seal it but that's all I do toward "getting air out." The O2 absorber will do the work of getting the oxygen count down.
 

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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒ&
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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Capability, not scenarios
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Lots of people use an iron to seal. As a suggestion, make yourself a jig like so; it'll help you produce wrinkle-free seals, and it's just a lot easier:





The thin pieces are 3/4" square (nominal 1"), sanded to remove sharp and pokey edges. The rubber band helps act as a hinge. The 2x4 lifts it high enough so the center of the filled bag is high enough to get a good seal.

Remember when you seal to ensure the inside of the bag has no powder or other food particles where you want to seal, so you don't foul it and have a less-than-satisfactory seal.
 

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Congrats, looks like you are doing well and doing your preps well. We have very little Mylar stuff. We have an Argon tank with a wire welder so I bought a separate gauge and attached a 1/4" line to it. We fill our containers with the hose stuck inside then fill them with Argon. We then seal the bags (just food grade plastic of various sizes)(I use two bags and seal seperately) and close the containers after filling them with Argon also. That way we have them Oxygen purged with dry "air". We have started using 20 gallon containers instead of 55 gallon barrels. Use lots of 5 and three gallon ones also. That way we can easily stack our goodies and they are good to go for a long long time.
Oh yes--you can rent gas tanks of Argon, CO2, and Nitrogen when needed. You can get by with just a hose but have to be careful not to "blow" your goodies out with too much pressure.
ETA: I only use ties with the bags instead of trying to get a perfect seal. With an Argon bath you do not have to worry about a seal leaking. The stuff is heavier than air and stays put in the drum.
 

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Stay Sharp
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Just about to put my first order for some mylar bags and that jig looks like a great idea!
Does anyone know if you can get labels that won't won't smudge if the get wet or damp?

Not that I am intending to submerge them, but in the case of burst water pipes, flood or rain damage etc etc:confused:
 

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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒ&
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just about to put my first order for some mylar bags and that jig looks like a great idea!
Does anyone know if you can get labels that won't won't smudge if the get wet or damp?

Not that I am intending to submerge them, but in the case of burst water pipes, flood or rain damage etc etc:confused:
I have seen most people use a sharpie right on the bag, should be permanent. I preferred the label/marker look for the contrast.

Thanks, everyone for the awesome replies! Love all of the suggestions!
 

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Capability, not scenarios
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I have seen most people use a sharpie right on the bag, should be permanent. I preferred the label/marker look for the contrast.

Thanks, everyone for the awesome replies! Love all of the suggestions!
That's how I label mine--a permanent marker right on the mylar. BTW, in case you haven't thought of it, you want to also include the date you package the food, so as to have a record.
 
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Capability, not scenarios
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Congrats, looks like you are doing well and doing your preps well. We have very little Mylar stuff. We have an Argon tank with a wire welder so I bought a separate gauge and attached a 1/4" line to it. We fill our containers with the hose stuck inside then fill them with Argon. We then seal the bags (just food grade plastic of various sizes)(I use two bags and seal seperately) and close the containers after filling them with Argon also. That way we have them Oxygen purged with dry "air". We have started using 20 gallon containers instead of 55 gallon barrels. Use lots of 5 and three gallon ones also. That way we can easily stack our goodies and they are good to go for a long long time.
Oh yes--you can rent gas tanks of Argon, CO2, and Nitrogen when needed. You can get by with just a hose but have to be careful not to "blow" your goodies out with too much pressure.
ETA: I only use ties with the bags instead of trying to get a perfect seal. With an Argon bath you do not have to worry about a seal leaking. The stuff is heavier than air and stays put in the drum.
Have you ever had them tested to see what level of oxygen remains? It's very difficult to purge all the oxygen from a bag or bucket of food; you're not going to get 100 percent.

That's a reason why a lot of people use O2 absorbers instead; they'll get almost all of it.
 
