Since the 1940s, food manufacturers have used vacuum sealing to make perishable food last longer. This technique keeps food fresh by removing air from the packaging, which prevents spoilage during storage and transportation. Vacuum seal bags have become much more popular and readily available since.
Vacuum sealers are handy when you want to store food and save money. Most food products have expiration dates, but a food sealer can help extend their shelf life. Removing the air and sealing the natural moisture prevents drying out and slows mold and bacteria growth. It’s a simple and effective method for keeping foods fresh for longer.
This blog post will discuss how Patek Packaging’s vacuum seal bags can help you preserve your food items and maintain their quality over time.
Why Do I Need to Vacuum Seal the Foods?
Vacuum sealing is a great way to store meat and other perishable foods. It has several benefits. First, it’s a cost-effective method to preserve meat without freezing it. Plus, it helps keep the meat fresh for longer by extending its shelf life through cold storage.
One big advantage of vacuum sealing is that it maintains meat quality. Sealing the meat in plastic bags stops oxygen from getting in and causing it to spoil. This ensures the meat stays fresh.
Another benefit is that vacuum sealing prevents bacteria from contaminating the food. Bacterial contamination is eliminated since there’s no air inside the sealed package.
Vacuum sealing also significantly extends the freshness and shelf life of perishable foods. Getting rid of the oxygen prevents freezer burn, ice particles, and mould growth. This keeps the food fresh, tasty, and in good condition for longer.
Furthermore, vacuum sealing saves space in the freezer. You can make the most of the available storage area by removing unnecessary air.
Lastly, vacuum sealing expands the shelf life of food. While regular frozen items last only a few months, vacuum-sealed food can stay good for 1-3 years, depending on the item.
Disadvantages of Vacuum Sealer Bags
While vacuum sealing has many benefits for storing food, there are also a few disadvantages. First, vacuum sealing can take a long time, especially if you have a lot of food to seal. You must seal each item individually, which can be tiring and time-consuming. This might not be suitable if you’re busy or prefer a faster way to store food.
Another disadvantage is that vacuum sealer bags only work well for some types of food. Delicate and soft foods like bread, cakes, and some fruits can get squished or lose shape during sealing. Also, foods with a lot of moisture can be tricky to seal properly, and they may develop freezer burn or cause problems with the sealing process.
Additionally, the bags or containers used for vacuum sealing can only be used sparingly, creating extra waste. This might concern people who want to be more environmentally friendly.
Lastly, even though vacuum sealing can make food last longer, it doesn’t replace the need for proper food safety practices. If you don’t handle or store vacuum-sealed food correctly, it can still be at risk of bacterial growth.
How to Use Vacuum Seal Bags for Your Food
Vacuum sealing your food is a simple process involving several important steps. Let’s look at them closely:
Choose the Right Equipment
To seal your food, you’ll need a vacuum sealer machine. There are different types available, like handheld sealers or countertop models. Pick the one that fits your needs and budget.
Prepare the Food
- Make sure your food is ready.
- Wash fruits, vegetables, and perishable items thoroughly.
- For meats, trim excess fat and cut them into suitable sizes.
Get the Right Material
Vacuum sealers need special bags or rolls made for this purpose. Make sure you have the correct material. Some vacuum sealers also have canisters or containers as an option.
Seal the Food
Here’s how to seal your food using a countertop vacuum sealer machine:
- Cut a piece of the vacuum seal bag or roll it to hold your food.
- Put the food inside the bag, leaving space at the top for sealing.
- Align the open end of the bag with the vacuum sealer’s sealing strip.
- Close the machine’s lid or press the sealing mechanism firmly to start the vacuum and sealing process.
- The machine will remove the air from the bag and create a tight seal.
Check the Seal
After sealing, carefully check the bag to ensure it’s tightly sealed without any leaks or gaps. A proper seal is important to keep the food fresh.
