Vacuum sealing with a FoodSaver, Seal-a-Meal or similar is a great way store food, hops, grains, spices and more. Vacuum bags work to seal out oxygen, prevent freezer burn and more.
What Are the Advantages Mylar Bags?
Generally speaking Mylar bags consist of three layers. Two Mylar layers that laminate a center aluminum foil layer. This combination provides strength, flexibility and durability along with an extremely low Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR). These bags also block potentially damaging light. Combine this with vacuum sealing and you’ve got an outstanding way to store food & more.
Search Amazon for “food grade mylar bags” – to see lots of current offerings
For homebrewer’s… Vacuum sealed Mylar bags are an excellent way to store hops and other oxygen sensitive materials. As a testament to this, many hop distributors distribute hops in Mylar bags. Sometimes those are vacuum sealed and sometimes they are nitrogen flushed.
Do Mylar Bags Work with FoodSaver Vacuum Sealers?
A FoodSaver (or similar) is a standard home suction type vacuum sealer that relies on special bags. We generally call them… vacuum sealer bags. These bags are embossed or textured to create channels on the inside of the bag. Those channels allow a FoodSaver to draw out air and create a vacuum all while the machine is clamped down. When this process is done a heat strip seals the bag locking in the vacuum state.
Mylar bags have smooth walls. Since they don’t have the required special channels they will not work with FoodSaver machines.
Sealing Mylar Bags Using Traditional FoodSaver-Type Machines
There are some techniques out there that allow you to seal Mylar bags using a standard FoodSaver-type sealer. All the techniques I’ve found make some use of channeled vacuum bags.
The techniques that I’ve run across are cumbersome. I’ve developed two techniques to easily vacuum seal Mylar bags using traditional vacuum sealer type bags. I originally wrote this in 2011. It’s possible someone had used these techniques prior to this post.
#1 The “Nested” Method for Sealing Mylar Bags
- Insert a filled Mylar bag into a standard vacuum sealer bag.
- Vacuum seal the standard vacuum sealer bag.
- The only entry path for oxygen is now the very top of the Mylar bag. That very small opening is protected by the outer bag.
- To access contents, trim a small amount off the outer bag and re-use as many times as possible.
#2 The “Snorkel” Method for Sealing Mylar Bags
- Cut a 1″ strip off the top of a vacuum bag.
- Fill the Mylar bag with hops or whatever you’re going to store.
- Insert the 1″ strip into the filled bag so that the strip sticks out of the Mylar bag.
- Trim the end of this strip so that about 1/2″ is sticking out of the Mylar bag.
- Insert the top of the Mylar bag into the vacuum sealer bag, ensuring that the 1″ strip of vacuum bag is sticking slightly out of the top of the Mylar bag. This acts as a channel.
- Vacuum and Seal.
- Because Mylar bags can be thicker that standard vacuum sealer bags, you may need to double seal the top with your vacuum sealer’s heat strip.
- Trim the excess vacuum bag strip.
- Trick Required: There is a trick here. Notice I didn’t say FoodSaver bag. I, initially, tried this with a FoodSaver bag and it wouldn’t seal correctly. FoodSaver bags are a bit thicker than most others on the market. Look for a thinner style bag to try with this technique.
One Mylar Option Designed for FoodSaver
SteelPak has introduced a metalized vacuum bag that features an embossed/channeled design that allows these bags to work with FoodSaver-type vacuum machines.
- 11”x14” SteelPak Textured/Embossed Mylar Vacuum Sealer Bags – One Gallon Size Hot Seal Commercial Grade Food Sealer Bags for Food Storage and Sous Vide (28, 50 or 500) (50)
- (50) 6”x10” SteelPak Textured/Embossed Mylar Aluminum Foil Vacuum Sealer Bags – Quart Size Hot Seal Commercial Grade Food Sealer Bags for Food Storage and Sous Vide (50, 6×10)
- Mylar Vacuum Seal 8″x16′ or 11″x16′ Rolls | SteelPak Textured/Embossed Aluminum Foil Vacuum/Heat Seal Rolls to Create Custom-Sized Vacuum Sealer Bags (1, 11″x16′)0
Note that multiple variations of these products may be available, as such a different version may appear at these links
Using a Chamber Vacuum Sealer to Seal Mylar Bags!
A chamber style vacuum sealer does not rely on channeled bags. It evacuates the entire chamber and seals the bag. When this is done, prior to pressure equalization the bag does not look like it’s vacuum sealed at all. When pressure equalizes the bag immediately collapses and whammo, it’s sealed.
What are the Advantages of Chamber Vacuum Sealers?
- Generally speaking, these remove more oxygen than FoodSaver machines.
- Vacuum sealing wet or moist items is much easier. Since the entire chamber is evacuated, these aren’t prone to drawing out liquid like FoodSaver machines.
- Bag cost. The special bags required by FoodSaver are more complex to produce and can lead to higher costs. Smooth sided vacuum bags can be had for less. If you’re re-using Mylar bags your bag cost essentially goes to 0.
- One of the biggest benefits, to me, is being able to seal Mylar bags. Mylar bags have smooth sides and do not work with FoodSaver and similar. The lack of channels foils the process.
Chamber Vacuum Sealer Cost?
From the original version of this post, published in 2011: “Mylar bags are not generally expensive, so that’s great! The problem is vacuum sealers that can seal Mylar bags ARE expensive. Sometimes very expensive. That’s not great!”
Since this how-to was published the landscape for chamber style machines has changed drastically. Back in 2011, they cost thousands of dollars. They were generally intended for commercial use and had price tags to match.
I’m happy to say some much more economical options have become available. Manufacturers have now started making quality units aimed at home users.
- Avid Armor Chamber Vacuum Sealer Model USV20 Ultra Series, Compact Size Perfect for Liquid-Rich Wet Foods Fresh Meats, Marinades, Soups, Sauces and More. Vacuum Packaging the Professional Way << the model evaluated in this review
- Avid Armor Chamber Vacuum Sealer Model USV32 Ultra Series, Perfect for Liquid-Rich Foods including Fresh Meats, Marinades, Soups, Sauces and More. Vacuum Packaging the Professional Way – features a larger chamber
- The Avid Armor Store on Amazon – vacuum sealers, bags and more
- Avid Armor Chamber Machine Vacuum Pouches Size 10″ x 13″
- Chamber Machine Vacuum Pouches 8″ x 12″
- Avid Armor Chamber Machine Vacuum Pouches Size 6×12″
- Related: Search Amazon for “food grade Mylar Bags”
Note that multiple variations of this product may be available, as such a different version may appear at these links
Oxygen Absorbers for Larger Bags
When it comes to larger Mylar bags, vacuum sealing is not a realistic option. In that case oxygen absorbers are a good choice. You remove as much air as possible, add oxygen absorbers and seal the bag with an iron or other appropriate sealer.
Search Amazon for “oxygen absorbers”
- Hands on Review: Avid Armor CHAMBER Vacuum Sealer – seals mylar bags!
- Hands on Review: FoodSaver V2244 Vacuum Sealer
- Shop Around, Search Amazon for “mylar bags for food storage”
- Shop Around, Search Amazon for “vacuum sealer bags”
- Related Categories: FoodSaver, Vacuum Sealing, Hops
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Make sure the components you use are compatible and rated for your intended application. Contact manufacturer with questions about suitability or a specific application. Always read and follow manufacturer directions. toppost:mylarbags tag:tpr rs:5