Here’s the most popular way to seal Mylar bags for 5 gallon buckets. Why? For long term food storage of dry food staple goods like grains, wheat, rice, etc..
Oh, and I’ll recommend what I believe are one of the best Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers to use for this.
Also, don’t worry about food grade buckets or not. Why? Because the food will be inside the Mylar bag and will not be exposed to the plastic lining of the bucket wall itself.
With that said, personally, I buy food grade 5 gallon buckets. Just in case I end up using any of them for dumping the product directly in. I also use Gamma Seal lids.
I also use Gamma Seal Lids which makes life much easier when it comes to opening and accessing food inside the buckets. These lids conveniently screw on and off and are also air tight.
Mylar Bags for 5 Gallon Buckets
First, I’m going to show you two options for bags. One costs more than the other. What’s the difference? One Mylar bag is 4 mils thick. The other is 7 mils thick. They will both get the job done.
However it is my personal preference to use the thicker bag, even though it costs more. Why? Because thicker Mylar has a lower oxygen transmission rate. If I’m going through all this effort and expenditure on storing these foods for the very long term, I feel better knowing the materials are better. But that’s just me.
Conveniently, each of these kits of 10 Mylar bags (for 5 gallon buckets) will include the right size oxygen absorbers too (2000 cc). Links to amzn…
>> 4.2 Mil Kit
(Oxygen Absorbers are not individually wrapped. However you can use a vacuum sealer to store the unused O2 absorbers in an ordinary household vacuum-seal machine bag. )
>> 7 Mil Kit
(The ten oxygen absorbers ARE individually packaged.)
How to seal a Mylar bag for long term food storage
If using a Gamma Seal Lid, first snap on the gamma ring to the top of the bucket.
Insert the Mylar bag and dump in the food
Insert the Mylar bag – one that’s fitted for a typical 5 to 7 gallon bucket. I’ve seen all three size buckets and the diameter of the buckets are the same. Only difference is the buckets are simply a bit taller for 6 or 7 gallon.
Dump the food stuff into the Mylar bag to keep for long term storage (e.g. long grain white rice, or wheat berries, etc..).
Be sure to leave about two inches of head space from the top of the bucket. This will ensure that excess Mylar bag material will fit beneath the lid and the lid will screw on all the way.
Drop in the 2000 cc Oxygen Absorber
Oxygen absorbers come new in a sealed air-tight bag. When the bag is opened, the oxygen absorbers should be used immediately or soon. You could store any extras in a glass mason jar with the top securely screwed tight – otherwise the O2 absorbers will rapidly become ‘spent’. Even better, use a typical kitchen vacuum seal machine and bag to store the extras.
Tip: If doing multiple buckets, get them all filled first. Don’t open the oxygen absorbers until you’re ready to seal the Mylar bags with your iron.
Use and Iron to Seal the Mylar Bags
Set the heat setting of the Iron to high (no steam). The Iron will not melt the Mylar, so don’t worry. If you are worried to ruin the Mrs. good Iron, then buy a cheap one and use it just for this…
Use a smooth flat board or any sturdy flat smooth object that won’t damage from heat. Place it underneath and across the open end of the Mylar bag.
Iron across the open seam of the Mylar, against the board underneath, while stopping just short of the end, leaving an opening to burp out the excess air.
Run the Iron across the seam a few times while pressing mildly.
Then burp out the remaining air that is inside the Mylar bag through the small open end that has not yet been sealed.
The oxygen absorber that you dropped into the bag just prior to ironing will absorb and remove the rest of the air after it’s sealed, so don’t worry about burping every last bit of air out – just get what you can.
Position the open Mylar corner at an angle compared to the original ironed seam, place the flat board underneath and Iron across a few times to make the final seal.
Fold the excess of the Mylar bag into the five gallon bucket. Wait 12 hours before checking back to be sure the oxygen absorber pulled the remaining air out of the bag. This will let you know that the Ironed seal is good to go.
The bag should have a vacuum sealed crumpled look. If it doesn’t, you may need to do it again (with a new O2 absorber).
I like to leave a nutrition note inside the bucket for whatever is inside.
You may want to label the outside of the five gallon bucket with the ingredient, as well as the year and month. I like to use white artist’s tape for this, which sticks well to things and is perfect for labeling (and cleanly removing).