Author Topic: Mylar questions  (Read 22171 times)

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Mylar questions
« on: May 22, 2013, 10:38:03 AM »
so i'm getting ready to put up some LTS of rice and beans and [possibly] pasta. i'm trying to work the numbers out as to what i'll need so i'm hoping i can get some help here.

i am going to go the mylar/5 gallon bucket route. i can get bulk mylar from ULINE which is where i order my shipping supplies for work.http://www.uline.com/BL_5552/Food-Bags

i am also planning on using smaller bags so that i can have a 'meal in a bucket' set up. i.e. 1-2 bags each of rice and beans in a bucket, some seasonings, plastic utensils, etc. the other advantage i see to this is i can more easily put the smaller bags in my freezer for a couple of days to kill of any 'buglets' (stole that from cedar).

i read on hear about getting a few gamma lids for buckets that i get into often, i will be doing that but locking the others up nice and tight until it's their turn to get into the rotation.

so here are some questions i have:

1 - is 2.2ml thickness acceptable for the mylar?

2 - does anyone know how many cups of rice/beans fit into 'x' size bag? if i can get close it will let me know how many bags i can expect to use. (goal is to not have too much inventory sitting around unused)

3 - a friend mentioned dropping a bead of silicon in the ring of the lids on the buckets to help with storage... sounds good, but is it necessary?

4 - lastly does anyone have a good source for bulk O2 absorbers? i haven't been able to find one yet.

Offline excaliber

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 07:01:04 PM »
I would say no on the 2.2 mylar, all my bags are 7mm thick and I would not want to go any thinner, as for how many cups in a bag I am unsure, but I fill the 1 gallon bags about 3/4 full and vacuum seal them with my vacuum sealer, any more than that and they try to poor out into the sealer. I can get 5 pounds of rice in one. or a 5 pound bag of flour.




Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 09:27:17 PM »
you sir, just busted my bubble with the thickness issue... guess i'll have to find a new source... anyone else have input on mylar thickness?

Offline Roknrandy

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 10:45:06 PM »
I agree with excaliber, the thicker the better. I use the 5 mil and thats the least I would use, 7 is better

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 11:03:32 PM »
so i don't have a vacuum sealer... i was thinking of going the dry ice route and then letting the O2 absorber suck up the rest and give me that tight seal... any thoughts on that?

Offline Roknrandy

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2013, 07:53:29 AM »
I dont bother using a vac sealer or dryice. I fill the bag and drop in O2 absorbers that are more than the bag needs. I've never had an issue. Look at some youtube videos about this.

Offline Prodigy

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2013, 08:20:41 AM »
Is humidity in the air a concern when using the mylar+02 method?  I'm about to start my first foray into this, and it's extremely humid in my basement now.  I have a dehumidifier but that only does so much...

Offline CopperKnight

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2013, 09:13:16 AM »
1 - is 2.2ml thickness acceptable for the mylar?

2 - does anyone know how many cups of rice/beans fit into 'x' size bag? if i can get close it will let me know how many bags i can expect to use. (goal is to not have too much inventory sitting around unused)

3 - a friend mentioned dropping a bead of silicon in the ring of the lids on the buckets to help with storage... sounds good, but is it necessary?

4 - lastly does anyone have a good source for bulk O2 absorbers? i haven't been able to find one yet.

Sorry for the late reply, but here's my 4 cents worth (inflation, you know):

1: 2.2 is pretty thin.  Go with the 4.5 or better.  It's decades you are going for with mylar, so safety first.  I have heard about rice puncturing mylar when the O2 works, so thicker is better.

2. I have gone with the advertized size of the bag and have plenty of headspace left (16 cups to the gallon, 5 gallons in a 5 gallon bag, etc).  I'm not exacting, but I do use a measured scoop. 

3. If you are sealing mylar bags in buckets, there's no reason to go to the extra effort of sealing the bucket to that extent.

