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GrowingFromScratch.com
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When I initially started thinking about long term storage recently, getting a vaccuum sealer was the first thing to come to mind. Then I found out about the mylar and 5 gall bucket method. This seems to make the vac sealers obsolete. But I'm probably overlooking something. So what good is the use of vac sealing for long term storage that the mylar bags don't provide?
 

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I was planning on vacuum sealing the mylar bags before sealing. Not sure if this would help but I supposed it couldn't hurt.
 

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GrowingFromScratch.com
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Yeah, redundant to do that but you're not losing anything other than the money spent on the sealer and bags. Every time I walk by sealers at the store, I stop and check them out, then I remind myself that I don't think I'm going to need one.
 

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Prepared Gourmet
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Mylar doesn't take well to being vacuumed, although there is one method that can work sometimes (putting a plastic bag top just inside the mylar top, suctioning and sealing in the area the plastic bag top is and, once sealed, you can then seal below that and cut off the area with the plastic bag top).

Many people use their sealers though for making much smaller, shorter term plastic bags full of staples, etc. And, if you have a jar top sealer attachment you can vacuum out your mason jars for longer storage too. Mine is a manual one so I can also use that if there was no electricity.
 

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Maybe like short term items for the freezer, I have a good one but they do in fact leak after some time.

Long term, they are as worthless as trying to store ice in your shed (IMO)
 

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The vaccum sealers have an optional tube with lid that can be used on canning jars. Check it out on you tube.

It vacuums out the air and the canning lid seals tight on the lid. The price is very reasonable and it does perfectly seal for longer term storage.

This is not meant for canning vegetables and meats, only foods that do not require refrigeration, rice, pasta, flour, beans, nuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips!, etc.

There is also a video on the Food Saver you can find on the net.
 

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Shorter term storage:

seal potato chip bags and cereal bags to keep it from going stale.

seal blocks of cheese to keep in the fridge (adds 3-4 months to the storage time)

seal meats and veggies before putting them in the freezer - no freezer burn

seal canning jars for dry goods storage

seal leftovers for the freezer - again no freezer burn

I've heard folks complain that the bags leak after a while, I have not had this happen to me......maybe I've just been lucky but I have stuff in my freezer that has been there for over three years and never had the bags fail. Also, I wash and reuse my bags.....never had a problem with that either.
 

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Never Abducted
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Long term, they are as worthless as trying to store ice in your shed (IMO)

Off topic,but I used to work with an old timer who grew up on a farm. He said that in the winter they would cut ice out of the pond and store it in a shed lined with bales of hay. Claimed it lasted well into the summer.
 

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I don't have a vacuum sealer but have thought about getting one for sealing camping/hiking/survival stuff that you don't want to get wet. For instance adding a couple of bic lighters in a vacuum sealed pouch to my fire kit as a backup for everything else.
But I haven't really convinced myself that it would be a worthy investment.
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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We have a vacuum sealer.

My wife used to buy frozen chicken breasticles in large quantity, break it up, bag them individually, vacuum seal and freeze them. This gave us the ability to pull out only a few breasticles without causing the rest to get freezer-burn.

Along with the vacuum seal setup came some quart jars with vacuum lids. And we also have a thingy that goes onto any mason jar to suck it down to a vacuum.

These things all work with a hand-vacuum-pump too.

Lately we have been using the vacuum seal stuff for storing some of the herbs that we grow and/or forage.

Sucking a vacuum on a mason jar; has been one of my favorite experiments for doing our own freeze-drying too.
 

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Off topic,but I used to work with an old timer who grew up on a farm. He said that in the winter they would cut ice out of the pond and store it in a shed lined with bales of hay. Claimed it lasted well into the summer.
Yep, that is what my grandparents did, except they did it in a root cellar. This was way before refrigerators...
 

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˙ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsn
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We have a vacuum sealer.

My wife used to buy frozen chicken breasticles in large quantity, break it up, bag them individually, vacuum seal and freeze them. This gave us the ability to pull out only a few breasticles without causing the rest to get freezer-burn.