Label and Store
Labelling the packages with the contents and date of sealing is helpful. This way, you can easily keep track of your items in the freezer or pantry.
Store the vacuum-sealed food in appropriate conditions. For most items, refrigeration or freezing is recommended to maximize shelf life.
Let’s say you want to vacuum-seal fresh strawberries. Start by washing and drying them thoroughly. Cut the strawberries into portions or leave them whole. Place them in a vacuum seal bag, leaving some space. Use a countertop vacuum sealer to remove air and tightly seal the bag. Label it as “Vacuum-Sealed Strawberries” and keep them in the refrigerator. This method will help the strawberries last longer and stay fresh.
Another example is vacuum-sealing cooked chicken breasts. Allow the chicken to cool down after cooking. Once cooled, cut it into individual servings or desired portions. Put the chicken in a vacuum seal bag, leaving space at the top. Use a vacuum sealer machine to remove air and create a secure seal. Label the package as “Cooked Chicken Breasts” and store it in the freezer. Vacuum sealing will prevent freezer burn and extend the chicken’s shelf life.
Foods Not To Vacuum Seal
Foods that should not be sealed in vacuum sealer bags include soft cheeses, cooked meats, and cooked grains. Vacuum sealing can cause these foods to spoil or develop mould.
Vacuum sealers keep food fresh in the pantry, refrigerator, and freezer. However, some foods should not be vacuum sealed because they need oxygen to stay fresh. Without oxygen, harmful bacteria can thrive and make you sick. Raw onions and garlic produce gasses that can cause the vacuum-sealed bag to inflate and leak. It’s okay to vacuum-seal frozen bananas, but whole apples should be sliced first.
When vacuum-sealing vegetables, make sure to wash them thoroughly. Place them in a colander and rinse them with cold water to remove water, pesticides, and contaminants. Dry the vegetables after removing them from their original packaging.
For vacuum-sealing potatoes, slice them into thin pieces for even cooking and to avoid sogginess. Place the sliced potatoes in a container that fits your vacuum sealer. Ensure the container is free from liquids or other materials that could interfere with sealing.
To seal the container:
- Turn on your vacuum sealer and wait for it to reach its maximum capacity.
- Insert the container with the potatoes and seal it shut.
- Put the container in the refrigerator and wait for the vacuum indicator light to turn off before removing it.
How Long Will Vacuum Sealed Foods Last?
The time vacuum-sealed foods last depends on the type of food and how they are stored. Generally, vacuum-sealed foods can stay fresh for longer compared to foods that are not sealed. When you store them correctly, vacuum-sealed foods can keep their quality and freshness long.
If you keep vacuum-sealed perishable foods like meats, poultry, fish, and dairy products in the refrigerator, they usually last for a few weeks or months. The exact time depends on the specific food. It’s important to maintain the refrigerator at the right temperature and check for any signs of spoilage before eating.
When you store vacuum-sealed foods in the freezer, they can last even longer. Most vacuum-sealed frozen foods can remain safe for one to three years, depending on the type of food. Freezing helps preserve the quality and prevents freezer burn. It’s important to follow freezing guidelines and label the packages with instructions for freezing to ensure the best taste and quality.
It’s worth noting that vacuum sealing doesn’t make food invincible to spoilage or degradation. It’s still important to practice good food safety habits, like proper storage, handling, and checking for signs of spoilage. If vacuum-sealed food looks spoiled, smells bad, or shows signs of contamination, it’s best to discard it.
You may benefit from prolonged freshness and make the most of your vacuum-sealed meals by storing them according to suggested practices and paying attention to quality cues.
How to Choose the Best Vacuum Sealer
Nowadays, vacuum sealing is for more than just big companies and food makers. You can easily find affordable portable devices. If you need to seal large food items, countertop vacuum sealers are pricier but can do the job. The choice of vacuum sealer mainly depends on how much food you want to store. If you’re a regular household, a handheld sealer should be sufficient.
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