4. Sorry, can't help you there.  I get my O2 and mylar from my local guy as needed.  I pay extra per piece, but don't pay shipping and don't have to wait, so I come out about even and support my local prepper store.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2013, 01:08:53 PM »
I agree, 5 mil-ish is about the thinnest, even that can be an issue with sharp objects like pasta.  I believe the LDS one gal pouches are 7 mil, they work well.  Very well for pasta, in fact.  I've dry canned tons of stuff with many different mylar's, products, and container sizes. 

Mylar 101:

Mylar is basically a sandwich of two (usually different) plastics with very thin aluminum foil in-between.  The aluminum layer is what barriers various small molecule gasses.   

In dry canning, we are using the Mylar serve to act as an oxygen barrier.  This isn't necessarily an all or nothing proposition, there is a measurable permeation for each thickness.  The thinner aluminum layer does not barrier as well, or as long.  Even more so with a vacuum.  Thinner plastic layers have reduced strength and puncture resistance.  Usually the strongest most abrasive resistant plastic is on the outside, with a softer food-grade liner inside.

Somehow, people (especially guys) want to see a vacuum pulled on the product.  It's actually better to have enough air in the package so that when the 21% oxygen is removed ther is NOT a vacuum.  Molecules (oxygen or anything) want in to offset a vacuum.  If there is neutral pressure, there is less tendency for molecules to cross through the barrier.  If packaging brittle product (like pasta) a little extra nitrogen (oxygen purged air) goes a long way.   Keep in mind that punctures can occur from either the outside or inside of a bag.  It is not uncommon to see bags with vacuums pulled on sharp objects to puncture from the inside out.  I had rice do this in a 3 mil bag. 

Think of a bag of potato chips.  Many are sold nitrogen packed in thin Mylar bags to lengthen the shelf life of the non-hydrogenated fats.  The Mylar is very thin because it's not fighting a vacuum, and doesn't need to barrier but for a few months.  BTW, think what pulling a vacuum would do to those chips!

~TG

Offline katunk

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2013, 02:18:56 PM »
I don't use anything thinner than 5 mils either..

Regards

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2013, 02:33:23 PM »
i ended up going with mylar that was 5.4 mills thick. it sealed well and no punctures.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2013, 12:51:23 AM »
i ended up going with mylar that was 5.4 mills thick. it sealed well and no punctures.

Awesome!


Keep in mind that when using oxygen absorbers, it may take a several days to absorb all the oxygen, as the molecules must migrate from within the product airspace to the absorbers.  So if a vacuum was pulled (or is pulling) the maximum stress may not have been achieved yet.  Most punctures from within do not occur immediately, but rather days or weeks down the road as vacuum increases and plastic stretches.

In other words, on your first few buckets, check back every now and then to see how they do, and note if the process needs to be tweaked or adjusted any in the future.

~TG

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #12 on: July 09, 2013, 07:20:33 AM »
Awesome!


Keep in mind that when using oxygen absorbers, it may take a several days to absorb all the oxygen, as the molecules must migrate from within the product airspace to the absorbers.  So if a vacuum was pulled (or is pulling) the maximum stress may not have been achieved yet.  Most punctures from within do not occur immediately, but rather days or weeks down the road as vacuum increases and plastic stretches.

In other words, on your first few buckets, check back every now and then to see how they do, and note if the process needs to be tweaked or adjusted any in the future.

~TG

duly noted. i'll check them out in a few days, they pulled a vacuum overnight so now i'm slightly concerned... not with the beans but with the rice. i had already determined that i only needed one O2 absorber instead of two and was going to do that next time. i guess i need a bucket opener since mine have that strip on them...

Offline Shrekfingers

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2013, 08:03:47 AM »
so i'm getting ready to put up some LTS of rice and beans and [possibly] pasta. i'm trying to work the numbers out as to what i'll need so i'm hoping i can get some help here.

i am going to go the mylar/5 gallon bucket route. i can get bulk mylar from ULINE which is where i order my shipping supplies for work.http://www.uline.com/BL_5552/Food-Bags

i am also planning on using smaller bags so that i can have a 'meal in a bucket' set up. i.e. 1-2 bags each of rice and beans in a bucket, some seasonings, plastic utensils, etc. the other advantage i see to this is i can more easily put the smaller bags in my freezer for a couple of days to kill of any 'buglets' (stole that from cedar).

i read on hear about getting a few gamma lids for buckets that i get into often, i will be doing that but locking the others up nice and tight until it's their turn to get into the rotation.

so here are some questions i have:

1 - is 2.2ml thickness acceptable for the mylar?

