Long Term Food Storage (How I Mylar)

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    Thermal Bag Sealer – At Star & Bullock Hardware $239

    If you have not put away a decent amount of food, it’s time.

    The biggest problem I have seen out there is that people feel like if they can’t accommodate for every possible scenario, they are unwilling to just do what they can do. But the reality is that nobody can accommodate for every scenario. You could have it all figured out. Everything put away in neat little rows, and every resource you could need in place, and a lithium battery in your flashlight blows up and burns it all down.

    Famine is what kills most people during war time, far more than bullets and bombs. It isn’t lack of water. The water and electric usually stay on most of the time. And it isn’t that there isn’t any food. America is a bread basket. We can more than grow enough food for everyone to stay as fat at they are today, which is pretty fat.

    Now part of this master plan we have to endure is apparently a shortage of fertilizer, worldwide, so who knows even about that, but food being produced it almost never the problem. The problem is usually in getting the food from where it is to where it needs to be. During the Great Depression, food rotted in the fields because there was no money to pay people to harvest it, or to transport it to market. And the people had no money to buy it anyway.

    Grains Should Be Your Focus

    If you look back through history at the great famines, those who chronicle the events usually list what the per capita grain allotment was per person. And you can learn a lesson from that. You can live pretty much on grains alone. In fact, turning grains into meat, milk or eggs is a waste, because are animals don’t convert all of the calories they eat into another form of food.

    Which brings me to a frequent drum I beat. You should completely ignore the “preppers” who suggest you stock a “deep pantry” to prepare for effectively the end of everything we know. It is simply stupid.

    We eat good food, privileged food. This is about when that privilege ends. It’s not about a snowstorm or a hurricane or getting what you like before the price goes up. This is what is called reverting to the mean. The last 75 years have swung the pendulum of the west so far to the privileged side, that to reach the median throughout history, a lot of us are going to have to starve to death.

    So if you have convinced yourself that you are allergic to wheat gluten, but you are not a true Celiac, get over it. Walmart flour is still almost 5,000 calories per dollar, even though wheat prices have doubled in the last two months.

    As I have explained many times in the pages of Prepping 101 at GunsAmerica Digest, flour, dry beans, dry rice, pasta, and oil should be your main focus. Cornmeal is something I rarely discuss, but it certainly is in the same category if you will eat it. A little more expensive are instant mashed potatoes, dry milk powder, dry yeast, and oatmeal, all of which will keep for a long long time with no special storage requirements. And if you really want to put some money into this, Honeyville has 50lb bags of dried eggs, and right on Amazon you’ll find whole milk powder, and many dried cheeses, even cream cheese.

    Stay away from the “prepper food.” It is just not cost effective, and if often comes in the same mylar type bags that I am suggesting here. I saw a small plastic bucket of food at Home Depot for $150 recently. If you multiply 1,500 calories a day times 365 days in a year, then divide by 4,600, which is how many calories per dollar Walmart flour equals, you come up with $119 for a year of food. You can make bread every day, and a year later, you will be alive and well.

    Mylar Bags for Long Term Storage

    So the first thing you need to ask yourself is, am I putting off buying food because I don’t think I can store it properly? If the answer is yes, forget all of that, and go shopping now. We are not talking about a 30 year timeline here, or most likely even a timeline of longer than five years. If you are storing your food inside a climate controlled home that is free of a bug problem, just buy it and stack it in the closet.

    The one exception to that is flour and pasta. (Well that’s two lol.) You can get one bag of flour, or one box of pasta, that has flour bug eggs in it when you buy it, and it seems fine. But you come back a month later and all of your stuff is full of flour bugs. You can prevent this without any special storage by freezing your flour and pasta briefly when you first get it. This kills the eggs. Storing them in one of these oxygen free environments will also do kill them.

    When I first started putting away food in 2013, I bought a pallet of plastic buckets, six gallons each. They are great, but where I paid maybe $6 each for them back then, right now you won’t find them for less than $15, and likely more. But also, I’m not sure that buckets are superior to Mylar bags, which I suggest to everyone now. The LDS website sells oxygen absorbers, and they say on the sales page that those do not work in buckets. Those guys pretty much invented prepping, so I doubt they are wrong.

    The mylar bags I suggest are from Uline. I am actually working on sourcing some less expensive bags, but for now these are under $3 each with shipping for the ziplock reclosable ones, and under $2 each for the ones without the ziplock. You do have to buy 100 though. The size is 20″ x 29″, or 30″ on the one without the ziplock.

    They are very thick and durable, and the only issue I have had with them breaking is when I tried to put too many boxes of pasta in the bag, retaining the boxes. I don’t always do that. But I have in the past, and have had a corner of the box cut the mylar.

