Vacuum Sealing in Mylar Bags Without Oxygen Absorbers. You Can Do That?

 Vacuum Sealing in Mylar Bags Without Oxygen Absorbers.  You Can Do That?

This guest post is by KW and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .

Sometime ago, I was having a problem vac-sealing grains such as oat groats and hulled barley in plastic bags. It seems they have sharp points that puncture even heavy duty bags. So I posed the question to the Pack: “Can I use my Food Saver to vac-seal in Mylar bags?” The fine folks in the Pack provided answers, suggestions, links to YouTube videos and the like. Thank you for all your help!

I was discussing this with Dear Significant Other and told him it couldn’t be done. I even showed him a YouTube video where a man used a vacuum cleaner, electrical tape and the hose that comes with the Food Saver to seal canisters. Well, with him being the super techno-geek that he is, he took it as a personal challenge to find a way to use these two tools together to create a new process.

In our experiment, we used 3.5 mil, and later 5 mil, Mylar bags and the Italian made Tilia vac sealer. First, we simply sealed a bag with the sealer to see if it would work. It did, beautifully. Then we tried to draw a vacuum and seal the bag. This was met with failure. The Mylar is too smooth to allow the machine to pull the air out of the bag.

I could hear the gears turning as the light bulbs in Dear SigO’s brain started popping. What if we used the plastic from regular vac seal bags inside the Mylar so that the machine could pull the air out? Would the plastic melt to the Mylar? If it did, would it still seal?

We cut a strip off of a pre-made plastic Food Saver bag and tried to fit it inside the Mylar bag. It didn’t work because even though the bags were the same size on the outside, there was not enough room inside the Mylar bag to slip the plastic inside.

Take 2: we cut the strip off the textured side from a bag, and cut it to fit inside the Mylar bag. When lined it up in the machine, it began to draw the vacuum. The machine pulled the vacuum just as it normally would. Then came the seal part. We knew we could seal Mylar to Mylar, but would a Mylar/plastic sandwich seal. Yes! But only to one side. The smooth side of the texture piece of plastic was sealed to the Mylar, but the entire sandwich would not seal together. So it was back to the drawing board for us.

We decided to try both sides of the plastic bag. We cut a collar of the roll and trimmed it to fit inside the Mylar bag. It worked. (insert recording of angels singing and the sweet smell of success here J )

Pic 1 300x225 Vacuum Sealing in Mylar Bags Without Oxygen Absorbers.  You Can Do That?

Drawing a vacuum with Mylar / plastic collar sandwich.

In fact, it worked so well, we reduced the size of the piece of the plastic collar and tried again. Success again.

Pic 2 300x225 Vacuum Sealing in Mylar Bags Without Oxygen Absorbers.  You Can Do That?

Second sealed bag with a smaller piece of plastic collar sandwiched between the Mylar.

It seems that the vac sealer machine needs the texture in order to pull the air out of the bag, but the sealer needs both sides of the bag to make a complete seal. After a bit of research, we . . . Ahem . . . Dear SigO found a product that will do the job beautifully without having to cut open the all those plastic Food Saver bags.

It is called VacStrip by VacMaster (Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with this company in any way; just a happy user). VacMaster has supplied professional kitchens with suction machines for quite a while. They carry a line of bags that can be use just like the regular vac sealer bags, and the VacStrip bags. You can use them alone OR . . . you can remove the mesh, cut it into strips and use it with Mylar.

The VacStrip worked with both 3.5 mil and 5 mil Mylar; we tested with what we had on hand. I have a 4 lb package of hulled barley, sharp edges and all, sealed in 3.5 mil and in 5 mil. It’s been sealed for 2 weeks now with no sign of leakage. I now have a new tool in my food storage arsenal.

This contest will end on August 7 2012 – prizes include:

First Place : 1 Year Subscription to AlertsUSA, 1 Radiation Safety Package consisting of the following;  (1) NukAlert Radiation Monitor and Alarm (5) Radsticker Peel and Stick Dosimeters (1) Box Thyro Safe Potassium Iodide. All courtesy of AlertsUSA. A $150 gift certificate for Federal Ammo courtesy of LuckyGunner Ammo. And a British Berkefeld water fillter system courtesy of  LPC Survival. A total prize value of over $700.

Second Place : A six pack Entrée Assortment courtesy of Augason Farms, a Nukalert courtesy of Shepherd Survival Supply and a WonderMill Grain Mill courtesy of Kitchen Kneads. A total prize value of over $550.

Third Place : A copy of each of my books “31 Days to Survival” and “Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat” courtesy of The Survivalist Blog dot Net and “Kelly McCann’s Inside the Crucible Set” courtesy of Paladin Press. A total prize value of over $200.

Contest ends on August 7 2012.

"Vacuum Sealing in Mylar Bags Without Oxygen Absorbers. You Can Do That?", 5 out of 5 based on 1 ratings.

Comments

  1. Even though I do not plan to seal uncooked grains in these bags and have been sealing single portion precooked meals in the small 3 x 5 bags I got from NorthWest Bags, this is the kind of information that will be invaluable to those who wish to do so. Mylar bag sealing has been used for a very long time in military applications and unless one was using this process to learn all the tricks of the trade one would be at an absolute loss for this. Thank you for your troubles and your willingness to share this information you have gleaned. You are a real credit to the pack.

  2. JP in MT says:

    Thank you for the info. There was a You-Tube video of a comb like devise this guy made to seal vac seal Mylar too. Seems like the last piece of the puzzles.