2 - does anyone know how many cups of rice/beans fit into 'x' size bag? if i can get close it will let me know how many bags i can expect to use. (goal is to not have too much inventory sitting around unused)

3 - a friend mentioned dropping a bead of silicon in the ring of the lids on the buckets to help with storage... sounds good, but is it necessary?

4 - lastly does anyone have a good source for bulk O2 absorbers? i haven't been able to find one yet.

I have been ordering both 5 mil bags and O2 absorbers from usaemergencysupply.com. Both have been excellent in sealing with an iron and has provided good vacuum after a couple days.
Have never really done a price comparison across the web so not sure if they have good prices or not, something I should be doing i guess.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #14 on: July 09, 2013, 08:28:58 AM »
I had good luck when I ordered from usaemergencysupply.com . I had a package of O2 absorbers that arrived showing some degradation (the color tab in the packet was slightly turned), so they sent me a complete new package, no questions asked.

Offline Ronin4hire

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #15 on: July 09, 2013, 09:18:37 AM »
Is humidity in the air a concern when using the mylar+02 method?  I'm about to start my first foray into this, and it's extremely humid in my basement now.  I have a dehumidifier but that only does so much...

Humidity is a definite concern as wet air trapped inside the bag can result in moisture condensing when temps drop-
Risk of a damp environment is the potential for mold- turning your stores to a sealed bag of ICK!
I do my LTS packaging right next to my dehumidifier and plan for dry stretches so humidity is as low as possible.
Setting it down to its lowest/most dry setting a day before I start, think its <40%?
Might hafta invest in a gage to measure the humidity in basement vs kitchen numerically just to be sure...

On the positive side, Im using a vac seal on the bags that will tend to draw out moist air in addition to O2 absorbers.
Ive read many who freeze items (beans, rice, grains) they are going to seal mostly to kill tiny bugs.
A bonus to doing this, in a frost free deep freeze, is the elimination of moisture?

Offline David in MN

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #16 on: July 09, 2013, 10:00:22 AM »
Thickness of the bag isn't nearly as important as the property of the material. In theory, a perfect barrier could be one molecule thick. Learn the material properties, what barrier it provides (oxygen, light, humidity, heat, flavor) and make decisions from there.

Most preppers way overdo the pouch thickness. Strike a balance on how thick of a material you need based on the expected shelf life of a food product. I used to build statistical models for a food company based on pouch thickness, heat and moisture of product in distribution, and expected shelf life. Most packaged foods have weak barriers because it just isn't needed and is incrementally expensive. One caveat: nothing f words stored foods like moisture. Anyone in a southern swamp really needs to pay close attention to moisture barrier. If I wanted to ruin the shelf life of a stored product, I would put it in high humidity and high heat.

Make sure the seals are done correctly, most pouch failures in industry are due to incorrect heat seals. Also make sure any food product isn't in the seal. Never vacuum seal, it encourages air to get in and can damage the quality of some foods. If possible, flush with an inert gas (nitrogen, carbon dioxide) which can be rented with a regulator. If it's a cold day when you pack plan for the gas in a pouch to expand. You don't want high pressure either.

Consider freezing foods like flour for 3 days before pouching. Freezing kills insect eggs (they're in there). Also strongly consider what really needs pouching. Dried goods with a 2 year shelf life immediately extend when kept in a cool, dark, dry place. In my opinion, things like beans, pasta, rice, and flour don't need any special packaging if rotated and properly stored. If I do store them longer, I use mason jars and flush with my homebrewing CO2. If I lived in a more moist environment, I would be more robust but it's pretty mild here.

