Sealing Food in 5-Gallon Buckets & Mylar Bags

sealing food in five gallon buckets

If you’ve ever handled a mylar balloon, you’ve probably noticed how the front and back of the balloon are sealed together, creating an air-tight space for helium. When it comes time to seal food in mylar bags, you create something very similar using a mylar bag, an iron, and a couple of simple techniques.

How to seal food in mylar bags

The other day I had to seal some popcorn and millet in mylar bags and five-gallon buckets. This is a very easy process.

Step 1

Open the mylar bag and put it in the bucket. Fill the mylar bag with your product to about two inches from the top of the bucket. You will notice that the bag is a lot taller than the bucket, rather than cut off the excess I seal it right on the edge. If I open the bucket to use some or all of the food, this leaves me plenty of material to reseal the bag.

sealing food in five gallon buckets
Leave the excess Mylar bag material in case you need to reseal the bag

Step 2

I use an old two-foot metal hand level and an electric iron to seal the bags. The level is just the right length and thickness to make a good seal. I do not use my wife’s good iron, some mylar bags leave residue on the iron. I got the cheapest one they had at Walmart.  This keeps me out of trouble.

After putting in the oxygen absorbers, I set the level across the top of the bucket and lay the mylar bag against it. I then iron it to make the seal. Leave a small opening in one corner.  This permits you to squeeze out the excess air.

See also  Light, Another Enemy of Food Storage

Step 3

You then make a diagonal seal across the corner.  I usually buy my oxygen absorbers in size 300cc, so when I seal food in mylar bags and buckets, I always put in 5 absorbers. Fold the mylar bag into the bucket. Put the lid on the bucket, label it, and you are done.

I prefer to only use food-grade plastic buckets for all of my food storage, including the times that I use mylar bags. I talk more about why food-grade plastic buckets are important in this article.

Hopefully, these photos will help illustrate the tried-and-true process used to seal food in mylar bags using food-grade plastic buckets.

sealing food in five gallon buckets
Place the level on top of bucket and stretch the Mylar bag out flat.
sealing food in five gallon buckets
Iron to complete seal, leaving a small opening in corner
sealing food in five gallon buckets
Squeeze air out and seal corner

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15 thoughts on “Sealing Food in 5-Gallon Buckets & Mylar Bags”

  1. Is the popcorn for popping? As I understand popcorn, it depends on the outer coat of the kernel (pericarp) being sealed so the steam builds up inside and that’s what gives it the pop. I might guess that outer coating would degrade over time no matter how it is stored. Anybody have experience with stored popcorn? Are there more unpopped kernels?

    1. David
      It is mainly for making corn meal, but I understand that it retains it ability to be popped. I know that it is harder than normal corn and a lot of grinder have problems with it.

  2. Howard,

    Our grain mill is being shipped to us as we speak and so is our grain. I have no experience sealing mylar bags into buckets so I appreciate this article. I’ve read descriptions elsewhere but never saw pictures. I like your tips on leaving extra bag length and using an alternate iron.

    When the time comes, I think we are going to use dry ice, though. I see you prefer oxygen absorbers. Any particular reason? I guess I’m interested in learning the pros and cons of both.


    1. Robert
      Oxygen absorbers will accomplish the same thing as dry ice with less work and mess. They are inexpensive you should be able to purchase them for about a dime a piece. If you do a search in my blog you will find information on how to test them.

  3. Thanks for this great visual article. I am stocking up,canning, and freezing but have no idea how this is done and know I have to learn. I love the iron idea and didn’t know whether to use the dry ice which sounded to difficult or the dehydrators. So if you have to break the seal and want to reseal do you just throw in more dehydrators and reseal the same way?

    1. I would recommended the oxygen absorber, they removed the oxygen from the air with a chemical reaction. The absorber contains salt and powdered iron. When exposed to oxygen it rapidly creates rust which used up the oxygen. The oxygen absorber are available for about a dime apiece. Howard

  4. I have stored popcorn in a plastic bag, in the freezer, for 3 to 4 years with good popping results. I would assume that there would be little or no moisture lost inside a sealed Mylar bag. As I understand it, it is the moisture in the kernel that determines the degree of expansion in “popping”.

  5. Hi, so you’ve put your food in the mylar bag and sealed it, when you open it, all of the food is exposed, do you reseal it again?

    1. Yes you can either reseal it or you can transfer the food into a new bag and seal it.
      Here is a video which shows you how to reseal a mylar bag.

      1. Very interesting blog. Yes, Mylar bags are re-sealable. Just cut off the top of the bag, make nice flat seal with your cloth iron at high settings (We only sell 5mil mylar bags and they can take high heat for better seal). if you have thinner bags, better to start with lower heat. Good Luck!

  6. What are your thoughts on using the vacuum-seal mylar bags?? I’ve purchased about 50 1-gal bags because there’s no way I’d be able to use the contents of 1 5-gal bag with just me and my husband. Aside from that, if we’re in a real SHTF scenario, I’m guessing there will be no electricity available for me to reseal such a large bag so I figured that smaller bags would be the safer bet. I’m just wondering if anyone has had experience using the vacuum sealer Mylar bags.

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