To many, vacuum sealers are not so useful. But contrary to that thought, vacuum sealers have a lot of benefits. If you are in doubt about this, you have this guide to prove to you that vacuum sealers are of great benefit. Read through keenly.
What Is a Vacuum Sealer?
vacuum sealers are lauded for their ability to preserve the color, flavor, texture, and nutrient content of your food. Food is placed into a bag, then the tool sucks air from the area surrounding the food and uses a heated seal bar to bind the sides of the bag together. Not only does this mechanism kill bacteria that need oxygen to survive, but it also protects pantry items from going stale and combats loss of moisture which leads to the development of freezer burn.
What Foods Can I Vacuum Seal?
The list of foods that can be vacuum sealed goes on and on. Bread? Check. Steak? Check. Wine? Check. Rather than go through the exhaustive lineup of items that can be vacuum sealed, it’s far easier to share what can’t: soft cheese, bananas, mushrooms, whole apples, raw onions and garlic, cabbages and lettuce, and freshly cooked veggies—once they’re cooled.
Two other things to keep in mind: Some vegetables, like cucumbers and potatoes, don’t retain their texture well after defrosting so they aren’t ideal for sealing and freezing avoid putting hot food immediately in the fridge as it can increase the temperature inside.
How Long Does Vacuum-Sealed Food Last?
Timing differs from item to item, but vacuum sealing with a Food Saver® machine can keep food fresh up to 5x longer when compared to ordinary storage methods. This applies to products that go into your freezer, fridge, or pantry. For example, when vacuum sealed, beef and poultry can be frozen for up to three years, hard cheese can keep for up to eight months in the fridge, and baking essentials such as flour and sugar are good for up to two years.
Types Of Vacuum Sealers:
There are three types of vacuum sealers, all with their pros and cons:
- Chamber Vacuum Sealers
- External or Suction Vacuum Sealers
- Handheld Vacuum Sealers
Chamber Vacuum Sealers
First up, let me say that chamber vacuum sealers are the thoroughbred racehorses of the vacuum sealing world, but as you might expect, they generally come with high-end price tags.
With these machines, you put the food inside a vacuum sealer bag and then place it in a chamber in the appliance. The air in the chamber is then evacuated. This means that the air pressure stays equal, both inside the chamber and inside the pouch.
One of the big pluses of this is that the vacuum is made without sucking. This means that not only can you vacuum seal solids, but you can also vacuum seal soups and stocks (and other liquids) in their liquid form. Chamber vacuum sealers also allow for some control of the amount of vacuum that is created in the bag, enabling you to be gentle with more delicate items like fish.
Although there are smaller benchtop machines for domestic kitchens which tend to be used in commercial kitchens rather than the home. There are a number of reasons for this:
- They are expensive – you can pay $5k – $6k for a mid-range machine and I, personally, would have to vacuum seal everything I own to justify that kind of spend on my home kitchen!
- They are big – because they tend to be for commercial food preparation and for use in restaurants where multiple things need to be packed daily. As such, they are designed for efficiency and functionality rather than ease of storage.
- They can pack multiple portions at once – again, this is important in a restaurant kitchen or catering business, but not necessarily at home.
External Or Suction Vacuum Sealers
Designed for the more modest demands of the home cook or for a smaller commercial kitchen, external vacuum sealers are smaller than chamber vacuum models and generally far cheaper.
With external vacuum sealers, the bag containing the food that you want to preserve stays outside of the machine. You feed the open end of the bag into the front of the appliance and the air in the bag is sucked out and then sealed.
As these appliances use suction to create a vacuum, there can be problems if you want to vacuum seal liquids:
- Much of the liquid will be sucked out of the bag.
- Even when there is only a small amount of liquid in the bag, the edges that you wish to close can become damp and seal ineffectively as the liquid is sucked out.
The simple solution to these problems is to freeze any liquids. Once the liquid has become a solid, you can treat it as you would any other food item and bag it up and vacuum seal it.
Again, you have full control over the amount of vacuum that you apply to each bag before you close it.