Along with the vacuum seal setup came some quart jars with vacuum lids. And we also have a thingy that goes onto any mason jar to suck it down to a vacuum.

These things all work with a hand-vacuum-pump too.

Lately we have been using the vacuum seal stuff for storing some of the herbs that we grow and/or forage.

Sucking a vacuum on a mason jar; has been one of my favorite experiments for doing our own freeze-drying too.
I have had a foodsaver and jars for years.....tell me more about your freeze drying.:)
 

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We have our long term meals vac sealed-our buckets are put together to be all meals for a two to three week period.
Everything in my BOB is vac sealed-including lighter, matches, first aid kit. Like to keep it dry.
 

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learn and adapt
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Vacuum sealing is usefull I use them all the time. for everyday stuff like sealing steaks and chicken, but i also use them in my preps.
In my BOB:
My clothes vacuum sealed, figure if i need dry clothes just need to cut them out of the plastic.
Socks because cold wet feet suck, not to mention dangerous for extended periods.
matches and dry kindling for fire. I have enough for 2 weeks individually packed and enough for 2 or 3 months in bulk pack.
I also used it to bag up some kibble for dog rations and made a couple of bags of water. (these i use when we go camping or on day or weekend trips) but now i have dog MRE's, i always keep a few on hand when i buy his kibble.
I have even sealed some of my first aid gear (anything that can get soaked and damaged)
I also use it to make my own trail mix packs.
so I find it usefull.
 

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Long term, they are as worthless as trying to store ice in your shed (IMO)

Off topic,but I used to work with an old timer who grew up on a farm. He said that in the winter they would cut ice out of the pond and store it in a shed lined with bales of hay. Claimed it lasted well into the summer.
Yeah, in Maine they would cut blocks of ice out of the ponds/lakes in the winter and cover them with sawdust and hay. There is a living history farm there that still demonstrates it and does it today.
 

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Blessed
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I couldn't wait to get a vacuum sealer, used it for every bit of 2 weeks and it went out. Nothing, just didn't work. Contacted the vacuum sealer company and they are sending me a bigger and better one than the one I bought.

I use mine for things like instant potatoes, cereals, stuff like that. I also buy the marked down meat at our local grocery store and seal that and chunk it into my freezer. I can't get the mylar bags and o2 absorbers to work so I gave up on them.

Suzanne
 

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off-grid organic farmer
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I have had a foodsaver and jars for years.....tell me more about your freeze drying.:)
Put stuff in jar, choose a lid with a good rubber and place it on the jar, then the sealer thingy. Suck it down with as much vacuum as you can get. Then freeze. Now twice a day, take it out again and re-vacuum it.

Each time more water vapor is being removed from the frozen stuff.

In my efforts it seems that after a week I can remove maybe 20ccs of water from a quart jar. Not enough do the trick.

I need MORE vacuum.

I have tried using a pressure cooker, but the gasket is designed wrong. What you really need is a 'bell jar' and a vacuum pump.

Any better ideas?



ps. otherwise we have used a regular freeze-dry machine, which still takes 2 weeks.
 

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Just a rock & spear guy
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I vacuum sealed a first aid kit, a 48 hr food supply and extra socks in seperate bags for my hunting pack / bob. Done up a whole extra set of clothes to toss in the bed box of the truck. Even sealed up a couple boxes of ammo to put in the truck box.
 

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˙ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsn
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It sounds way too complicated for me, even though I have an A/C vacuum pump that I could rig up and it sucks big time.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeze-drying
The freeze-drying processThere are four stages in the complete drying process: pretreatment, freezing, primary drying, and secondary drying.

