In response to the article “Re: Sugar and Salt Storage” you mentioned: “You can either buy mylar liners with zip-lock tops, or plain bags, and heat seal them. (The latter method takes a special tool that is fairly expensive.)”
Mylar bags can be heat sealed rather effectively, quickly, and easily using only an electric clothes iron and a scrap piece of 2×4. Leave enough room in the mylar bag to allow the bag to extend out the top of the 5 gallon bucket. Lay the 2×4 on the bucket edge, and using a hot clothes iron, slowly heat seal the top edges of the bag while pressing out excess air. I used a hot setting (such as “Cotton” setting) but not the very hottest setting. Use it just like ironing clothes – too quick and it won’t do the job, too slow and you’ll probably make burn marks. Oxygen absorbers in the bag will do their job if the bag is sealed shut correctly.
So far I haven’t found a need for any special heat sealing tools. Thanks, – Matt S.
JWR Replies: Yes, that can be done, but you have to be very careful. Heat controls on clothes irons vary widely! It best to seal all but one inch, evacuate the air (with your FoodSaver‘s hose, or with a large straw–if you have strong lungs), and then quickly seal the last inch.
If you use O2 absorbing packets, the bag should still look “sucked down” after a week if you have indeed obtained a good seal.
BTW, it is best to buy a very inexpensive iron from a thrift store, for dedicated bag-sealing use. That will help keep peace in your family.