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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?

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.

Hawthorne, good old Santa is planning to bring me a food saver this year. What model do you have? Thanks!

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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.

Hawthorne, good old Santa is planning to bring me a food saver this year. What model do you have? Thanks!

Ah well .. they change their model numbers the way people change their socks ... mine is a 1500, I think, and includes a storage chamber and cutter for bags and seems not to be available any longer. I don't think I'd do the storage part again - it makes the unit rather bulky, though you may have better storage options than I have. The cutter is nice, though. But when the last one went, I really needed to replace it, and that was pretty much what was available over the 'basic' model .. seemed like a good idea at the time. Mid price .. I think the MRP on it was about $180, but I bought it for less. Looks like the prices have come steadily down since I bought the first one, too. That would have been about 10 years ago, and I had to swallow hard to come up with the price on spec. They didn't used to have so many optional models ...

This seems to be their latest 'do it all' model Food Saver, and I don't know how much you gain by spending more money - unless higher priced models include more toys or something. Check out their 'all products' list, and tell Santa to google the model you favour; it can probably be had somewhere at a substantial discount :-)

Mine regularly sees a couple of hours a week's use, and I get 2 - 3 years out of them, about. This one I have now is about 2 years old, (maybe 3; time flies when you're having fun) and it seems to be soldiering on .. touch wood! lol! I pack a lot of meat; there are only 3 of us, and we aren't big eaters, but it's cheaper to buy (and often cook) for more ... it's probably the appliance I use the most. I squawk about the price of the bag material, but it saves enough food to warrant it I think.

Theoretically, you can reuse bag material, but I haven't have good results with that. Maybe I'm doing something wrong .. YMMV on that issue ..

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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I have a Deni. It works fairly well but finding the Deni Vacuum Rolls are hard to find. I may upgrade to the Tila Foodsaver, the one I'm looking at is ~$159 with a three stage pump. Can't say if that is an improvement over the two stage pump on my Deni, but the rolls of sealer material are more easily found.

A good trick is to apply your rub or seasoning to meats and then seal them up. Really helps get the flavor into the meat and you can freeze it and when ready defrost and cook.

I have also made Gumbo and Jambalaya, sealed it into bags, froze it and then just put the bag into a pot of boiling water th reheat.

Edited by craig001 (log)
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I have the Tilia Professional II, which I bought at Costco (or Sam's Club) two years ago.

like this, charcoal gray I paid 199.00

I use it a great deal. I went through 5 of the earlier models, 2 lasted less than a year each, the others 2-3 years.

This one is still going strong.

I buy the bags from Goodman's.

They have the Tilia brand and a couple of others that work just fine.

I buy the 8-roll pack of the large rolls and the 132 pack of quart-sized bags of the generic bags on page 1.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"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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Oh yeah, it's worth it. We get to have "fresh", wild salmon all year round. When it is in season we buy a lot of it, or when we're lucky enough, we get to go on a friend's boat and catch our own. We bring it home, vacuum seal it, and pop it in the freezer. We have enough to last us till the next salmon season, which is a wonderful treat. Farm-raised salmon just isn't acceptable after you've had the real thing.

There are things we buy in bulk from a place called "Made in France", a really upscale wharehouse that sells to restaurants. They open up to the public every-so-often and you can buy fancy pate', spices in large bags (5-pepper blend or Tellicherry pepper, that you can seal in reasonably sized bags. and too many other things to mention.

We also tend to "cook for the fleet". There are certain things (spaghetti sauce, chili, pulled pork, etc.) that if you're going to take the time to do them right, you might as well make enough for a small army. It is great to come home from work on those days when you are past exhausted, and have a wonderful, comforting meal you just need to heat up.

The list could go on and on. We freeze things in the bags that you cut to fit what you are freezing, as well as the plastic containers that you can vacuum seal. We're about to vacuum seal some cassoulet that we spent 7 hours making on Saturday. It will be nice to have some of it again in a few weeks, or months.

So, if any of you are still thinking about getting one, do it. You will get great use out of it.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne."

John Maynard Keynes

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This is a "crossover" post - regarding fruitcakes that are so dense that the liquid doesn't soak into the cake - wrap the cake in a very damp cloth, mositened with the liquor you use.

Vacuum seal the cake and leave it for a couple of days, repeat weekly for 3-4 weeks, using a fresh back each time to be sure of a good seal.

This works much like the "instant marinade" containers, drawing the liquid into the cake.

Posted also on the "Aged Fruitcake" thread.

"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'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 definantly feel a vac pac is beneficial. It extends the life of meats a lot and not just in the freezer. At my place we vacuum pack all of our meats and fish. You can do a side by side. Wrap chicken up put it in the walk in. Vacuum Pack chicken and it will last far longer. Im all about the kryovac. Other than meats and fish, sous vide is an obvious use.

Visit the TestKitchen

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Rocklobster - everyone has been very helpful but you are one of the first mentioning experience of it being useful refrigerated rather than frozen - and that is the information that I am really after. It seems a given that it is great for the freezer but can you give some examples of how long it can prolong foods in the fridge?

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Rocklobster - everyone has been very helpful but you are one of the first mentioning experience of it being useful refrigerated rather than frozen - and that is the information that I am really after. It seems a given that it is great for the freezer but can you give some examples of how long it can prolong foods in the fridge?

My experience indicates that you get several days of added refrigerator life. But, as in all things, that general experience is not a universal truth. Remember your product may not have been subject to pristine handling prior to your having received it.

Also, you need to be very careful with the low oxygen environment and temperatures in the average home refrigerator. Clostridium botulinum can reproduce at temperatures exceeding 37F. Most home refrigerators sit near 40F and if you have, say, kids, more like 45F.

Here's how I use vacuum packing for home refrigeration. The purpose is to duplicate as closely as possible the environment of a commercial fish file. In a 32 - 35F refrigerator, I place a 25# plastic fish tub (get these from your fish vendor, his wholesaler delivers stuff to him in them). On top of that tub, I nest a 10# fish tub with most of the bottom cut out. On top of that, I nest a plastic basket into the cut out opening. I place vacuum packed fish filets in the plastic basket and cover them with crushed ice. So, now the fish is being held at 32F. Most fish that was prisitine when I purchased it will hold 5 or more days in this environment.

Tonight, I will use for dinner a piece of tuna that I purchased Saturday. I know the whole fish hit my vendor on Friday night. I watched him take the fish off ice and fillet it. I immediately vacuum bagged my piece and put it under ice for the drive home (only necessary because I knew this was Tuesday's fish). Then I placed in in my fake fish file. I am confident that it will be nearly as good as it would have been Saturday.

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Michael - thanks that is very helpful - and I like your storage "hack"! I was thinking about fish and meats in general when I asked the question. If you look at the graphs for the increased spoilage rate for fish for even a few degrees above the optimum temperature the acceleration in spoilage is incredible. I believe it is due to increased enzyme activity at the higher temperatures (obviously fish living in cold seas have trigger points for this activity at a much lower rate than beef for example).

Any experience with vegetables?

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Michael -

Any experience with vegetables?

I have never vacuum bagged vegetables for storage and cannot think of any that I would consider doing so.

Now, I would cut, blanch and shock vegetables; mix with sauce; portion; vacuum bag before service; hold at near freezing; heat in the bag for service.

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