Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How To Make Homemade Mylar-Packed 52 Method Convenience Meals for Camping and Beyond!


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. 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!  The first Original Post on making the jar meals was here. That menu has 7 recipes and there have been a ton of recipe posts after that post! None of those have been done in mylar bags up to this point and I know there are some remarkable appications for the use of these bags.
These meals are great for :
  • meals-from-home for college students
  •  family and group camping/hiking/backpacking trips
  • cub-scout camps and girl scout camps
  • new-mom baby shower gifts
  • foreign  missionary care-packages
  • meals from home for military troops
  • anyone living in tornado or earthquake zones
  • travel and vacation meals to heat-and-eat in hotels
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...here.
Especially popular is the  Country Breakfast skillet meal here 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...Here.
Just pack it with the crisp mix separate from 4 cups of freeze dried fruit in the bags.
Thai Chicken in Spicy Peanut sauce over rice...here
.
Saucy Italian Baked Ziti with Mozzarella Cheese...video tutorial.
Polynesian Sweet-n-Sour Chicken baked beans...here
Chicken Chile Verde...here
Yankee Pot-Roast Gravy with Garlic Mashed Potatoes...here.
Yes, there are many more recipes. These are just a few suggestions!
Sure enough, I took pictures of how to pack the mylar meals.  You know,  so that you'd benefit from my adventure as well. I know you love me. Try not to cry.
1. First you will need some Mylar bags.  For more information on how they are made and designed, go here. 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 bagsThey 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. Second 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. For that reason, I'm suggesting you look at the resource here for more details on that:  
I'm not the inventor of oxygen absorbers, but they sure are remarkable! I get mine here for a pretty good price from Honeyvillegrain.com:  Here.
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 Martha 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! I've had friends pack food inside food saver bags, suction out the air and then put them in mylar.
5. Once filled with food, add the oxygen absorbers and seal. Work quickly. It is recommended 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 poop-er-drooper-deluxe; Agua-fiesta-supreme...with cheese.
 The bags will suction around the food as the oxygen absorbers do their job. Yes, even the smaller bags sealed in the zip-locs inside the mylar will be okay. Twist them closed lightly, don't zip them. They will have their air removed too. Yes...you still need the mylar bags for long-term. Yes, you can use the jars instead.
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 go here! Xoxo!
Always My Very Best,
Your Friend Chef Tess











I am no longer the corporate chef for Honeyville but we still love them dearly. My family is greatly blessed and relies heavily on the extra money brought in by sales tracked back to this site. This is also the company that packages and sells my spice line as well as my food storage cookbooks. Thank you so very much for your support. Xoxo!

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tess - I forgot to ask this in your class. Do you have a ratio of water to dried meats that you use in your method? I am trying to pre-make bag omelettes and was wondering how much water to add to the mixture for either FD ham or sausage. Thanks, Patt

Anonymous said...

W. O. W. This sounds great - then I don't have to worry about the jars breaking while camping and/or not getting my canning jars back! Do you find that the 5 gallon mylar bag split into 4 makes the equivalent size to a quart or a pint canning jar? Kindly advise! This is AWESOME!

Chef Tess said...

Pat, I usually use equal amounts water and meat for the ham and sausage. Ham takes a little over equal parts.

Edgar Mu Sugercane said...

LOVE this post. Had to link to it as my post of the day! Thank you!!

Connie said...

Not only are you a genius - AND I want to grow up and be just like you - but you are HILARIOUS!!! I laugh at all your little funny notes. Be blessed Tess. You are sheer awesomeness.

Anonymous said...

Tess:
I love the idea of your bagged meals, but it is just my husband and I and wondered what I would do with the remaining freeze-dried meat. I don't think I could use it before it would go bad. Could it be sealed in portion-sized servings in the mylar bags with oxygen absorbers? Would it be shelf stable? Thank you so much for your ideas, your website has become my new fav! Desiree

Chef Tess said...

Yes. You can easily store the meat in individual portions in smaller mylar bags with an oxygen absorber in each bag. They would certainly be shelf stable.

Joy said...

Tess, I feel so blessed to have found your site and have spent the last week reading. I'm old, on a fixed budget but figured I better find a way to eat if the economy keeps going down the tubes. I made a huge order with Honeyville, including your spices, so I can make all the lovely meals for later. My questions are: What size do you cut the mylar bags? Or should I buy the gallon size? Looking for cheap way to do it. If I remember right, the recipes are for a family of six or makes six servings?

Mallory said...

