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Methods for Storing Preserved Food

When storing food long term, it is critical to not allow bacteria to destroy your food. Bacteria need moisture, oxygen, light, and warmth to grow. Freeze drying food is great at eliminating moisture, but it still needs to be stored properly to ensure long-term usage. 

Mylar bags are great at not allowing in light or oxygen. Once you put your freeze-dried food into a Mylar bag, it is important to try to eliminate as much of the oxygen that is in the bag. You should then include an oxygen absorber into the Mylar bag right before sealing the bag. The oxygen absorber will eliminate any remaining oxygen, resulting in a vacuum-sealed bag of food void of all oxygen. Now that the food is dry, airtight, and out of light, the final issue to avoid is warmth. Be sure to store the food in an area that avoids extreme temperatures and the food can last up to 25 years. The one problem with Mylar bags is they do not do well in freezing conditions. 

Another method of storing food is vacuum sealing. There are several differences between using Mylar bags and vacuum sealing. Vacuum-sealed bags are made from a clear material. This allows light to reach through and degrade the food and cause some nutrients to be destroyed. It is also common for oxygen to slowly seep through and into the bag. For this reason, vacuum bags are not great for storing dried food. What vacuum bags are great for is freezing food. Meat that has been vacuum sealed will last in a freezer a lot longer than meat frozen in non-vacuumed bags. 

While both Mylar bags and vacuum bags are a great way to store food for long term, some methods are better than others for certain types of food. Freeze-dried food works best in Mylar bags (including an oxygen absorber) and frozen food works best in vacuum sealed bags. Rodents and insects are still able to chew through Mylar, so for long-term storage it is best to store sealed Mylar bags in buckets or plastic bins. It is also recommended to not store freeze-dried food (regardless of packaging) in extreme heat. Food should be stored at below 85 degrees (preferably much lower).