I might get some hate for this, I hope not. Again: cool, dark, dry rule the shelf life world. The next step is minimizing oxygen. The easy way to do this is to put a can of dessicant into a pantry with tight fitting doors. No mylar in my house. I've seen enough data to know most preppers are using an engineering hammer to drive in a finish nail when it comes to food storage. But if it makes you feel good, go for it. If you're in a moist area, it's probably not a bad idea. My 2 cents.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #17 on: July 09, 2013, 12:56:44 PM »
good info david, and i agree with the seal issue... i don't think i need to worry about that, i borrowed the sealer from work:



it's good info to know and i've heard others say they don't use mylar. my friend has a BOL and i think most of my mylar stuff will eventually go there since i won't be able to rotate as much with that stuff. plus it makes me feel good so i will probably do it anyways. maybe i'll give it a shot without the mylar one day and see how that works.

here's a question about the insect eggs and freezing. if you use O2 absorbers and there is no oxygen in the bag wouldn't that kill off all life as well since there is nothing to breath?

Offline David in MN

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #18 on: July 09, 2013, 01:24:48 PM »
Should be OK. I don't use O2 absorbers. I just flush with inert gas. I always freeze raw ingredients to prevent cross contamination of insects. I'm OK with being lazy packaging most dried goods but a real disaster would be having a swarm of bugs take the pantry. I have been to grain mills where insects take over and it's terrible. Most modern mills have a list of steps to prevent issues, but anything not heat treated should be considered as a potential risk.

I won't divulge industry secrets I promised not to but the reason all the brownie mix and cake mix says not to eat the raw batter isn't because raw eggs are dangerous. The raw flour has a higher potential of food borne pathogens. Never eat any processed grain raw. I used to chew raw brewing grain to get a feel for the flavor but have stopped. There is no cleaning step between the field, tractor, silo, trucks, mills, etc. and you. Freezing helps with the critters but cooking is the big safety step. Sprouting is generally safe, however  :). My favorite.

Offline Shrekfingers

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2013, 01:48:52 PM »
Do you have to let the flour warm up before sealing if frozen? I keep my flour in the freezer and bagged up 15 lbs in mylar, when I did, moisture condensates on the outside and I assume would on the inside. I was concerned the moisture would be trapped inside and cause me future problems?

Offline kckndrgn

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #20 on: July 09, 2013, 02:37:57 PM »
Don't remember what thickness my mylar is, I had it for years, but never had a problem with it.

Gamma Lids - definitely get. You may be able to open one of the regular lids but what about your significant other, or others in your party.  I use Gamma Lids on ALL my buckets, I just feel they are worth it.  I wouldn't worry about putting an extra layer of silicon for a seal the bucket will seal just fine (as long as the lids seal is in place) and you are putting into mylar anyway.

For O2 warmers - I've switched to using hand warmers.  By them on clearance during the winter (what little winter W TN has).  They come a variety of sizes so take your pick.

When I freeze something that is going into mylar, I'll freeze it in the original packaging, then allow the product to warm to room temp, transfer to mylar add O2 absorber and seal.

Offline David in MN

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #21 on: July 09, 2013, 03:00:47 PM »
I do not keep flour in the freezer long term. It doesn't need it. I freeze flour for 3 days and then keep it in (gasp) a paper bag in the pantry. Keep up the ideas, I want to hear them!

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #22 on: July 09, 2013, 03:35:36 PM »
i haven't started putting flour into LTS yet and the flour we use we put in a freezer first. we usually have a few bags on hand as part of the 'deep' pantry we try to keep. makes me feel better that we've been doing that step without realizing it.

we also store all of our 'potentially risky' (bug carrying) stuff in their own plastic containers in the pantry. we had a weevil outbreak once that took most of our baking stuff and it grossed my wife out. never again! [hopefully]

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #23 on: July 09, 2013, 06:05:35 PM »
I drop desiccants in everything dry canned.  Texas humidity can be an issue.  Most of the food I have bucketed in the last two years has been purged with CO2 gas.  While a 20lb tank and regulator will cost about $100, it will supply enough canning gas to last a lifetime.

While most industrial packaging uses nitrogen, I like CO2 because it's heavier than air.  That way I know it is displacing air from the bottom up, and it remains in the bucket later after opening (as long as you are careful when scooping product out of the bucket).