    How much food fits in one bag?

    50 lbs. bags of flour, rice, beans, sugar, peas, etc.
    2 x 25 lb. bags of the same stuff, put in sideways
    3 x 20 lb. bags of rice and beans from Walmart
    40 lbs. of elbow, rotini, penne, etc., no box
    50ish lbs. of spagetti, linquine, etc., no box
    9 5lb bags of flour
    4 10 lb. bags of flour
    30 or so lbs. of oatmeal, no box

    Do I Need a Bag Sealer?

    If you plan to get the ziplock bags, I would not say that a bag sealer is absolutely required. The ziplock is pretty much airtight, and though their may be some long term leakage, I don’t think we are dealing with that big of a timeline here. It for sure will shut off the air to prevent insect eggs from hatching, and it will protect you from other bug infestations. Just be gentle and careful handling them, because they will open if you apply any pressure at all to the ziplock opening.

    If you are getting the ones without the ziplock, you for sure need some kind of bag sealer.

    If you want something you can sling on your shoulder without it breaking open, for sure get a bag sealer. I have had a whole bag of oatmeal open on me that I forgot to seal, and it’s not fun.

    The most common type of sealer is called an impulse sealer, and you can find them on Amazon and Ebay in good supply generally. For years I have suggested a 500mm sealer for the Uline bags, but I don’t see it out there available right now. It looks like a large paper cutter, as you can see in the video. It activates when you close it, and you I always use the maximum setting for the seal time. It does not cut the thick bags from Uline.

    If there is a negative to this big sealer, it is that you need three hands to seal a big bag, especially the ones without the ziplock. The ziplock bags hold the edge straight for you, because you have already sealed the ziplock, and for those, the impulse sealer is great, though it is big and floppy and heavy. If you have someone to help you this would be ideal. And beware using that thing when it is wet out. My audio was dropping out in the video so I had to cut out a section where i explained that I spend an afternoon in a light mist getting zapped every time I closed the thing.

    When those bags are full, they are somewhat floppy, especially with 9 bags of flour, which I do not suggest you remove from the paper bags. Holding that edge straight (with no ziplock), and keeping the bag standing up, while closing the jaws of this giant thing, and keeping the edge straight and where you need it , is something of a task alone.

    My new best friend, however, is a new product that I have not seen until this past year or so. It is like a big heater crimper, almost like a hair crimper, but made for sealing bags. And it is 400mm long. So it is perfect for all kinds of bag sealing, including retort pouches, which I am hoping to share with you soon. I set it to about 120 degrees Celsius, and it really melts the plastic together nicely.

    You can find this sealer around, and I had Star & Bullock bring some in from China before I was willing to suggest this product, because the availability is sketchy, and many of the people selling them are drop shipping them individually from China.

    Do I Need Oxygen Absorbers?

    I can’t harp on this enough, that you should not put off buying food because you can’t store it “properly,” and the biggest paper tiger I think of that whole mess is oxygen absorbers. Yes, it is great to have them. And they are generally available on Amazon and Ebay, but beware. A lot of people who sell them acquire them in bulk from overseas, then vacuum pack them with a home vacuum pack machine to sell them in smaller quantities. Usually they will include a little tabby that changes color when exposed to oxygen, and they do this to “guarantee freshness,” that the absorbers were not left out of protection before shipping them to you. I don’t trust anyone anymore, so good luck with that.

    I used to pack everything with absorbers, but I don’t really do that anymore. As a companion to this article I am going to show you how to make your own oxygen absorbers that cost next to nothing and are what I would call much more reliable and verifiable, because you made them yourself.

    What Are You Waiting For?

    Coming to terms with real food shortages is new for many of you who have recently entered the prepping arena. Hey maybe it won’t actually happen, but at this point, it would be unlikely. A giant mess of converging factors are pointing to the absolute fact that western civilization, and especially these formerly United States of America, is undergoing an engineered takedown. 

    You grew up, as did I, with plenty.  An entire life of plenty has been a virtual guarantee for nearly Americans for generations.  One of the biggest problems among the “poor” is obesity.  Those on fixed incomes may feel like they have it tough, but we’ve never seen tough, and we don’t know anyone who has ever seen tough.  You can never work a day in your life and never have one day of truly going hungry. 

    When you look outside of the western world, and when you look throughout history even here, that guarantee just isn’t there.  If you don’t have something useful to contribute, you don’t eat. And sadly, many Americans contribute very little to the greater good, or to the survival and comfort of others. Most of us are either selling things that other people made to each other, or staring at a screen all day producing absolutely nothing. 

