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Is it possible safely can food and meals in mylar bags for long term storage?

 
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I've been wanting to have my own personal meal packages, things I've made for myself to my liking for long term use. The best comparison would be the entre items in MRE's. I would like to make up a large batch of something I like, then portion them out into containers and can them for long term storage. Jars seem smart, but their weight and potential for breakage are a concern for me. I've seen some people use mylar bags for long term food storage. I wonder if it's possible to process food in mylar the same way as jarred food. If anyone has had any experience with it and knows how to do it properly I'd love to hear about it.
 
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Welcome to permies!

You could dehydrate those meals to store in Mylar.  Then when you are ready to eat them you would add boiling water.

I have not eaten a MRE though I believe the meal part is dehydrated.
 
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It is commonly recommended for the storage of dehydrated foods.  That's where you get the foods that keep for decades.

Looking at the temperature mylar can handle, it wouldn't melt at the temperature used in water bath canning.  If I were experimenting,  I would deal my food in mylar and then boil the whole package for the times recommended in water bath canning.  I would want to examine this under a microscope before eating,  though.

I still think you might exceed mylar's melting point in pressure canning.  Something else to consider is that mylar is susceptible to puncture and easily rips. I'm not tempted to actually run an experiment because I visualize huge, sticky messes.  
 
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Pressure canning and mylar are two totally different methods.

Pressure canning sterilizes everything inside the jar and preserves the food usually with a high amount of water.  Mylar is used for DRY foods, and an oxygen absorber is added to remove moxt of the oxygen and therefore prevent oxidation.

Only certain foods store well long term in mylar, those are foods that have a low moisture content AND a low fat content. Fat goes rancid regardless of how you preserve it so the shelf life is generally a year or less.

Big difference is that mixing ingredients together for dry storage in mylar is usually not recommended because the it will spoil faster. Usually people only store single ingredient ultra low fat items like pasta, rice,  grains, crackers, dehydrated veggies etc... Most store the individual ingredients in mylar and then mix them together when they use them. If you re just trying to save time by preparing meals ahead then freezing is likely your best bet. Dehydrating takes a long time and it does have its lilmitations.

There are numerous recipes online for dehydrating things like chili, pasta, and other dishes for backpacking but they always say keep frozen until the trip. They don't store the dehydrated mixed meals at room temp for any length of time.

The packaged meals you can buy online (like Mountain House) are actually freeze dried, not dehydrated.
 
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What they said.

Another consideration is that mylar bags are often sealed under vacuum. Wet foods won't allow that vacuum.

Dehydrating does take time but the food stays edible for a very long time. Just two days ago I used some dehydrated onions & broccoli that were over 5 years old. No problem.
 
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Anne Miller wrote:Welcome to permies!

You could dehydrate those meals to store in Mylar.  Then when you are ready to eat them you would add boiling water.

I have not eaten a MRE though I believe the meal part is dehydrated.



I don't think regular MREs are dehydrated, they are just canned or packed (professionally) in mylar for long term storage. They are in fact "ready to eat" cold or hot though the military may package freeze dried meals for long missions. Dunno.

Guys opening and eating foreign or even ancient MREs is a "thing" on youtube. The old ones are interesting, they may not all be edible but some like the German WWII rations had chocolate, cigarettes, coffee and other things that are still good.
 
Anne Miller
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So what the OP would want to do is to figure out "retort packaging".  Where would he buy the special flexible retort pouches?
 
Mike Barkley
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MRE is an acronym for Meals Ready to Eat. So by definition they are edible as is. If memory serves they are guaranteed for 10 years storage if kept below 85 degrees F.

I've eaten C rations (predecessor to MRE's) that were over 20 years old. Tasted almost like new. Mostly.  

 
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I think MREs have something added as they all seem to have a similar taste. Kind of tin like. I imagine they're packed in a nitrogen atmosphere as well. That's actually something that can be purchased. It would require a lot of nitrogen which is cheap as far as bottled gases go but still, the bottle, regulator and the sealing chamber with heat strip etc would cost quite a bit. It would be cheaper to just buy the MREs I think.

 
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