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Vacuum-sealing liquids in bags, without a chamber sealer


bonkboo
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My Anova is supposed to arrive tomorrow so I'll be back and sous viding (if I can be googling...). I have a food saver system but I'm concerned about things like brines getting sucked out. Any thoughts on how best to seal liquids in a recipe?

Thanks

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if you don't have a chamber vacuum sealer, the best methods are either to seal via displacement with a zip top bag, or try to freeze the liquids in the bag before sealing

you WILL eventually ruin a clamp type sealer by sucking liquids into the system.

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Well, that may be, but I haven't killed mine yet, and almost all of my sealing is of bags containing liquids! I elevate the FoodSaver above the bag, and press the "Seal" button as soon as the liquid starts to get pulled up the mesh of the bag. If your reaction time is good, you can often stop the vacuum before any liquid is drawn all the way up to the seal area. I also double-seal, running another strip along above the initial seal.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Here is what I have done, assuming not a lot of liquid.

Fold a sheet of paper towel into a strip.

Place the strip in front of the food.

Start vacuum. The paper towel will trap the liquid before the liquid gets to the machine. When you see the strip getting very wet, seal the bag.

dcarch

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Here is what I have done, assuming not a lot of liquid.

Fold a sheet of paper towel into a strip.

Place the strip in front of the food.

Start vacuum. The paper towel will trap the liquid before the liquid gets to the machine. When you see the strip getting very wet, seal the bag.

dcarch

The paper towel doesn't suck up the liquid?

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Here is what I have done, assuming not a lot of liquid.

Fold a sheet of paper towel into a strip.

Place the strip in front of the food.

Start vacuum. The paper towel will trap the liquid before the liquid gets to the machine. When you see the strip getting very wet, seal the bag.

dcarch

The paper towel doesn't suck up the liquid?

That is the whole idea. Have the paper towel suck up the liquid and stop the liquid from getting into the machine.

Also, sometime the oil in the liquid can make the seal unreliable.

dcarch

Edited by dcarch (log)
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call me crazy but I want neither a bag with only a weak 'vacuum' (displacement would be more evacuated than a race to the sealer switch partial evacuation) NOR to do a sous vide cook with a paper towel in the bag (and whatever chemicals treat said paper towel)

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call me crazy but I want neither a bag with only a weak 'vacuum' (displacement would be more evacuated than a race to the sealer switch partial evacuation) NOR to do a sous vide cook with a paper towel in the bag (and whatever chemicals treat said paper towel)

Why does the amount of vacuum matter? The liquid in the bag will conduct the heat to the protein just fine.

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For long term cooking of anything with a lot of liquid, short of a chamber vacuum sealer, I prefer oven bags secured with hog rings.

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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My Anova is supposed to arrive tomorrow so I'll be back and sous viding (if I can be googling...). I have a food saver system but I'm concerned about things like brines getting sucked out. Any thoughts on how best to seal liquids in a recipe?

Thanks

Just to be clear, is your primary concern about losing the liquid (i.e. possibly compromising the recipe in some way), making a mess, or damaging the machine?

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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My Anova is supposed to arrive tomorrow so I'll be back and sous viding (if I can be googling...). I have a food saver system but I'm concerned about things like brines getting sucked out. Any thoughts on how best to seal liquids in a recipe?

Thanks

Just to be clear, is your primary concern about losing the liquid (i.e. possibly compromising the recipe in some way), making a mess, or damaging the machine?

I suppose all of the above.

Definitely concerned about recipe integrity.

As for the machine, I've gotten a lot of use from this food saver. Indeed I have my eye on the newer models that seem to have a marinade setting. Maybe that's the solution short of a chamber sealer.

Would injecting the liquid keep it from getting sucked away?

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for SV a 'real' vaccuum is not necessary, you just don't want air in the bag to prevent it from floating and to allow the hot water full contact with the food. That's why the displacement with ziploc bags works just fine. As long as there's good and even heat transfer you're good to go.

Not sure what you mean by injecting, injecting into the food? Or later into the bag? There's a way with some special tape (I believe) that allows you to insert a meat thermometer for SV, that might work for injecting liquid too, don't know.

I use a food saver the same way Chris H describes above, works well and easy. If I have a marinade in the bag, which I don't do often. Can overpower the food easily. I marinade and then let most drip off, then seal.

Also at least my food saver has this little moat where I tuck the end of the bag in (held by plastic parts) and if some marinade gets in there, you can just take that plastic part out and wash it. I've never had liquid get into the machine itself.

"And don't forget music - music in the kitchen is an essential ingredient!"