I got the giant mylar bags from Honeyville & was wondering how many bags to you make with the 1 big bag? I was thinking 6 or 8 but wanted to check with you before i start cutting.

Chef Tess said...

I usually get 8-10 if I'm doing the quart size meals. 15-18 if I'm doing 2-3 servings. That's the 5 gallon bag.

Heidi said...

I am very excited to prepare my first meals in jars and Mylar (going to send them with my husband on his next hunting trip) One question...I noticed that a few of your recipes use bouillon and I try to stay as organic and non-GMO as possible. The only bouillon I can find that fits the bill are the little cubes. They seem to have a bit of moisture in them compared to granules and I am concerned this might be problematic for long term storage. Can I use the cube bouillon in place of the granules and if not, do you have an organic or non-GMO brand you could recommend?

Chef Tess said...

Heidi, generally if you want to go without the bouillon, you can use 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp celery seed powder to replace the bouillon. The ones I use are commercial grade all natural non-gmo made specially for chefs and unfortunately can't be purchased unless you work for a food company. Hopefully that changes. I know there are a few companies who make them, I just haven't found others that I like as well.

Heidi said...

Would those measurements be, per jar? Recipe calls for 1 Tbs. boullion.

Chef Tess said...

Yes. Per jar. Great question.

Jenny said...

Loving this stuff! I do have a question for you. I'm a single girl. When I cook I almost always end up with TONS left which normally gets trashed after eating it for a few days. I'm not a big left-over kind of gal. Which is why THIS is so cool. I can make small versions just for me! My question is there any problem with just using Food Saver bags and vacuum seal the meals? Does this create potential storage problems?

Chef Tess said...

If you don't use the freeze dried meat, you can use the food saver bags for shorter storage (up to a year).

kims said...

Great recipes, thank you! My daughter & I started making meals just like this about 3 yrs ago, adapting family favs. TIP - We keep a flat iron (for hair) stored with the mylar bags... using that, in place of the 'regular' iron.

Anonymous said...

Are you currently working on a book that's mainly 'meals in a jar'? I've already learned so much from your website. Thank you.

Chef Tess said...

Yup. That second cookbook is on the way! xoxo! I'll have details as soon as they are available to me.

Anonymous said...

I'm just starting, but since these are recipes I plan to incorporate in our meal plan, I'm going to laminate and seal the cooking instructions and pop them in the bags. Then I just have to label what's in it, and reuse the instructions to make the next batch.

Mark Nicholas said...

Thank you for your useful information,i would like to read the 1st book instruction . You can also refer Pickles Packaging Pouches for more information.

Kat Guelde said...

I was wondering if I would still have to use an oxygen remover package if I was packaging in mylar bags but sealing it with my food sealer that is removing the air from the bag.

Anonymous said...

Hi do you cool food which has just cooked before sealing in myler bags

Chef Tess said...

Do not cook food before storing it in mylar! This is very dangerous for food born illness! ! These meals are dry uncooked ingredients only! No moisture.

Chef Tess said...

Do not cook food before storing it in mylar! This is very dangerous for food born illness! ! These meals are dry uncooked ingredients only! No moisture.

Chef Tess said...

Do not cook food before storing it in mylar! This is very dangerous for food born illness! ! These meals are dry uncooked ingredients only! No moisture.

Jon Fields said...

Great post Tess! Would your method be effective if I fully cook a meal, cool it quickly, store it in tupperwares and then place those tupperwares into the mylar bags with oxygen absorbers? I'm trying to get my home-prepared meals to last for more than 7 days.

Please note that the meals are not dried and I would keep the tupperwares in the fridge in the bag so that it will always be under 40 degrees and therefore not be at risk of food borne illness for a week or two.

Do you think mylar bags will help at all to further increase shelf life beyond the tupperwares? Do you have any thoughts on how I can accomplish this?

Heyku said...

Hello! Enjoying all your info! Thanks for all the tips. My question is: If I use a professional vacuum sealer (which we have and use for freezing fresh fruit and veggies from our garden) for the dry-meals in Mylar bags, do I still need the oxygen absorber?

Heyku said...

Question: we have a professional vacuum sealer which we use for freezing fresh fruit and veggies from our garden. If I use the vacuum sealer for the dehydrated meals-in-Mylar-bag, do I still need an oxygen absorber? Thanks!

Heyku said...

Hello! Enjoying all your info! Thanks for all the tips. My question is: If I use a professional vacuum sealer (which we have and use for freezing fresh fruit and veggies from our garden) for the dry-meals in Mylar bags, do I still need the oxygen absorber?