[edit] PretreatmentPretreatment includes any method of treating the product prior to freezing. This may include concentrating the product, formulation revision (i.e., addition of components to increase stability and/or improve processing), decreasing a high vapor pressure solvent or increasing the surface area. In many instances the decision to pretreat a product is based on theoretical knowledge of freeze-drying and its requirements, or is demanded by cycle time or product quality considerations. Methods of pretreatment include: Freeze concentration, Solution phase concentration, Formulation to Preserve Product Appearance, Formulation to Stabilize Reactive Products, Formulation to Increase the Surface Area, and Decreasing High Vapor Pressure Solvents.[1]

[edit] FreezingIn a lab, this is often done by placing the material in a freeze-drying flask and rotating the flask in a bath, called a shell freezer, which is cooled by mechanical refrigeration, dry ice and methanol, or liquid nitrogen. On a larger scale, freezing is usually done using a freeze-drying machine. In this step, it is important to cool the material below its triple point, the lowest temperature at which the solid and liquid phases of the material can coexist. This ensures that sublimation rather than melting will occur in the following steps. Larger crystals are easier to freeze-dry. To produce larger crystals, the product should be frozen slowly or can be cycled up and down in temperature. This cycling process is called annealing. However, in the case of food, or objects with formerly-living cells, large ice crystals will break the cell walls (a problem discovered, and solved, by Clarence Birdseye), resulting in the destruction of more cells, which can result in increasingly poor texture and nutritive content. In this case, the freezing is done rapidly, in order to lower the material to below its eutectic point quickly, thus avoiding the formation of ice crystals. Usually, the freezing temperatures are between −50 °C and −80 °C. The freezing phase is the most critical in the whole freeze-drying process, because the product can be spoiled if badly done.

Amorphous materials do not have a eutectic point, but they do have a critical point, below which the product must be maintained to prevent melt-back or collapse during primary and secondary drying.

[edit] Primary dryingDuring the primary drying phase, the pressure is lowered (to the range of a few millibars), and enough heat is supplied to the material for the water to sublime. The amount of heat necessary can be calculated using the sublimating molecules’ latent heat of sublimation. In this initial drying phase, about 95% of the water in the material is sublimated. This phase may be slow (can be several days in the industry), because, if too much heat is added, the material’s structure could be altered.

In this phase, pressure is controlled through the application of partial vacuum. The vacuum speeds sublimation, making it useful as a deliberate drying process. Furthermore, a cold condenser chamber and/or condenser plates provide a surface(s) for the water vapour to re-solidify on. This condenser plays no role in keeping the material frozen; rather, it prevents water vapor from reaching the vacuum pump, which could degrade the pump's performance. Condenser temperatures are typically below −50 °C (−60 °F).

It is important to note that, in this range of pressure, the heat is brought mainly by conduction or radiation; the convection effect is considered to be inefficient.

[edit] Secondary dryingThe secondary drying phase aims to remove unfrozen water molecules, since the ice was removed in the primary drying phase. This part of the freeze-drying process is governed by the material’s adsorption isotherms. In this phase, the temperature is raised higher than in the primary drying phase, and can even be above 0 °C, to break any physico-chemical interactions that have formed between the water molecules and the frozen material. Usually the pressure is also lowered in this stage to encourage desorption (typically in the range of microbars, or fractions of a pascal). However, there are products that benefit from increased pressure as well.

After the freeze-drying process is complete, the vacuum is usually broken with an inert gas, such as nitrogen, before the material is sealed.

At the end of the operation, the final residual water content in the product is extremely low, around 1% to 4%.
 

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Super Gassy Moderator
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When I initially started thinking about long term storage recently, getting a vaccuum sealer was the first thing to come to mind. Then I found out about the mylar and 5 gall bucket method. This seems to make the vac sealers obsolete. But I'm probably overlooking something. So what good is the use of vac sealing for long term storage that the mylar bags don't provide?
Personally, I don't have a lot of use for vacuum sealing, though I do some. It's not a good long term storage method because it leaves too much O2 behind. Mylar and O2 absorbers are a better method.

Vacuum bags tend to leak air after a couple years, and to vacuum seal mylar, really requires mylar that is rated for it. Otherwise it's prone to pin holing.

Vacuum sealing is originally designed to keep foods from freezer burning, and for medium term storage of dry foods. It's great for your home dried garden veggies and such, since you're going to be rotating them anyway. And that's how mine gets most of it's use. I also use it for packing things for my BOB to keep them waterproof, etc.
 
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