We are living in a world in which those who are quickest tend to do best. Life has become a race and everything else has to match our pace, this leaves us with little time to do things with as much detail and attention as we used to.
One of the casualties of our hurried lives is the ability to buy fresh food on a regular basis. Now we have to buy food in bulk and store it for later use. This allows us to save time and allocate it elsewhere but causes one major headache – how to store excess food.
When it comes to homemade food storage, nothing comes to mind that’s in any way better than Mylar bags and vacuum sealing to help extend shelf-life and preserve food taste and texture. They are an answer to our modern relationship with food.
Before the advent of vacuum sealing machines, people used to store their food in airtight bags that would keep the moisture at bay and protect the freshness of the food. But that method of food preservation didn’t turn out to be a durable option for those who want to store food for a long time.
Then came vacuum sealers with their powerful suction technology that removes every last bit of air from the storage bag keeping the food fresh and usable. But vacuum sealers don’t render traditional sealing bags completely useless. Mylar bags, the more traditional method for food storage, still have their place. However, in terms of cost, ease of use, time, quality and durability which is superior Mylar bags or vacuum sealing?
Mylar Bags vs Vacuum Sealing
Now that we have prepared the battleground for our discussion, let’s dive into the basics.
These handy machines suck the air out of plastic bags and seal them to the point that no air gets back into the bag, keeping the food fresh for long and extending its shelf life.
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Mylar bags are thin and flexible foil bags that are made up of impenetrable material to keep the food inside unaffected by environmental factors, particularly oxygen. They are like a malleable, portable tin that can adapt to the food size and quantity.
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What’s the difference?
As frequently asked as this question is, the answer lies in what you wish to accomplish from your food storage. The end goal determines which method of food preservation is more suitable.
The intended duration of your food storage plays a vital role in determining which storage medium works well for you. For example, if you wish to store pinto beans for a year or two, regular vacuum sealing won’t be your best option. The reason being that the vacuum seal tends to loosen over time and air seeps out.
If you are using plastic bags to vacuum seal your bag, chances are that the material of the bag will not stop the light from degrading the quality of the food, causing nutrient loss over time. The whole purpose of storing food will get lost and you’ll end up throwing the food in the bin.
Mylar bags, however, store dried food items longer than vacuum-sealed bags. They have the thickness required to keep light out, and also air from seeping in. Storing dried food items for a long time in a Mylar bag will form a thick brick that can be easily shifted around in cool, dark and dark places for years.
Meat stored in vacuum-sealed bags lasts for about a year in the freezer and when you take it out, it will be just as good as the day you stored it. On the other hand, Mylar bags are not freezer friendly for long term food storage. When you store meat in a Mylar bag for a long time, the bags become brittle over time and if you shift them around in the freezer, chances are you can end up poking a hole in them.
Another important factor that determines the efficacy of a storage method is the quantity of food you are trying to package. If you have food in large quantities and you want to portion it in a way that it becomes usable on a daily basis, that is, breaking them in usable quantities, then vacuum sealing the food is the best option for you.
Since vacuum sealers come with features that allow you to customize the size of the bag, you can easily make various usable portions of the food you need on a daily basis and then store it. If, however, you are stocking food for long term use which you won’t need on daily basis, storing it in large Mylar bags is the most ideal option.
Most vacuum sealers, other than industrial-grade heavy-duty ones, tend to become overheated when you try to seal too many bags with it in a row. So, in order to save your time as well the energy being consumed by the machine in the process of sealing the food one by one, you can simply buy a Mylar bag and place your food inside with oxygen absorbers, and you’re good to go for 15 years.
While Mylar Bags have proven to be more effective in sealing dried food items for decades, the process involving sealing your food in Mylar bags is a bit tedious. You have to find the right temperature for the bag and the right angle. If you seal your Mylar without completely flattening it, the seal will not turn out to be a reliable seal. Even a small wrinkle allows a pocket of air to enter the bag. All this takes an ample amount of your time, especially if the bags to be sealed are too many. Vacuum sealers, on the other hand, rely on automatic air suction and then immediate sealing that does not leave any room for erroneous sealing. And they do all this is in a few minutes or even less.
The purpose of this article is not to decide the outcome of Mylar Bags vs Vacuum Sealing, but to determine which method is appropriate to adopt in the given resources, or in light of your current need. Both vacuum sealing and Mylar bags essentially offer the same function, but each is well suited for different uses. So if you are clear on your end goal, the choice of the suitable sealing method shouldn’t be difficult. Just make sure you know exactly what you need to store before making a decision in this regard, so as to prevent any sort of food wastage or money loss.