Letter Re: The Many Uses of Vacuum-Sealed Bags

Hi Jim, 
The reader who contributed the food saver  storage bag post gave a lot of great ideas.  I would like to add my experience with Food Saver and how I solved some serious problems with the vacuum system itself.  Nine years ago I started a serious food storage program. Life is full of trials and errors, and lots of lessons learned from other’s trials and errors.  I made the move into dehydrating foods,  primarily beef and vegetables for long term storage.

I bought Cabela’s large dehydrator after researching everything out there that I could afford.  It has performed marvelously after I made a couple modifications to it and fixed the problems that others complained about.  I also bought the Game Saver Food Saver,  which of it self is an okay machine.  The glaring flaw is the food saver bag itself. First they are way too thin at around 2 mills and very expensive,  plus they are not mylar, which is needed to prevent oxygen penetration.  Any thing that I stored in them that had sharp points vis-a-vis jerky strips, dehydrated peppers etc. would perforate the bag and lose the seal.  I also had many other items lose the seal—–frozen meat that touched some sharp point in the freezer like another bag’s pointed corner would make a pin hole and fill up with air.
Vacuum sealing is a must for preppers,  So this had to be remedied. The answer came from Sorbent Systems in Los Angeles. They sell a large selection  of heavy duty 6 mil mylar bags and a very cheap vacuum machine that uses a snorkel to suck out the air.  You cannot use this vacuum on wet foods without putting a piece of paper towel along the inside of the edge to be sealed to absorb any liquid. They periodically have specials.  They will once in a while discount overrun items that were special ordered by a large customer.  6 years ago a bought a bunch of military green gun-sized bags that must have been run for the government.  They actually called to confirm my order and asked what I was going to do with the green bags.  My pat answer for questions like this is: “You never know.”  
Another source for the commercial grade bags and oxygen absorbers is USA Emergency Supply. They have great prices and a flat $4.99 shipping fee no matter how big the order is.  I have bought over 3,000 bags from these two companies.  I don’t use the fill up the bucket method.  I store everything in the vacuumed bags with oxygen absorbers and then put the bags in the buckets.  I store multiple bags per bucket. So you don’t get as much weight per bucket but as you use your food you are opening smaller packs and can also use them to trade or charitably help others without having to pass on a whole bucket.  I hope this helps others skip the mistakes I learned the hard way.  Keep the info flowing.   Regards, – Jim W.

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