Why it is important to have a Vacuum Sealer in your kitchen?
Step Right Up!
Are you looking to save money by buying food in bulk? Do you want to marinate foods in minutes instead of hours? Are you looking for a low-fat, healthy way to cook and seal in nutrients?
You might be interested in a Vacuum Sealer.
I know I sound like a commercial; I can’t help it. What might seem like a Ron Popeil infomercial kitchen gadget fad is actually a method of long-term storage and low-heat cooking that is used by many of the top chefs around the country.
I’ve been skeptical about buying one of these small appliances for years but after years of frustration due to freezer burn so I thought I would give one a try and have not looked back. I love this device. It has saved me a ton of money especially with the cheese I buy.
How does a vacuum sealer work?
You put the food to be vacuum-sealed in one of the special vacuum sealer bags, and the vacuum sealer removes all the air from the bag and seals it with an airtight heat seal. It doesn’t sound that incredible until you realize that most food spoil because they come into contact with air. Sealing the air out greatly increases shelf life.
Consider these uses:
- Vacuum seal whole bean or ground coffee for long term storage without fear of oxidation
- Store nuts and seeds for longer at room temperature without them turning rancid
- Seal leftovers and freeze for later use
- Make large amounts of soups or stew, portion and freeze in FoodSaver storage bags
What They Do
Vacuum sealers perform three major tasks.
No surprise, one task is to remove oxygen. In removing oxygen, mold and bacterial growth is slowed down, and foods can be safely stored for longer periods of time.
The second job of a vacuum sealer is to create a moisture barrier. This does two things. Not only does it keep moisture in your foods, it also keeps excess moisture out. No more slimy meat.
Lastly, the vacuum sealer creates a flavor barrier, keeping the entire flavor in and keeping unwanted flavors out. Vacuum sealed foods taste just as fresh and vibrant after a month in the freezer as they did when they were made.
How To Buy A Vacuum Sealer
What vacuum sealer you buy depends on what you are using it for, how often will you be using it and how much you want to spend. There are many great models out there and I suggest you take a look at some of these models and then decide.
Some have one-touch button design while others are good for sealing wet foods like marinated meats. there are portable models and some with hoses and containers that can be vacuum sealed.
So my advice is to think of how you would use your vacuum sealer and then look at these to start and go from there.
Buying Meat In Bulk
One of the uses that I am particularly excited about is being to buy meat in bulk at Costco and then vacuum sealing and freezing it for later use.
Before using a vacuum sealer, I would have to throw away a certain portion of frozen foods due to freezer burn. Freezer burn happens when the surface of the food comes in contact with air and dries out over time.
Vacuum sealing eliminates the air, so now my meats don’t get freezer burn. I save money because I’m not wasting food.
Another great use for a vacuum is in marinating. As the vacuum sealer removes the air from the bag, it also opens the pores of the food, allowing marinades to penetrate deeply in as little at 20 minutes.
No more marinating for hours. I just put pre-portioned meat and/or vegetables in a vacuum sealer bag along with my marinade, vacuum seal, and I’m ready to grill in under half an hour.
Sous Vide Cooking
Perhaps one of the most intriguing uses for vacuum sealers is in “sous vide” cooking. Sous vide is French for “under vacuum.”
Many world-class chefs, including Thomas Keller and Charlie Trotter, use the sous vide cooking method to yield moist and flavorful dishes with no loss of nutrients or flavors - remember, vacuum sealing seals in moisture and flavor.
The procedure is relatively straightforward: place the food to be cooked into a vacuum bag and seal. Submerge in water that is the temperature you want your finished dish to be. For example, if you are cooking a chicken breast, have the water at 165 degrees, F. For fish, keep the water at 140 degrees, F.
Check out my posts about sous vide: Sous Vide Posts & Articles
Here are some other great uses for the FoodSaver vacuum sealer that have nothing to do with food.
- Keep matches dry when fishing or camping
- Vacuum seal important papers to prevent possible water damage or mildew should your pipes burst
- Keep first aid items, such as bandages and gauze, fresh, clean and ready to use
- Vacuum pack clothing for storing in small spaces
- Vacuum seal and freeze water for instant ice packs. When the ice melts, you can re-freeze or drink the water
- Vacuum pack a change of clothes in case you take an “accidental” spill in the lake.
At the end of the day, a vacuum sealer will pay for itself by drastically cutting down on your kitchen waste. Get in the habit of portioning and vacuum sealing meals or snacks for your family, and never have to throw away a gray, leathery, freezer-burned steak again.
I use vacuum sealer to store my harvest. It's a great investment, indeed.
I love my Foodsaver Vacuum Sealer. I use both the bags (mostly for freezer storage) and the mason jar attachments. Did you know they now have..I think it is 1/2 or 1 gallon mason jars. I put my excess flour (after it has spend time in the refrigerator) and sugar in them.
I have been thinking about purchasing a food saver and finally broke down and bought it. Have used it a couple of times and it is very easy to use. I do, however, like using the bags vs the rolls. Really got tired of tossing out food due to spoilage/freezer burn.
I realize that this post is from 2012 - there are now several home options for sous vide cooking that cost as little as $100. The cooking temperatures are LESS than what you want the "finished temperature to be" because the meat is kept at a constant temperature over longer periods of time (from 1 0 24 hours). Bacteria are killed at lower temperatures over time, so the meat is both safe to eat and much more tender than something cooked at a higher temperature over shorter periods of time. I love my sous vide cooker (a "stick" that clips onto my stockpot and keeps the water the temperature I set it), and my vacuum saver is a very important step. I put the meat in with marinade or seasonings, seal it up, put it in the pre-heated water, and leave it on the counter and go do other things. 🙂 Check it out. The Food Lab has great information on their website on sous vide cooking.
Vacuum sealer is really important.