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Cooking with Your Absurdly Expensive Chamber Sealer

Chris Amirault

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It's impossible to get the color right, but this comes close:


Compressed on the right.

Tonight, I tried a new project: french toast. I sliced up some challah, made the milk and egg batter, and sealed up two bags. The vacuum on the first batch ran too long so I think the bread may be a bit deformed; the second batch I ran for much less time. Results in the a.m.

Would using the metal bench scraper you mentioned help compress the watermelon even more? I'm wondering if sandwiching the watermelon between the chamber's floor and the scraper will exert some added pressure on it.. What about sandwiching the watermelon between two stiff pastry scrapers and putting the whole thing inside a bag? What about putting a weight on top of the watermelon?

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IIRC, the compression comes from the pressure bursting the vacuoles in the fruit, which you wouldn't get from an object applying physical pressure to the fruit. What you'd get instead, I think, is watermelon juice. :wink:

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I did some fun stuff this weekend.

The group I work out with has drink club every other week where after our workout we sit in the sun and enjoy a cold beverage and some snacks. I thought that would be a good opportunity to try some fruit experiments.

The most successful, by far, was pineapple. The MC book suggests using it with coconut water or rum. I decided to try it with coconut rum (90 proof). The first batch I did just rum and the coconut flavor was so strong you almost couldn't taste the pineapple. The next batch I did with a 50/50 mixture of the coconut rum and pineapple vodka. That was perfect. These were so good. I did another 3 pineapples that night for a friends birthday party. The flavor of these is really well balanced and you don't really taste the alcohol.

I put them in a single layer after cutting it into fairly large chunks, poured in the liquids then sealed. It took about 25 seconds on the VP112 until the liquid started boiling. At that point the pressure wouldn't drop any more. I figure that a lot of the alcohol is boiling out, and since I wanted these to be as strong as possible my goal was to get it to seal as soon as that started happening. After that I set them in the fridge over night.

I also did some baby watermelon with watermelon vodka, which was good, but the alcohol flavor was a little strong for my taste (vs in the pineapple you almost couldn't taste it). These were pretty strong and you'd certainly feel them if you ate enough. Here's a shot of that, the compressed is on the top (obviously). You can see how the watermelon didn't really have much red color before it was compressed (it also wasn't that flavorful at that point)


Finally I did some watermelon with green tea as specified in the MC book. These were also very very good. I brewed some tea using a bag then went through the standard process. The tea seems to add just a slight sweetness and bitterness to the fruit, which really enhances it. I want to get the green tea flavor just slightly more prominent, so might look into maybe getting some powder and sprinkling the watermelon with that as well. It was just a tad too subtle.

It's weird how some flavors came through really strong (i.e. coconut and also tequila which I tried with a few pieces) and others didn't (green tea).

I can't wait till these fruits come into the peak of their season. Even with very mediocre watermelon it was very tasty. It's a perfect option for a summer bbq.

I also want to try a few more things. I think kiwi's would work well but can't decide what to pair with them. I think making a margarita flavor (tequila & cointreau) and infusing them into lime slices could be fun.

Edited by Phaz (log)
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I have a Vacmaster SVP-15. I believe this is the one Nathanm first used. I have had it for several years and it has worked flawlessly with only a little maintenance, repair the sealer bar and change the oil in the vacuum pump. I got it for sous vide but now use it for many other uses. I prepare quite a lot of SV ready portions, chicken, steaks, seafood and cook them SV from frozen. I use it several times a day for something.

Some interesting uses I have found:

Compress cucumber slices for salads, very interesting texture-guests love it.

Compress tomato slices, for salads and deep frying.

Marinating almost anything. Back off the vacuum for berries, fruits, etc.

Sealing adult beverages

Gravys, sauces, soups.

Compressing melons.

Bonding meats using Activa.

Sealing any item you wish to store,ie. pankow, spices, specialty flours, any powdered ingredient such as used for Modernist Cuisine, baking mixes.

The bags are quite inexpensive, although you have to buy in large quantities. I have found that the 4mil bags are much better as they are much less fragile in freezers. I have come to think of them as I would a deli sheet, cheap and disposable.

I like to purchase primal cuts of meats and break them into useable portions,vacuum seal and freeze. This saves a lot of money. I am comfortable with butchering so this may not appeal to many.

Some items are hard to get such as sweet breads, kidneys,liver,duck legs, fois gras and this is a very effective way to save them for future use.

In short, I find my chamber sealer to be absolutely indispensible.

I obtained it from a company in Idaho ,Kodiak. They have provided flawless service and helped me a great deal in learning to use this fine machine.

I hope this helps


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Going to try artichokes: This time without trimming them.