~TG

Offline David in MN

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #24 on: July 10, 2013, 05:58:46 AM »
I drop desiccants in everything dry canned.  Texas humidity can be an issue.  Most of the food I have bucketed in the last two years has been purged with CO2 gas.  While a 20lb tank and regulator will cost about $100, it will supply enough canning gas to last a lifetime.

While most industrial packaging uses nitrogen, I like CO2 because it's heavier than air.  That way I know it is displacing air from the bottom up, and it remains in the bucket later after opening (as long as you are careful when scooping product out of the bucket).

~TG

100% agree about buying a can of  CO2. Especially if you brew beer or want a commercial keg setup.

CO2 is heavier than air? It's in air. Once you lift the lid, any flush is gone. No inert gas I know of is appreciably heavier than normal air on a molecular level to stay in an open topped container. In fact, any gas that would do that should be renamed a liquid. Gases by definition fill any container, so if the lid's off they're filling the room. I'm not saying a gas flush is a bad idea but don't give it superpowers. As far as flushing from the bottom up, you would be better off knowing whether you want a long laminar flow or a quick turbulent burst. I (guess) think a longer laminar flow would be better for buckets.

Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #25 on: July 11, 2013, 07:21:20 PM »
100% agree about buying a can of  CO2. Especially if you brew beer or want a commercial keg setup.

CO2 is heavier than air? It's in air. Once you lift the lid, any flush is gone. No inert gas I know of is appreciably heavier than normal air on a molecular level to stay in an open topped container. In fact, any gas that would do that should be renamed a liquid. Gases by definition fill any container, so if the lid's off they're filling the room. I'm not saying a gas flush is a bad idea but don't give it superpowers. As far as flushing from the bottom up, you would be better off knowing whether you want a long laminar flow or a quick turbulent burst. I (guess) think a longer laminar flow would be better for buckets.

Yep. CO2 is 1.67 times heavier than air.  Why does it not "fall out" of the atmosphere?  Because it is a "trace gas" and the particles are so few and far between that in layman's terms, just blow around in the breeze.  CO2 is something like .039% of air by volume.

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_carbon_dioxide_heavier_than_air

It's good stuff for most canning uses.  I put up Biltong made with brown sugar (a great mold medium)  over 18 months ago in a quart Ball jar.  Normally this would begin to mold within a few weeks at room temperature, but with the CO2 added, it's still doing well after 18 months.

The tank has purged well over a hundred buckets so far, plus doing mig welding duty for several hours while a friend welded up my chicken tractor frame.

~TG

Offline Prodigy

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #26 on: July 12, 2013, 08:44:11 AM »
Humidity is a definite concern as wet air trapped inside the bag can result in moisture condensing when temps drop-
Risk of a damp environment is the potential for mold- turning your stores to a sealed bag of ICK!
I do my LTS packaging right next to my dehumidifier and plan for dry stretches so humidity is as low as possible.
Setting it down to its lowest/most dry setting a day before I start, think its <40%?
Might hafta invest in a gage to measure the humidity in basement vs kitchen numerically just to be sure...

On the positive side, Im using a vac seal on the bags that will tend to draw out moist air in addition to O2 absorbers.
Ive read many who freeze items (beans, rice, grains) they are going to seal mostly to kill tiny bugs.
A bonus to doing this, in a frost free deep freeze, is the elimination of moisture?

Thanks to you and everyone else for the information - very helpful!

Offline Prodigy

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #27 on: July 16, 2013, 08:57:25 AM »
How long does a sealed mylar bag with an 02 absorber typically take to start that 'sucking in' look?  I checked on mine a day later and they didn't look any different, and I feel like there may not have been a good seal...

Offline BlueHound

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #28 on: July 16, 2013, 09:57:01 AM »
How long does a sealed mylar bag with an 02 absorber typically take to start that 'sucking in' look?  I checked on mine a day later and they didn't look any different, and I feel like there may not have been a good seal...

Ours looked like they were vacuum-sealed after one night.  If you reseal them soon, the O2 absorbers might have enough sucking power still in them.  Another possibility is that you got a bad batch of O2 absorbers.

Offline theBINKYhunter

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Re: Mylar questions
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2013, 12:38:23 PM »
yep, mine showed evidence of a good seal the next morning.