Handheld Vacuum Sealers
As with external vacuum sealers, the bags for handheld sealers stay outside the machine and the air is removed from it by suction, only this time through a special valve in the bag. This means that you need to buy vacuum sealer bags that are compatible with your machine
Another difference is that these sealers are usually cordless and rechargeable. They are also smaller than their regular external model cousins. This means that they can be kept in a drawer, which is perfect if you are space poor.
Their size, and the fact that you can recharge them, makes handheld machines highly portable and this is great if you are a keen camper or have a caravan or holiday home, as you can take your handheld vacuum sealer with you and package items on the go.
How to Vacuum Seal
Understanding how to vacuum seal allows you to preserve food and serve it fresh to customers. A vacuum sealer removes the air from the space around your food and then uses a heated seal bar to fuse the sides of the bag, preventing it from leaking back into the bag. Exposure to air will spoil food or allow it to stale over time, so this process eliminates that threat.
Vacuum sealing uses a vacuum sealer to store and preserve food items ranging from produce to full entrees. The process of vacuum sealing is simple and efficient regardless of which vacuum sealer you own. Use the following instructions and diagrams below to learn how to vacuum seal.
- Place food in a vacuum bag and align the end of the bag with the seal bar on your vacuum sealer. Keeping the bag flat on your countertop ensures the best results.
- Close the lid of your vacuum sealer tightly and begin the sealing process. The machine will then suck all the air from the vacuum bag.
- Once all the air is removed, the seal bar fuses the bag to create an airtight seal. Wait until the machine indicates the process is finished before removing and storing your vacuum-sealed food.
Benefits Of Vacuum Sealing
- Removes Air – Keeps items dry. Food items it is particularly important as it keeps food free from bacteria growth.
- Preserves Integrity – Keeps items free from dirt, mold, germs, improper handling, and any other environmental contaminants.
- Moisture Protection – Protects against accidental spills and temperature variances that are common in workplace environments.
- Fast Process – Vacuum sealing with the proper machine and materials is a very quick and efficient method of packaging any type of product.
- Tamper Evident – Consumers and workers see when the integrity of the product seal has been broken and compromised.
- Saves Space – Vacuum sealing is one of the smallest types of packaging. This is not only helpful for precious shelf space but saves on precious shipping and cargo space.
- Increases Shelf Life – Vacuum sealing helps keep products fresher for longer. Perishable goods such as beef can have their shelf life extended from 1-2 weeks to up to 6 weeks. Cosmetics and pharmaceutical shelf lives benefit as well!
- Improves Consumer Confidence – Consumers will be more confident in both the appearance and tamper evidence that professional vacuum sealing delivers.
Factors To Consider When Buying Vacuum Sealers
Before purchasing a food sealer for your home, consider a few factors that may guide your decision.
- Ability to continuously use without overheating – while commercial-grade vacuum sealers have 100% duty cycles for continuous operation, some consumer-grade models require 20-30 minute intervals of downtime to cool when sealing a higher volume. For lower-volume users, this won’t be an issue, but if you have a large garden or hunt big game animals, you’ll want a sealer that can run nonstop.
- Portability and storability – before your purchase, consider how big the vacuum sealer will be and where you will store it between uses. Some units can be stored horizontally or vertically to save space and most feature built-in cord wraps and accessory compartments.
- Controls – advances in food sealing technology have led to simple one-touch operation, but check if your sealer provides a manual mode for custom control over your food packaging. Some even allow you to “seal only” and not remove the oxygen from your bags.
- Attachments – the jar and bottle sealers as discussed above are some of the attachments available with some models, including Tilia vacuum sealers.
Do Not Vacuum Seal
Do not vacuum seal mushrooms, garlic, and soft and unpasteurized cheeses like Brie and Ricotta. These products might contain anaerobic bacteria, which can grow and thrive within the oxygen-free environment inside a vacuum pouch.
Also, allow foods to cool to at least room temperature before sealing since higher temperatures are more likely to harbor bacteria. Take precautions and check that foods are cooling safely, keeping them out of the temperature danger zone for as long as possible.
To conclude, we have shown you how important vacuum cleaners are. It is important you get one for your home, so you protect food from spoiling quickly.