Food Storage and Beans: Using Mylar bags and a Food Saver

Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
Food Storage and Beans: Using Mylar bags and a Food Saver

Note:  This article is currently in the process of being updated.  Sorry for the Inconvenience.

Yesterday I wrote about cooking dried beans.  I was able to prove to myself that preparing delicious beans was really possible without using a can opener.  And talk about thrifty!  When purchased in 50 pound sacks, the cost is just a tad over 50 cents a pound.

But long term storage of that many beans is an issue.   Many sources will say that the shelf life of dried beans is about a year but in reality, the self life can vary according to room temperature and other variables.

Here is the scoop.  As beans age they lose their oils, resist water absorption and won’t swell.  If they don’t swell, they will end up being hard as rocks.  Definitely not a pleasant dining experience.  Worst case, old beans can  be ground up to use as “bean flour”.

Storing dried beans in nitrogen helps prolong the loss of these oils as does cool temperatures.  Hermetically sealed with the absence of oxygen, the consensus is that you can plan on a storage life of 8-10 years at a stable temperature of 70oF and even longer if stored at cooler temperatures.

Okay, sounds good, especially since I already have a Food Saver.  But, as I learned during my foray at Bean Storage University, the standard food saver bag is not enough.  I need some Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers .

The following video is great.  Although it is kind of long, it shows you how to easily pack up those beans for long term storage and is definitely worth the 8 or 9 minutes it takes  to watch. 

(Sorry, video is no longer available)

There is a moral this  story:  Eat more beans.

Beans are a great tasting.  They are a cheap source of fiber, have good carbs, and provide high quality protein and plus lots of other other important nutrients.  And, they store well if properly packaged and kept in a relatively cool environment.

Here is one of my favorite bean recipes – tried and true a zillion times over.  The only change?  I will now use my home cooked dried beans!

Survival Woman Chili

¾ pound Ground round or other chopped meat
2 cups water
1 ½ cups whole kernel corn, canned or frozen
1 cup salsa
2 Tbl Chili Powder
2 ½ tsp Cumin, ground
1 ½ tsp Dried Oregano
2 cups Cooked beans
1 can No salt added diced tomatoes, undrained

Cook the ground round in a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat for 4 minutes or until the beef is browned, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the water and remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, and simmer for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Note:  This recipe is highly variable and a good starting point for a big pot of chili.  Here at Casa de Haro, we quadruple the proportions and add a variety of different beans.  Yes, we like it spicy but YMMV.

Enjoy your next adventure, wherever it takes you!

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23 Responses to “Food Storage and Beans: Using Mylar bags and a Food Saver”

  1. Beans, beans, they are good for your heart
    The more you eat them, the more you fart
    The more you fart, the happier/better you feel
    So let’s eat beans with every meal.

  2. Great post. Mylar is the way to go for those smaller, easier to use portions. I like them because you can still stack them in a food storage bucket and keep them organized.

  3. Once you have opened the mylar bag, can and should you reseal it for later use. i like the smaller bag idea over the bag.

  4. That depends. If you plan to return the bag of food to deep storage (long term storgage), you can pop in a fresh oxygen absorber and reseal the bag. I use a hair iron, by the way, to seal my mylar bags.

    I use the smaller bags myself and assume that I will use the entire contents within a year once opened. And yes, I definity re-use the bags – cleaning them first,of course.

    Hope this answers your question but if not, holler.

  5. I bought the food saver and have bagged, beans, sugar and salt. I have packed them in food grade buckets with sealed lids. Should I have used the mylar bags and oxygen absorbers instead? I am getting ready to do rice, spiced and cereal. What is the best way to do them?

    • @Mary – Truth be told, I have done both. For storage of up to five or ten years, in my opinion you are fine with the FoodSaver bags sealed up in a bucket. The only thing I might do is add a 2000cc oxygen absorber (or equivalent number of smaller oxygen absorbers) to the bucket itself. The exception is salt – no oxygen absorber is recommended since it will turn the salt to a brick!

