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Which Foods can you Store in Mylar Bags?

Most foods can be successfully stored in Mylar bags, but some are more suitable for long-term food storage than others. Foods that are high in fat, for example meat, nuts and legumes, will turn rancid in just 3-12 months, regardless of how they're stored. Dry, low fat foods, such as oats and grains, can be stored for many years in an anaerobic environment. Fruit and vegetables can be successfully stored for years when dehydrated. You can either buy dehydrated or freeze dried fruit and vegetables or make your own using a dehydrator.

Generally a good rule is that the more moisture and fat that is left inside the food you want to store the less time the food will store safely for. Any food items should therefore be as dehydrated as much as possible before you store them.

Temperature is another important factor that affects the shelf-life of stored food. In general, food lasts longest when stored at lower temperatures. Wheat, for example, stored at 5C, will last approximately 4 times as long as wheat stored at average room temperature (21C).

Wet foods, such as fresh vegetables, fruit and meat, are best stored in aluminium tins or cans, as they come from your supermarket or local shop. Tinned food is an excellent way to supplement your Mylar sealed dry foodstuffs for emergency storage. Tinned wet foods, such as vegetables, soups, fruit etc., generally have Best Before and Use By dates 1-2 years from their manufacture date, and often last a good deal longer without any deterioration in quality.

Below are some examples of commonly stored foods and how long they'll remain good to eat when stored in Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers.

Less than 1 year:

  • Nuts
  • Crisps or chips
  • Chocolate or candy
  • Brown rice

Between 1 and 3 years:

  • Dehydrated meat, e.g. biltong or beef jerky
  • Yeast
  • Dry biscuits
  • Crackers

Between 3 and 5 years:

  • Baby milk/formula
  • Cornmeal (maize flour)
  • Herbs (ground)
  • Powdered milk (full-fat)
  • Sprouting seeds

Between 5 and 10 years:

  • Alfalfa
  • Gluten
  • Granola
  • Herbs (whole)
  • Millet
  • Mung beans
  • Quinoa
  • Peppercorns (whole)
  • Peanut butter powder
  • Powdered milk (semi-skimmed)
  • Powdered egg
  • Rye
  • Unbleached flour
  • Wheat flakes

Between 10 and 20 years:

  • Black turtle beans
  • Black-eyed peas
  • Buckwheat
  • Butter/margarine powder
  • Chickpeas
  • Cocoa powder
  • Durham wheat
  • Flax
  • White flour
  • Wholewheat flour

Between 20 and 30 years:

  • Coffee (instant)
  • Freeze-fried fruit and vegetables
  • Hulled oats
  • Kidney beans
  • Lentils
  • Lima beans
  • Noodles
  • Pasta
  • Pink beans
  • Powdered milk (skimmed)
  • Rolled oats
  • Tea (bags or loose)
  • White rice

Indefinitely:

  • Baking soda/powder
  • Honey
  • Salt
  • Sugar

 

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