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What, me worry?
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Congrats, looks like you are doing well and doing your preps well. We have very little Mylar stuff. We have an Argon tank with a wire welder so I bought a separate gauge and attached a 1/4" line to it. We fill our containers with the hose stuck inside then fill them with Argon. We then seal the bags (just food grade plastic of various sizes)(I use two bags and seal seperately) and close the containers after filling them with Argon also. That way we have them Oxygen purged with dry "air". We have started using 20 gallon containers instead of 55 gallon barrels. Use lots of 5 and three gallon ones also. That way we can easily stack our goodies and they are good to go for a long long time.
Oh yes--you can rent gas tanks of Argon, CO2, and Nitrogen when needed. You can get by with just a hose but have to be careful not to "blow" your goodies out with too much pressure.
ETA: I only use ties with the bags instead of trying to get a perfect seal. With an Argon bath you do not have to worry about a seal leaking. The stuff is heavier than air and stays put in the drum.
I do not think you can rely on this type of purging seal. Wise Foods does Nitrogen flushing but do not add Oxygen absorbers. Despite that, recent lab tests show that their pouches have atmosphereic levels of Oxygen anyway. And THAT is from a commercial food processor woith muxh more sophisticated gear.

Good mylar bags, heat sealed (air-tight) with O2 absorbers is hard to beat. I do not think your method is quite as reliable.
 

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What, me worry?
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Lots of people use an iron to seal. As a suggestion, make yourself a jig like so; it'll help you produce wrinkle-free seals, and it's just a lot easier:





The thin pieces are 3/4" square (nominal 1"), sanded to remove sharp and pokey edges. The rubber band helps act as a hinge. The 2x4 lifts it high enough so the center of the filled bag is high enough to get a good seal.

Remember when you seal to ensure the inside of the bag has no powder or other food particles where you want to seal, so you don't foul it and have a less-than-satisfactory seal.
Goose, that is a great idea! Thank you!! That is really cool! :thumb:
 
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What, me worry?
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The problem with using the foodsavers to do the seal is it makes such a narrow seal that it leaves a much increased chance of seal failure. Most of my 1 gallon bags don't look "crinkled" until the next day. I bounce them a few times as I'm filling them to get as much product in them as possible and hand flatten the top of the bag before I seal it but that's all I do toward "getting air out." The O2 absorber will do the work of getting the oxygen count down.
That never occurred to me. I have used my FoodSaver to seal my mylar bags. And you are right, that is a pretty narrow seal.

How do you seal a bag? Do you really use an clothes iron?
 
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Super Moderator and Walking Methane Refinery
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Congrats, looks like you are doing well and doing your preps well. We have very little Mylar stuff. We have an Argon tank with a wire welder so I bought a separate gauge and attached a 1/4" line to it. We fill our containers with the hose stuck inside then fill them with Argon. We then seal the bags (just food grade plastic of various sizes)(I use two bags and seal seperately) and close the containers after filling them with Argon also. That way we have them Oxygen purged with dry "air". We have started using 20 gallon containers instead of 55 gallon barrels. Use lots of 5 and three gallon ones also. That way we can easily stack our goodies and they are good to go for a long long time.
Oh yes--you can rent gas tanks of Argon, CO2, and Nitrogen when needed. You can get by with just a hose but have to be careful not to "blow" your goodies out with too much pressure.
ETA: I only use ties with the bags instead of trying to get a perfect seal. With an Argon bath you do not have to worry about a seal leaking. The stuff is heavier than air and stays put in the drum.
Gas flushing doesn't remove nearly as much O2 as O2 absorbers. Spending the extra money to rent tanks makes no sense when O2 absorbers are not only cheaper, but more effective.
 

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Food Storage with Mylar Bags...

The one thing I added to my Mylar bag storage with 5 gallon pails is Gamma Lids. It allows you to get into the pails without having to bust your fingers. You don't need them for every pail. You typically need one for every food source you plan to go into once you open it for use. So if for example you have 10 pails of rice, you have one for rice, 5 pails of beans, one for beans, and so on. When closed they are air tight and of course easy to get into. I also use one for opened pasta in the house to keep the mice from getting any ideas.

