Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's a matter of........ using Mylar Bags.




We had a recent class on making your own mixes. We discussed how to save these mixes in various containers. One of the containers that we discussed was Mylar bags. Today, lets discuss creative ways to use this very inexpensive, but valuable resource.

You can purchase these bags (individually, or an entire box) from your local LDS Home Storage Center (i.e. Cannery). You can also order a box from the LDS Distribution center. The box contains 250 bags, so you will have plenty on hand. There are also other distributors that you can find by doing an Internet search.

Traditionally, these come in a 10x14 inch size from the LDS sources. However, the bags do not have to remain in this size to be useful. You can resize and seal these at home. Please see the following for a "tour" through photos:




Begin by folding your bag in half and to make a crease. You can fold it again to make quarter-sized bags, or can fold again to make them 1/8th the size of the full-sized bag. We will discuss reasons why you might want to do this later in the post.

Now cut the bag along the crease(s).
See the different sized bags I have made from one 10x14 inch bag? The next logical question is...."How do I seal them?" Many of us do not own a sealer outright, but you may be surprised about your options. Some of the LDS Home Storage Centers will let you check one out and use it at home for a short period of time. However, if you don't wish to do this please know that there are other options. You may be surprised that they may already exist in your home!



This is a Food Saver. Now, traditionally, a Food Saver is used to vacuum-pack foods in specialized bags and then seals them. For our current purposes, we will just use the sealing function. You will need to seal the edge 2-3 times with just a little space between the seals. If you do not have a Food Saver, there really are other options.



Yes, that really is my Flatiron that I used to "try" and style my hair daily. Please practice with the different temperature settings on your Flatiron to find the right temperature that will work successfully with the Mylar bag. Also, you can use a traditional clothes/pressing Iron to seal the bags as well. In that case, consider using the side of a Construction level (they often have texture) or something like it and place the edge of the bag on it. Press with your iron. Again, practice using the settings on your iron to find the correct heat setting for this task. There is even more options which I will show you at the end of the post.
Now, why would you want to resize the bags? In my case, I use them to seal mixes that I have made. I seal soup mixes, spice mixes in individual bags within the mix, and I even used the 1/8th sized bag to put samples of sprouting seeds in and included them with a Sprouting set that I gave as a gift.
Mylar protects your food from light and moisture. They are also very inexpensive. This is why they are a great option for storing food. However, if you live in an area where rodents are a problem, you will need to put them into a very sturdy container that is pest-proof.
Here is an example of using a resized bag to store a soup mix that I made.

I cut the bags in half lengthwise and sealed them. I then put them into tall containers with the top open. Using a canning funnel, I put the contents of each mix into a bag. I later sealed it and put a label complete with directions of how to prepare the food right on the bag.


Here is my "mix" sealed in my Mylar Bag. You can use these mixes for yourself, as a gift, or to give to a neighbor in need.
Sealing Mylar Bags is really not difficult. These bags come in different sizes. Some are large enough to line your plastic buckets. At a recent class taught by Leslie Probert at Education Week (at BYU Provo), she taught us that plastic buckets are porous and do not fully protect the food. She encouraged us to line the buckets with Mylar bags to protect our food investment. Now, some Mylar liners are now coming with a Zip lock closure, so they are easy to open and close. However, the price is often considerably higher, so decide what works for you.
Finally, I want to share 1 video by a really smart gentleman who uses his Food Saver and Mylar bags. Before, I mentioned that you need specialized bags to vacuum-pack and seal your food. These bags have "channels" in them that allow the vacuum to pull the air out of the bag. Mylar bags are smooth and traditionally you cannot vacuum-seal them. But, just watch and learn from this very smart "Rooster".

 Happy "sealing"!

9 comments:

Mylar said...

Wow... great post.

The Little Red Hen said...

Thanks!

debsdialogues said...

Definitely going to be ordering mylar bags now. Thank you so much for the how-to videos.

The Little Red Hen said...

I'm glad you will be trying the Mylar Bags. Just an FYI, I did not make the video's....but a very smart rooster did and I am grateful to him. I have used his techniques and found them to be very helpful.

Cherise Oleson said...

The videos appear to have been removed by the user. Any way you can share with us (text) what the smart technique is?

The Little Red Hen said...

Thank you for letting me know. I have placed a different video on the blog that shows a very clever idea for using your Vacuum Sealer with Mylar bags.

Simply, Gail said...

Thank you for this on using mylar bags. I have some, along with the oxy packs, but haven't tried them yet. I know there are so many variables but can you give us a general idea on the heat of an iron to seal? I dehydrate many fruits and vegetables and am considering packaging them for our families for Christmas for their emergency storage -- 72 hour packs, etc. and have been wondering about mylar. Sometimes my food sealer bags, which were tight when I sealed them, seem to loose their seal quickly. (my sealer is very old which may be the problem). One other question, does adding the oxy pack to the mylar bag withdraw the air to form a tight seal? Thank you for all your help. Also, sections of my blog cover some of the same areas you cover. May I occasionally refer to some of your posts (with credit of course)? My "home" is thecreativecheapskate.blogspot.com if you'd like to check it out before giving me approval. Keep up the good work.


Vinay Kumar said...

Hey,I'm glad to be trying the Mylar Bags......
Vacuum Bags

Thanks for Useful Infomation!!

Kym Baran said...

Awesome post! TY!

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