Friday, August 10, 2012

Food Storage Friday #2: Chef Tess and Mylar Bag Meals


I've had a lot of requests for the detailed tutorial on how to make homemade mylar bagged meals for camping, convenience meals, and emergency preparedness. Below you will find an in depth tutorial on packaging meals inside mylar bags. This is a perfect post to use with the 52 Method meals that I've done in the past and that I'm currently writing the book on as well! These meals are great for :

  • new mom baby shower gifts
  • foreign missionary care packages
  • home-cooked meals from home for military troops
  • anyone living in tornado or earthquake zones
  • meals-from-home for college students

They are designed for those that want to be able to control the ingredients in their food and be prepared for anything! Hopefully I can offer some easy techniques that will help you make some fun memories! We've had a total blast making these with the kiddos and planning the upcoming camping expeditions. Menu choices included things like these (though you can see a ton more in my 52 method recipe section):

Carrot Cake Breakfast Pudding with coconut cream sauce.




Especially popular is the Country Breakfast skillet meal with real scrambled eggs, sausage, bell peppers and real cheese. Yes. It is shelf stable 5-7 years. Try not to pass out.



Ginger-Apple Raspberry Snap Crisp with chocolate sauce... Just pack it with the crisp mix separate from 4 cups of FD fruit in the bags.



Thai Chicken in Spicy Peanut sauce over rice


Savory Egg Omelets... (I haven't posted the recipe for these yet!)


Butterscotch Buckwheat Pancakes with sourcream butter-toffee syrup



Saucy Italian Baked Ziti with Mozorella Cheese



Polynesian Sweet-n-Sour Chicken baked beans



Yankee Pot-Roast Gravy with Garlic Mashed Potatoes




Packaging Process for Mylar Bags:


 


Sure enough, I took pictures of how to do it so that you'd benefit from this adventure as well. I know you love me. Try not to cry.

1. First you will need some mylar bags. The outside is aluminum and the inside is lined with a food-grade plastic. Ironically when it is ironed with heat on the outside of the bag, the plastic fuses together causing a magnificent seal! I use and recommend the 5.0 mil FOOD GRADE bags. They come in various sizes, but so far my favorite has been the 5 gallon size. They are available at all the Honeyville Farms retail locations. Find your local store.



I've been able to cut it down to any size I want and been able to really maximize the cost effectiveness of the bags.



2. You will need oxygen absorber pouches. I use them in the 52 method jars. There are many different sized oxygen absorbers, depending on the amount of food that you will have in your mylar bags.



I'm not the inventor of oxygen absorbers, but they sure are remarkable! I get my oxygen absorbers for a pretty good price from Honeyville.com.

3. A hot iron. I know there are machines for mylar sealing available, but for me, I had this old iron and I didn't have to spend any extra money. Perk! I found my iron! This is totally off-topic-random. Yes...I'm officially not Martha Stewart. There. I said it. I saw an episode once where she devoted a whole show to how to iron and what to do. I think she's delusional. Just saying. I'm not that girl. If I can pull it out of the dryer or hang it on a clothesline and not have to iron...I'm totally happy about that. Now on the other hand, my delightful MIL Cussin'-Granny (y'all know that it is a pet name right? She doesn't cuss often.) has a gift. She irons things. I don't know if it is just because she's adorable and nice or because she knows I lack the skills...but she has taken great pride in making sure my husband and kids have nice ironed shirts (as well as myself). I love her for that great service.


Mylar Bag Sealing Procedure:


1. Set your iron on the cotton setting. No steam. Get a soft clean cloth and place it on your work surface or ironing board.



2. Iron edges. After cutting the bags to your desired size, iron the edges with the hot iron. Be sure that the bag's edges are exactly aligned so that the plastic doesn't melt on your iron.



3. Stack cooled bags and prepare to fill with food.



4. Fill bags with food. There are a few methods for this. I like the one that includes putting the food in another bag inside the mylar so it doesn't fall out of the bag when I'm sealing it. Obviously the more air that is removed, the better!


5. Once filled with food, add the oxygen absorbers and seal.Work quickly. It is reccomended that you seal all the bags within 30-60 minutes from the time you open the oxygen absorbers! So...keep that in mind.



6. Label clearly! Make sure all bags are labeled clearly with contents and cooking instructions and preparation date. You will benefit greatly from knowing what is in the bags. Or...you can go without labels and make a game out of not knowing. I don't really like that game. I'm a party pooper. The bags will suction around the food as the oxygen absorbers do their job.



7. Pack food in your food-grade buckets, back-packs or travel bags as desired.

8. Remember to take your solar oven or Heat Retention Cooker for ease on your journey! I'm so excited to hit the open road this weekend! There you go! Make some mylar-packed meals for camping and beyond! Please feel free to share this information with those you love. I'll be teaching a few classes on this soon! For more information on these upcoming classes see my class schedule!




Xoxo! Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess

6 comments:

Chef Tess said...

This is such a fun way to do the meals! I'm so glad we did it!

Anonymous said...

Do you worry about the "bag inside of the bag" breaking down? I mean, I trust the mylar bags' liner due to its application design, but what is your suggestion for the inner bags' time (or temperature) constraints? I am concerned about the leached toxins that may become part of my meal - Yikes!

Would you still feel comfortable with the 5-7 year guideline for long term storage?

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this. It is very helpful to learn how others hit the road with nutritious, delicious food that doesn't have the weight of canned supplies. I love my glass jars as much as the next gal, but they just don't make for light travel. :)

Chef Tess said...

As long as the bag is food grade you're fine.

desertskyquilts said...

I love what you said about your MIL! That was just the sweetest aside, and I'm glad you included it!

Racheil said...

A few questions regarding some of the other questions asked in this post.
1) Would a food saver bag inside the mylar bag be okay?
2) Would it be okay to insert an index card inside the mylar bag so it becomes a "flat" surface for the contents of the mylar bag?
3) Once you put the oxygen absorber in the mylar bag do you still iron it closed or does the oxygen absorber close the bag for you?
Thank you,
Racheil

Cookin' Cousins said...

Hi Racheil. That's a yes to all three!