  3. MuddyFork says:

    This info will help me seal my dehydrated foods in mylar! Thanks FYI, I watched the YouTube of the guy using 3 liter coke bottles and a vacuum sealer. It works great, I have a test bottle of pinto beans that has maintained suction and seal for over two years now. The neat thing is that it’s reusable. I would recommend using the best quality of electric tape you can find since that is the only thing keeping your seal over the pin hole in the bottle cap.

  4. Mcsadie says:

    Having been a prepper for some years, I do not use mylar – too expensive, nor do I have a vacuum sealer. I DO, however, have many 5 gallon buckets of grains and beans and such. I am currently using a bucket of hard red wheat that I put by in 2007. It’s perfect. My method is to use ziplock gallon bags (reusable). I place about six pounds of grain in one, roll it tightly and seal it. You can see the vacuum type seal if you do it right. Put that bag in a second bag. When you’ve bagged up a whole 50 lb sack of wheat, for example, freeze the whole thing for 24 hours. Let come to room temperature for a minimum of 12 hours after that.

    Now the bucket-ing. Put a good dusting of diatomeceous earth in the bottom of each bucket. Stack the wheat filled double bags to comfortably fill the bucket. Sprinkle a little more DE over the top, toss in an oxygen absorber, and seal the bucket. I use a rubber mallet to ensure a good seal.

    Five years down the road, my grains are fine and I have the added advantage of opening a six lb bag at a time to grind into flour. Handy AND cheap, what more could one ask for?

    • Can I use the quarter gallon bag with double seal and achieve the same results? I have many items that I don’t put away in gallon bags because a gallon is too big for my use. That way if a need more I will only have to open as many small bags as I need. If this work it is an excellent idea.

      • I think this would work for smaller ziplocks. No reason why not. I’m trying to wean myself from the grid and this is one way to do that. The whole mylar (where you gonna get that after TEOTWAWKI?) , vacuum seal machine deal seems like a whole lot of running in place just to catch up to where you already are.

        Keepin’ it simple here.

  5. this is not an issue if you have a vacuum sealer with a retractible snorkel vacuum tip. it will handle mylar just fine.

  6. I have tried most of the bag vacuum-sealing techniques demonstrated on the Internet but have settled on the following approach.

    I use a Food Saver as my vacuum pump and a separate IPK-305 Impulse Sealer from Sorbent Systems to seal the bags. This sealer has adjustable heating time and will handle all bag thicknesses. I fill the bag (heavy duty from http://store.LDS.org), with or without an oxygen absorber. Next I use a sharp pointy object to punch a small round hole in one wall of the bag about 1″ from a top corner. I seal the top edge of the bag such that the hole is still on the same side of the seal as the bag contents. I use the Food Saver with the auxiliary tubing attached. At the end of the tubing I have one of those needles used to pump up basket balls. I insert this needle (which has a rounded end) into the hole I made in the bag (You may need to re-open the small hole in the bag in order to get the needle in because the hole tends to close up with time). I position the bag so the corner of the already sealed bag in the sealer is ready to be sealed off from the bag contents. I start the Food Saver (in canister mode … no heat sealing) and evacuate the bag. When the bag looks good, I seal off the corner which has the hole and remove the evacuation needle. In the few cases where this has not worked, the problem turned out to be a small leak in the original bag seal … not my seals. If you do have a problem and can find the leak, you can fix the leak and then repeat the evacuation process by carefully making another small hole in the other corner of the bag and repeating the process.

    Give this approach a try. You might like it.

  7. To Linda:

    The double seal technique will work with bags of any size provided you have enough extra room to make the seal in the corner. You can also open a bag, remove some contents, and vacuum reseal it again as a smaller bag.

  8. Products mentioned are suggestion from own personal use, not for profit.
    Using smaller Mylar bags to prepare a meal, reconstituting freeze dried or dehydrated products in the bag, by adding hot water is great for bug out bag and more.
    For other foods, vacumn seal in suitable bags, then place those bags inside a zip lock Mylar bag, purchased thru SorbentSystem.com, works great.
    This permits opening the larger Mylar bag, removing the smaller vacumn sealed bag as needed, then reseal the zip lock Mylar for future. Don’t forget the vacumn bags are cleanable and reusable. I have limited space, storing food in buckets takes more space- round bucket. Using Rubbermaid, colored 18 qt stackable plastic boxes. Sealing the boxes with electricians tape and stacking.
    Ordering Wheat Berries vs Wheat flour. Berries remain fresh for long term storage as well as they can be sprouted to eat as fresh veggie, increasing vitamins and variety to your meals. As needed, grind berries into flour.
    Comments or suggestion appreciated.

    • Lynn (and any one else interested in grains):

      There are some caveats about wheat berries. The unground wheat lasts a long long time. 3000 years (pyramids) old wheat has been sprouted. Once it is ground, the naturally occurring oils from the germ are liable to go rancid in a fairly short period of time. I keep my freshly ground flours in the freezer or only grind what I need. Most commercially prepared ‘whole wheat’ flours have been treated in one way or another to remove those vital oils to give the flour longer shelf life. This means, of course, an essential nutrient or three have been removed, too.

      If you have a mill, only buy and store wheat berries. Bear in mind that HARD red or white berries are for baking bread, being gluten rich. SOFT white berries are for other kind of baking, like muffins, pie crusts, scones – baking that uses baking powder, eggs or baking soda as raising power, not yeast.

  9. I have seen a few tutorials on youtube about using mylar to vacuum seal firearms for cache storage .