- Thomas Keller

Diablo Kitchen, my food blog

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call me crazy but I want neither a bag with only a weak 'vacuum' (displacement would be more evacuated than a race to the sealer switch partial evacuation) NOR to do a sous vide cook with a paper towel in the bag (and whatever chemicals treat said paper towel)

Why does the amount of vacuum matter? The liquid in the bag will conduct the heat to the protein just fine.

pockets of air (in addition to making bags float) heat unevenly relative to the liquid

but in any case, if your feeling is that air in the bag 'doesn't matter', then why not just squeeze a ziplock?

what's the advantage then of using a sealer at all?

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call me crazy but I want neither a bag with only a weak 'vacuum' (displacement would be more evacuated than a race to the sealer switch partial evacuation) NOR to do a sous vide cook with a paper towel in the bag (and whatever chemicals treat said paper towel)

The solution to this is to start with a long "tail" on the bag with the "paper towel dam" situated somewhere in the middle. After the bag is sealed, simply reseal the bag below the paper towel dam and cut away the excess.

--

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Personally I find I am able to more completely evacuate the air from the bag using the Foodsaver than I can with any of the various Ziploc techniques, including immersion. As you note, you do want to do a good job of getting air out of the bag: but as gfweb and Oliver note, it only has to be good enough to ensure even heat transfer and minimal loss of liquid during the vacuum process. Again, I use this technique regularly (to make the Modernist Cuisine vegetable stock), and haven't had any significant issues with it to date.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Even if you have a chamber sealer the liquid needs to be cooled before sealing. If it isn't it can boil out of the bag in the vacuum.

When I used my food saver for sous vide, I always used the same method as Chris Hennes if liquid was involved or froze the liquid into ice cubes and sealed normally. Either of these will give you the result you want without any of the negative effects you wish to avoid.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

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

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I used to get very bent out of shape over air pockets in the bags for sous vide. It was my primary motivation for getting a chamber sealer, though I found many good uses for it after the purchase.

It turns out little air pockets just don't have a huge effect on sous vide. Sure, you don't want half of the protein in a giant air pocket within the bag, but some bubbles here and there aren't going to make much of a difference, especially for the really long cooking times. Remember, even though it does so poorly, air still conducts heat.

I use ziploc bags more now than I did before I had a chamber sealer. It's easier, and I don't have to worry about compression for things like chicken or fish. I usually try to keep the zipper portion of the bag out of the water (in case it fails), so any left over bubbles from the displacement method float up to the zipper portion, leaving the food completely submerged. YMMV

Seth

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"Under Vacuum" and "under pressure" are such bad names for this kind of cooking, namely Sous Vide.

First, there is never any vacuum or pressure created, regardless what kind of machine you use. The pressure inside, if you measure, is equal to normal atmosphere pressure outside.

The purpose of "vacuuming" is no more than to remove as much air as possible so that the bag will not float, and for better thermal contact.

dcarch

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I've taken to using mostly ziplocs and not very carefully using the displacement method directly in the bath to start with. 10 minutes later, I can come back and all the air will have been pushed to a single corner and you can use the displacement method again to get it out. Especially with vegetables, some degree of off gassing is inevitable which means you end up having to let air out multiple times anyway. It helps to have asbestos hands when you're doing this but I end up preferring ziplocs to foodsaver bags because of this ability.

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PS: I am a guy.

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Not sealing your bags allows you to reuse bags again and again. You also save time not having to vacuum and seal.

 

You can taste the food at some point to make sure it's good enough, if the bag is open. Or check temperature.

 

I use a heavy stainless steel rod clamped to the bottom (outside) of the bag to weigh the bag down to displace all the air out without sealing the bag.

 

dcarch

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  • 4 weeks later...

I recently received a PolyScience Professional CREATIVE, and I love it.  I have been using Ziploc bags and a straw, and that has worked fine.  Having said that, I am pestering family members for an unused food vacuum sealer, as very often I get marginally buoyant bags that I think might be better if they were evacuated more than my lungs can do (I smoked for years, and while I also quit years ago, my lungs haven't returned to normal [i am a classically trained and former semi-professional clarinetist, and while I haven't played that in years either, my normal might not be your normal]).  I have, in the mean time, been using an overturned colander that fits in my water bath to keep things from floating, and that has worked great.

Edited by EdipisReks (log)
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I use magnets to hold things in place in my bath. I use these from DX, they are super strong and very heavy, and easily holds on through the bag or through the plastic tub which is my bath.

 

(Once I even put them on opposite sides of a frozen burger I wanted to sink, and thought; cool it holds through a 2cm thick burger! Of course when I came back two hours later to get my burger it had a hole in the middle... Donutburger, berfect for bagels:)

 

K

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