    All parties end. Every game of musical chairs eventually involves a stop to the music, and that is where we are right now. There is going to be a huge adjustment coming to our society, and not everyone is going to make it.  The shots are definitely starting to thin out the herd. Those who took them and didn’t immediately end up dead or disabled are starting to realize they no longer have an immune system. But that doesn’t seem to be enough for the insane people running this show. 

    If you have not already put away a decent amount of food, and by decent amount I mean a year, I’m not sure what you are waiting for at this point.

    Paul Helinski

    Leave a Comment

    • Tom Johnson March 28, 2022, 7:19 am Reply

      Just a heads up on the dry beans. They also can have bugs or bug larva that can ruin the storage. Recommend freezing like the flour. Nutritionist say freezing for 72 hours for best kill.

    • Orley VanEngelenhoven March 28, 2022, 7:08 pm Reply

      Wondered were you went. Was beginning to think the worst. Glad to see you back.

    • Dan Troiano March 29, 2022, 9:35 pm Reply

      Hi Paul, Great stuff!! Out there for all to learn how to survive. I will research a bit more on the subject of ( how long does this food last.) I’m an x-marine, and I have been found of c-rations. When I watched and read your video, I was surprised to see the do it yourself system is so much cheaper. Do the Mylar bags actually make the food last longer? I’m hung up on the fact the the older c-rats lasted 25-30 years or there about. So I’m hoping for a long term save if I do your system. Also what about a decent supply of MRE’S. Just for something different. Thank you sir! I appreciate your help Dan

      • Paul Helinski March 30, 2022, 4:55 pm Reply

        MREs are canned, so they last forever. I am working on a project for do it yourself MREs using the same retort bags that they use. It is not easy but I’m just about there. I am letting the food I canned sit for a couple months before covering it in depth.

    • StevoMT April 1, 2022, 9:44 am Reply

      Mylar bags can also be sealed quickly and easily with a common clothes iron.
      I place the bag inside a 5 gallon bucket. Fill with the food you are storing, Leave a few inches of the bag unfilled. Lay a 2X4 board across the top of the bucket as your “ironing board”. Place a few oxygen absorbers in bag and iron the opening to seal the bag. If you are using the bucket as storage, fold the bag into the bucket and tap the lid in place. The next day observe to see the bucket lid has sucked down due to oxygen absorption. If you did not use the bucket the bag will appear vacuum sealed due to oxygen absorption.

    • interventor April 3, 2022, 7:22 pm Reply

      Dried staples such as beans, flour and rice can be stored in such a manner. I hold with canned goods for most of my long term storage. As, they can last for 20 years or more. Tomato based products should be bought in glass containers as the acidic tomatoes aren’t reliable in tin cans for long term storage. Add, that all canned good are precooked and require no water.

      • Paul Helinski April 4, 2022, 6:35 am Reply

        Incorrect on your first and second points. Dried staples last decades, and are far more practical than can goods for storage of a lot of calories. With canned goods you are storing the water and the calories, not just the calories, so not only do you pay for a lot less calories per dollar, you are taking up your storage space for nothing. And even on your third point, coated steel cans are fine with tomatoes. But most people home can in ball jar regardless.

        • jdfisher April 11, 2022, 4:16 pm Reply

          dehydration for meats, eggs, fruits , vegetables, etc. DEHYDRATION reduces the nutritional value to about 50% of fresh where as with Freeze Drying nutritional value is reduced just a few %. Caning (cooking) also reduces total nutritional value and usually has limited storage time as does dehydrated items. Whole beans, grains etc. store far longer than milled items (ie. flour) but whole grains do require some sort of milling capability or need to be cooked whole. This is a GREAT SITE so please do NOT think I am dissing anyone with these comments, I am just trying to give some additional information. Much of the video here was about getting edible “calories” stored and this for sure is important. Remember however, pure calories can keep you alive for a period of time but more complete nutrition is necessary for any expended period of time to remain in a good/decent state of health.

          • Paul Helinski April 11, 2022, 4:43 pm Reply

            Well so far you are full of shit, except for possibly the unmilled grains lasting longer than milled, but if you still think you need this stuff in 20 years good luck anyway. Everything else you say is absolutely complete bullshit and totally untrue. Dry pack grains keep for decades at minimum, and canned food keeps literally forever.

    • Amy Lapp April 17, 2022, 7:25 am Reply

      Thank you! Thank you for going on to the Stew Peters show and thank you for this website! I have done some prepping, but am going to follow your directions for more! Appreciate you sharing your wealth of knowledge! God Bless you and your family, Paul!

    • Ric Lierman(TelicoRic) July 12, 2022, 12:36 pm Reply

      Hey Paul,
      I use a women’s hair straightener, set at 350 deg, to seal my Mylar bags. It’s light weight, cheap, and works easily with any size bag. Works great! Saw it once in the internet but I forget where.