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Vacuum Sealing - Worth It?


joesan
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I've been thinking about buying a Vacuum sealing machine in order to do Sous Vide cooking but I am wondering whether it is worth it. It's a given that it will be helpful for Sous Vide but what about its other uses?

The general opinion seems to be that items can be stored longer when vacuum packed but is this the case practically? Can anyone give me examples of foods that keep longer when vacuum packed or any other benefits that vacuum packing produces, aside from it's use in Sous Vide?

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I vaccum seal all my meats and I think they definately do last longer in the freezer. This enables me to buy more quantities, particularly when things are on sale. I didn't have one for the longest time, and now, I would not be without it. I have also taken to sealing my stocks in 2 cup bags and that works really well for freezing too.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Thanks Jason, Marlene this generally is the kind of thing I was thinking about. But I always struggle with knowing how much longer does the Vacuum packaging extend the life? For example if something I know lasts for three days in the fridge - does that mean I could get 5 days when vacuum packed? And how would you know it remains safe to eat?

Has anyone done empirical tests?

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Thanks Jason, Marlene this generally is the kind of thing I was thinking about. But I always struggle with knowing how much longer does the Vacuum packaging extend the life? For example if something I know lasts for three days in the fridge - does that mean I could get 5 days when vacuum packed? And how would you know it remains safe to eat?

Has anyone done empirical tests?

I have never attempted to extend the refrigerator life of meats. I am not sure this is its intended use. It definitely keeps cheese fresh in the 'fridge and meat in excellent condition in the freezer.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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My father in law is a big fisherman and we are fortunate to receive some of his catch. What we do not eat right away I vacuum pack and we have taken shark out of the freezer six months later and it tastes almost like the day it was caught. Now purists will tell you that freezing breaks down the fibers of anything so nothing will be as good after being frozen, but the vacu seal does a pretty good job.

A lot of restaurants nowadays even vacu seal items when they get them in fresh to keep them even fresher when in the refrigerator.

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Thanks Dave. Seems like the general opinion is that it really does help the preservation of frozen items. I wonder what the improvement is for fridge storage. It stands to reason that since the items are not exposed to the air that there should be some benefit for fridge storage but I wonder if it is quantifiable?

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I use the vacuum containers to seal chopped romaine in the fridge. I am sure I get at least 2-3 more days of non-browned romaine using it. The containers came with the Tilia package I bought at Costco. I've also used one container for brown sugar storage and it stays soft and moist in between uses. That's in the pantry. Just my testimonial, but I believe vac sealing for the fridge works too.

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Thanks - that's the kind of info I was looking for - a solid example of it extending preservation. Seems like there is no doubt its an improvement for freezing, very useful for Sous Vide and it looks like it's also useful in the fridge. On balance it looks like a pretty good investment.

Any more examples of uses in the fridge?

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Thanks - that's the kind of info I was looking for - a solid example of it extending preservation. Seems like there is no doubt its an improvement for freezing, very useful for Sous Vide and it looks like it's also useful in the fridge. On balance it looks like a pretty good investment.

Any more examples of uses in the fridge?

There is a problem with meat in the fridge as when you buy meat from the supermarket as you dont know exactly how fresh it is. Vaccum packing DOES add (a lot so, as fresh vaccum packed meat will preserve itself over a week in the fridge) to preservation of meat in the fridge and there are rules and regulations about this. It does, however have to be very fresh when vaccum packed. Usualy when I want to do this, I buy my meat directly from the butcher, as him to vacuum pack them and ask how long I can keep it.

If you are to do this with supermarket meat, it will help it keep fresh, but I would not suggest keeping it longer then you would keep non-vaccum packed meat as it can be potentialy hasardous.

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Wines and Cheeses. I'm saving a lot of money on those two items alone.

Don't buy the wine vacuum attachment Food Saver makes, doesn't work. Get the other brand, can't think of their name off hand, maybe some one can help. :cool:

Vacu-vin?

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I vacuum pack all meat that is going into the freezer and since I get half a steer every other year, I often have a lot of meat to package.