  6. Question, I have several 1 lb bags of dry beans. They are in their original plastic bags. I was going to seal them in Mylar bags. Should I first remove them from their original plastic bags and then seal them in mylar, or place them in the mylar bag without removing them from their plastic bag? Which way will last the longest? Thanks

  7. I’m new to the idea of mylar bags. I have a food saver and I’ve put my beans and oats up with oxygen packs. So do I then put those packages into mylar bags before sealing in a bucket? Or is this overkill…

    • Tiffany – It really is an either/or decision. FoodSaver bags are known lose their seal and to possibly leak after 3 to five years. They are also subject to light. Being placed in a bucket would mitigate the light problem however.

      What I tend to do is use FoodSaver bags for items that will be stored up to 3 years and Mylar bags for the rest. I use oxygen absorbers in both. I then put the bags in buckets for safekeeping. One time I did not put a Mylar bag in a bucket. As luck would have it, my husband accidently sliced through the 5 gallon Mylar bag of rice and I had a big mess plus.

      I am a big believer in buckets!

      Hope this helps but if not, ask away.

  8. Thanks!

    Do you know if mylar bags can be sealed with a food saver? Or is there some other mechanism I have to buy to make that work?

    Also, how do you decide which “size” oxygen pack to use with what. I have yet to be able to google a guide of some sort. For a beginner, this is all pretty overwhelming.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Yes, but it is a lot of work. The easiest thing to do is to seal Mylar bags with a hair straightening iron. A cheap onr will work.

      For a one gallon bag, use a 300 cc (or 3 100cc) oxygen absorber and for a 5 or 6 gallon bucket, use a 2000 cc. I know I have a chart somewhere but with 650 articles, I could not lay my hands on it 🙂 I may be thinking of my book which should be out by the end of the month. That will be a BIG help.

      Also see: // and //

    • Tiffany – Thank you for pointing this out. This article is out of date and I will put it in the queue to update soon. I apologize for the inconvenience.

  9. I buy beans in 2 and 5 lb. bags. I take them out of there bag and put them in a plastic container i brought at Walmart. At times i go to get some beans to cook but there are little bugs there and i throw all the beans away, What can i do to save my beans. Mylar bags are not at the Walmarts i go to. Does this mean i have to buy a vacumn machine.

    • Charles – I no longer use a vacuum sealer with Mylar bags. Instead, I put my dry goods in a Mylar bag, add an oxygen absorber, then seal it all up with a $20 hair iron.

      In your case I have two suggestions. First, put your beans in the freezer for a few days to kill off unwanted bugs that may be lingering in the bag. Then, try putting your beans in a mason jar with the lid tightly closed. If you can, also add an oxygen absorber. You are going to find that a mason jar seals more securely than a plastic container.

      I am a big believer in Mylar bags and oxygen absorbers. You can purchase them on Amazon with free shipping – well worth it (just follow some of the links on the website to get an idea of what is available). Then use a hair iron or even a clothes iron to seal them up.

      Good luck and check back to let us know how it goes.

      — Gaye

  10. I have my beans in a mason jar – oxy pack and sealed with a food saver attachment. They have been this way about 5 years, are they still okay?

    • I have never had a problem with “old” beans that are properly stored but I have heard reports of the beans staying very hard, even after cooking. The best thing to do is crack a jar and try them.

      BTW, I am told a pressure cooker works great when cooking up old beans. I have never had the need to try this myself.

  11. I will like to start a beans business n I will like to be storing them for atlist 10 month, if I put it in a mylar bags did I need to apply a chemical or not

    • You will definitely want to remove the excess oxygen from your stored beans. The easiest way to do this at home is with an oxygen absorber. For commercial products, you may also want to look into a nitrogen flush although I personally do not have experience doing that myself.

  12. Question : I have sealed my bags of peas and beans in the bags along with mylar and oxygen absobers ,and put them in 5 that ok .I would hate to have to go and redo ,because I left them in same bag they came in.

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