If you are asking this question, you are probably preparing dry foods for long-term oxygen-free storage. You might be wondering why you need a food-grade bucket and a Mylar bag. Isn’t this food storage overkill.
You do not need buckets when storing dry food with Mylar bags. Properly heat-sealed Mylar with the proper oxygen absorption is an excellent barrier against food spoiling from oxygen, moisture, light, and bugs.
That said, consider using food-grade buckets with Mylar because it has some weak points.
Why Use Food Buckets With Mylar Bags?
Mylar is relatively susceptible to physical damage from punctures and rodents. If you decide to store it without a bucket, don’t go throwing it around like a football.
A food-grade bucket is a suit of armor for Mylar and overcomes its weak points. This is one of the reasons I choose to use it to store my bulk dry goods.
You don’t have to use buckets, though. It’s ok to use plastic bins or even a new plastic trash can with a lid though your family might stare at you sideways.
When you are getting ready to store the bulk staples like hard and soft grains, they could be sitting in your packaging for 20 or 30 years because you’ll be getting a 30 plus shelf-life on some of these foods.
If foods are sitting in the package for decades, you’ll want to error on the side of caution. In this case, you want to go overboard on the packaging.
Why Food-grade Plastic Buckets?
This is an ongoing discussion in the prepper community. Why can’t I use non-food-grade plastic buckets lined with Mylar? You can, but it isn’t the best choice, especially if SHTF and resources are hard to come by.
Food-grade buckets don’t have chemicals that poison your food. Non-food-grade plastic contains chemicals used in the manufacturing process that are harmful and will poison your food if plastic makes direct food contact in storage.
You can use non-food grade buckets and line them with Mylar bags. Technically, the food is safe from the chemicals in the bucket because the Mylar acts as a barrier. But you’re limiting the usefulness of the buckets by doing this.
Don’t Store High Moisture and High Fat Foods Oxygen-free
Since we’re talking about storing foods in Mylar and buckets I should mention that only dry foods are stored in an oxygen-free environment. I.E., storing white rice in a Mylar bag with a 2000cc oxygen absorber
Don’t store high moisture or high-fat foods in a Mylar bag sealed with an oxygen absorber or an oxygen-free storage container. Neither food type does well in oxygen-free storage.
High moisture foods stored in an oxygen-free container are prone to anaerobic bacteria called botulism. You can’t see it, smell it or taste it. It isn’t that common, but it is deadly.
High-fat foods stored oxygen-free spoil at the same rate due to enzyme breakdown. So you’re wasting your Mylar and oxygen absorbers.
Food-grade Buckets Build Redundancy
In an SHTF situation, you may not be able to get more buckets or containers if you need them, so you want all of your tools to have as many uses as possible.
Build redundancy into your survival system by using only food-grade buckets for long-term storage. These buckets can be repurposed for other food uses like fermenting, pickling, or food storage with direct plastic contact.
Why Can’t I store Foods In Just Plastic Buckets?
When you repackage survival foods for decades of storage life, you want to protect them from spoilage via the side effects of oxygen and bugs. This is usually done at home using Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. Buckets alone won’t get the job done.
Plastic buckets are only used to protect Mylar because the type of plastic they are made from is not true oxygen or vapor barrier and will not protect food long-term from oxidation by aerobic bacteria, enzymes, lipids, or damage from eggs, pupae, and adult bugs. Also, the seals on plastic bucket lids are known to fail.
Buckets indeed allow the slow transfer of air and oxygen inside and outside the bucket, so using oxygen absorbers to remove oxygen from a bucket is a short-term solution; oxygen will eventually get into your bucket. Remember, some of these foods could, theoretically, be sitting in their container for 30+ years.
Interesting Fact: An oxygen-free environment kills bugs, eggs, and pupae within 2 weeks. A true oxygen barrier like Mylar and enough cubic centimeters of oxygen absorption will get the oxygen levels of the container down to .01% or less.
Can I Store Food In Just Mylar Bags?
Mylar bags, especially if you use foil bags of 5 mils or more in thickness, are awesome storage containers when they are hot-sealed. You can use them without a protective outer shell but I wouldn’t
You can store food in just Mylar bags because they provide true oxygen and vapor barrier and provide excellent protection against light, moisture, and bugs if an oxygen absorber is used. If just using bags, they should be at least five Mils in thickness to protect food from light oxidation.
Ok, so you can store food in just Mylar bags, but the question is, do you want to? Mylar is prone to damage from puncture and can easily be chewed through by pests.
If you’re going for decades of food storage life, it’s a good idea to store Mylar inside a protective outer barrier such as a lidded food-grade bucket or a tough plastic bin.
Food Will Eventually Oxidize If Stored In Plastic Buckets
Plastic buckets don’t provide a true oxygen barrier. You take the chance of food stored long-term spoiling from oxidation and bug eggs hatching; both will spoil the food.
Oxygen spoils food by allowing aerobic bacteria to thrive, which leads to mold and yeast growth. It also allows enzymes and fats to break down food via chemical reactions that are slowed or stopped in an oxygen-free environment.
Use Buckets, Mylar Bags, And Oxygen Absorbers Together
Most preppers that are serious about long-term food storage use buckets, Mylar bags, and oxygen absorbers together because the trifecta is highly effective, inexpensive, and easy to use for storing bulk dry goods. Long-term food storage is too important to cut corners.
Professional food storage companies use mylar buckets and oxygen absorbers. If it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.
Food-grade Bucket And Lid
- The primary function is to protect Mylar from punctures, pinholes, abrasions, and physical damage from rodents
- Tough, easily stacked, and stored
- Multiple Uses in an SHTF situation can ferment and pickle or be used for short-term direct food contact storage.
- The primary function is to protect food from Oxygen infiltration, light and to kill bugs
- Superior oxygen, light, and moisture barrier
- Use 5 Mils or More in thickness to protect against light oxidation.
- Removes oxygen from a sealed Mylar bag to protect food against oxidation
- Creates an oxygen-free environment that kills bugs, eggs, and pupae within 2 weeks