I also buy meats, season them dry or wet, THEN vacuum pack them and the seasoning penetrates into the meat. There are "instant marinade" things that are simply a container which has its own manual vacuum pump.

It's much easier to do it with the electric appliance. I have small trays with raised lips that I place the bag on before adding the liquid so the stuff won't run all over the counter.

I make up single serving, one-dish meals with rice, partially cooked noodles, other grains, with cooked meats, poultry and vegetables and sauce. I stand the package on one end in a Pyrex measure, clip the top end and heat in the microwave. Better than the commercial stuff and I know what has gone into it.

You can string packages together if you use the seal without cutting between the packages. I seal a slice of bread (a rustic type won't collapse) and in the adjoining package seal slices of roast beef with gravy. Instant open-face roast beef "sandwich."

Vegetables can be partially cooked, seasoned, sauced and vacuum sealed and can be boiled to heat.

I used to make these for camping trips.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I love my vacuum so much, I went out and bought a chamber model when I started sous-vide cooking. Some other things not mentioned include:

1. Herbs and spices. I put them in small ball jars, and seal a lid onto them (you can do this with a foodsaver). My spices last indefinitely with the same strength as when I bought them.

2. Stocks. When I make my stocks, I put one cup portions in some smaller bags, and vaccum process. This lets me store them flat in the freezer, taking up less space (this is difficult with a Foodsaver).

3. Leftovers. I often make pasta side dishes that are more than my wife and I can eat at one sitting. I throw the leftovers in a bag, process, and freeze. Lasts a long time, and reheating is merely throw in the sous-vide if running or in a pot of boiling water. (Foodsaver fine here).

4. Hard, grating cheeses like Romano, etc. I always keep some on hand, but it used to start to mold on me. Now I grate what I need, and throw the remaining hunk into a vacuum bag. Lasts weeks and weeks without deterioration.

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I have a FoodSaver that I am not entirely happy with. Does anyone have a vacuum sealer that they can recommend?

And yes, I could not live without it for the freezer.

What exactly are you not happy with? Some machines have better feature then others, Foodsaver has a pro line but the basic principle is all the same and the mecanism to suck the air (and unfortunatly all liquids and juices) out is similar in all machines.

If you really want somethint with better performances you have to be ready to spend around 2000$ for a machine with a vacuum chamber.

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I bought my machine HERE and I have been quite happy with it.

The difference is that with a chamber machine, you put the whole bag in the unit, close the lid, and the air is removed from the entire chamber. As a result, the outer atmosphere doesn't push on the bag, and squeeze out liquids or powders. Once the air is removed, the bag is sealed, and THEN the atmosphere is let back into the chamber. That causes the bag to collapse, but since it's sealed, there's no mess or spills. I love using it for my stocks :)

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The FoodSavers come with a hose and plastic cap that fits over the metal lid to the jar. Just put your dried herbs into the jar, put the lid on top, and the plastic cover on top of that. Push it down so the rubber gasket inside the plastic cap comes down over the jar. Hook the hose up to the foodsaver and start the sealing process.... All there is to it. I believe they provide directions on sealing ball jars...

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I've been thinking about buying a Vacuum sealing machine in order to do Sous Vide cooking but I am wondering whether it is worth it. It's a given that it will be helpful for Sous Vide but what about its other uses?

The general opinion seems to be that items can be stored longer when vacuum packed but is this the case practically? Can anyone give me examples of foods that keep longer when vacuum packed or any other benefits that vacuum packing produces, aside from it's use in Sous Vide?

I don't know about the sous vide, but I've worn out 2 food savers, and wouldn't be without one. I vacuum pack not only what I freeze (including soup, stock, sauces) but also cold cuts, bacon, cheese ... it seals jars (NOT, as they say, a substitute for heat packing) and their vacuum containers are pretty nice. It also cuts the time it takes to marinate things if you have the shallow, square container ..

I'd say go for it! Make sure it has a separate 'instant seal' button, and a port for the jar sealer thingies .. that is, go for a medium to high end model.

Lynn

Oregon, originally Montreal

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting "holy shit! ....what a ride!"

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