Large Globe Artichoke

1/2C water

3 Slice lemon

2 Bay

Ground fennel and red pepper

I thinking this will bath 1 hr @185.. serve with a lemon garlic aoili


Its good to have Morels

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Yeah Chris.. no trimming for this batch. I have the VP-210 and I set the vacuum time @ 45 seconds, I got some nice compression on the globes, which are large and quite dense. I would say it appears that I don't have any air pockets after compression. This is a first for me. I did see a post that someone had trimmed the chokes first, saying that the outer green is a bit bitter. We'll see and I'll let you know how it goes. These will be sealed 18 hrs prior to cooking them tonight.

Cheers Paul

Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

Its good to have Morels

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Whole Artichokes Sous vide:

1 hr @190 I use an auber-ws thermostat control in a roaster or crock pot.

Results were poor:

Not nearly enough time to cook these big globe chokes, the stems cooked way before anything else. One bag inflated, it was the less dense of the two artichokes.

I liked the flavor of the fennel, lemon and bay, that got infused in the lower heart thou.

I spec mass had something to do with cooking these thing, as the bottom of the choke, Heart, cooked way before any of the actual leaves cook.. possibly because air in/between the leaves insulates the heat transfer.

We like to pick the leaves off and eat the little meat on the ends before attacking the heart , that is what my wife likes. So I think I'll try to trim my next batch and cut them in half. Cheers


Oh one thing I did notice that the color of the chokes had not changed much.

Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

Its good to have Morels

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I spec mass had something to do with cooking these thing, as the bottom of the choke, Heart, cooked way before any of the actual leaves cook.. possibly because air in/between the leaves insulates the heat transfer.

You might also try to add some water/broth/etc to the bags to fill the void spaces to help conduction throughout the artichoke.

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  • 1 year later...

Finally after searching for a reasonably priced one, I bit the bullet and bought a chamber sealer.

The machine is a generic, Chinese, single seal, oil machine

So after doing the sealing thing, I decided to play.

This post contains my first experiment with compression pickling. All vegetables sliced, placed in bag with pickling juice (recipe courtesy of Momofuku cookbook). Each was vacuum sealed, opened and sealed up to a total of three times.

The results were extremely tasty.

The first, pickled watermelon will feature sometime in the future as mock sushi tuna.

pickled watermelon.jpg

The pickled radishes have a finely sliced scallop look that may also come in useful.

pickled radish.jpg

Also did carrots:

pickled carrots.jpg

and cucumber (the best tasting in terms of texture and pickle).

pickled cucumber.jpg

The complete lot in a Mason jar:


Can't wait to play some more.

Edited by heidih (log)

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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Nick, those cucumbers look amazing!

Is your sealer this one? I'll be interested to hear your comments on how it performs - I haven't taken the plunge yet, but I wanna.

Leslie Craven, aka "lesliec"
Host, eG Forumslcraven@egstaff.org

After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relatives ~ Oscar Wilde

My eG Foodblog

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One of my favorite things I've done with my chamber vac is quick pickled Jalapenos. I put thin slices of pepper in a bag with a bit of lime zest, lime juice, a tiny bit of tequila and some salt and sealed it up. I let them sit for an hour or so and served them with Carnitas tacos. Everyone loved them.

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  • 9 months later...

So I was thinking about Chris' disappointment in not reaching "leather" density. I think this will be impossible using just a vacuum sealer. Here are a couple pieces of data to consider: Watermelon has a density of about 0.96 g/cm3. Watermelon juice is about 9 Brix, or 1.03 g/cm3. So assuming you're just getting rid of air, you can only compress watermelon about 10% by volume, which is only about 3% in any linear dimension if we assume isotropic compression. I think the only way to get "leather" is going to be by using a dehydrator to remove water.

ETA: Assumptions: watermelon is air + watermelon juice (ignore solid content). Watermelon juice is incompressible.

Emannths, I've been rereading some of these older posts, and I wonder whether you might be overlooking something.

With almost any chamber vacuum, you can make room temperature water boil. With a really good one, like my MVS-35X, you can make water boil at the triple-point -- under a layer of ice. (Damnedest thing I've ever seen!)

So in addition to squeezing the water out of the vacuoles, you might in addition be boiling off the watermelon juice, whereupon it would be sucked out of the machine, before sealing the bag and applying the compression effect. Doing that several times might both dehydrate and compress the watermelon.

I've done this before, but not recently. Time to try it again.

And do see Unpopular Poet's wild and crazy fruit infusion, in the other chamber vacuum thread.

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  • 2 months later...

I was making the Pho recipe from Heart of the Artichoke and after the meat which had simmered on the bone for 2 hours was tasted, it was dry. I packed the sliced meat in some of Pho broth and vac sealed it. Put in the fridge overnight. The result was a much more moist meat...I kept a couple of non-vacuumed pieces to compare.

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