I paid $10.30 shipped with taxes for one Gamma lid on an order of 20 I just did.
 

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The one thing I added to my Mylar bag storage with 5 gallon pails is Gamma Lids. It allows you to get into the pails without having to bust your fingers. You don't need them for every pail. You typically need one for every food source you plan to go into once you open it for use. So if for example you have 10 pails of rice, you have one for rice, 5 pails of beans, one for beans, and so on. When closed they are air tight and of course easy to get into. I also use one for opened pasta in the house to keep the mice from getting any ideas.

I paid $10.30 shipped with taxes for one Gamma lid on an order of 20 I just did.
You may find Gamma Seals at the home store (Menards, Lowes, like that). The price, IIRC, was only $6 or $7.

Here's the thing you might wish to try: see if you can get that Gamma Seal off to put it on a different bucket. My guess is that a few cuss words will escape your lips. I once removed one; it took a large flat-bladed screwdriver and a lot of choice words before i could work it off the bucket.

Perhaps you might be able to remove an intact 5-gallon bag of food from a regular-lidded bucket and slide it into the gamma-sealed bucket, but I'll bet you have trouble with that, too--the gamma lid overlaps the rim of the bucket, reducing the inside diameter. Maybe you can get it out without ripping the bag, maybe not.

.
 
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Son and I both used a regular iron on the highest heat to seal our mylar bags and have had no problem.Use what you have and if it doesn't work can always cut bag down and reuse it for smaller amount. We just put a 3 inch board under mylar opening to iron on while in bucket.
 

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That never occurred to me. I have used my FoodSaver to seal my mylar bags. And you are right, that is a pretty narrow seal.

How do you seal a bag? Do you really use an clothes iron?
A hair straightener will also work. I like them better because I don't have to have some station or something set up to put the bags against. I can lay them out on a table, drop in the OA and seal them all right where they sit. Up to you though, either way works.
 

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ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒ&
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The one thing I added to my Mylar bag storage with 5 gallon pails is Gamma Lids. It allows you to get into the pails without having to bust your fingers. You don't need them for every pail. You typically need one for every food source you plan to go into once you open it for use. So if for example you have 10 pails of rice, you have one for rice, 5 pails of beans, one for beans, and so on. When closed they are air tight and of course easy to get into. I also use one for opened pasta in the house to keep the mice from getting any ideas.

I paid $10.30 shipped with taxes for one Gamma lid on an order of 20 I just did.
Purchased the gamma lids, love them! However, it is insane trying to get those lids on for the first time. I'm a pretty tough cookie and it took all of my weight, kneeling on the lid with both knees (ouch!), plus the rubber mallet and a lot of cussing. Lowe's has food grade buckets for under $4/each. You get the contractor's price the more you buy at once. It's a nice little set up that way.

@rpp--I watched several youtube videos where people were using the regular clothes iron. I don't know what the temp is set to, though. My flat iron is much more handy and accessible...I can't remember the last time I used my clothes iron! I wouldn't know what temp to set the flat iron to, either. The video I watched on youtube didn't specify but the gal who did it was a hoot, and made it look easy. :D:
 

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Peas and Carrots!
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That never occurred to me. I have used my FoodSaver to seal my mylar bags. And you are right, that is a pretty narrow seal.

How do you seal a bag? Do you really use an clothes iron?
I had been using a clothes iron with a VERY basic rigged version of Goose3's jig until about three weeks ago when I got a new 1" ceramic hair straightener from Remington.com for a little less than $8. Wow! I know why people say they are the way to go. It makes the whole sealing process amazingly easier and faster for me. I may be excessively uncooordinated with a clothes iron - I've sure devoted a lot of time avoiding using one through the years. :D:

One tip when you do seal the bags unless you have a really good jig to hold the bag is when you start sealing the bags, seal one edge of the bag about an inch or so and let it cool. Then you have a handle to hold the top of the bag by to seal the rest bag.
 
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