You can use this important tool to seal and preserve your ingredients and other perishables when you buy in bulk.
Besides owning airtight food storage containers, learning how to use a vacuum sealer will save you many storage hassles.
Additionally, a vacuum sealer comes in handy when you’re using your sous vide precision cooker. It eliminates all the air from the bag, thus allowing your food to cook entirely in vacuum, thus ensuring superbly well-cooked meals.
Why You Should Own a Vacuum Sealer
There are a plethora of benefits that you get by owning a vacuum sealer. It is the best investment when you need to reduce food wastage and enhance your cooking experiences.
Here are three scenarios when a vacuum sealer will make life easy for you:
When Storing Food
If you’re not careful with the method you use to store food leftovers, you’re likely to experience food poisoning. Storing the food on an open surface creates a perfect environment for harmful bacteria to multiply, which can cause severe health complications.
As such, you should ensure that you store the food in an environment that’s free of contamination. One of the surest ways to achieve that is by using a vacuum sealer.
This appliance removes air from the storage bag, thus creating a vacuum. This process is crucial since it ensures that microbes do not multiply, thus protecting your food from going bad.
When Using a Sous Vide Precision Cooker
Sous Vide Precision Cooker machine allows you to cook your meals in vacuum-sealed containers. This is a slow-cooking technique that enables you to get evenly cooked meals that are soft and tender.
However, there is a catch!
You must be able to seal the food containers without allowing any air in. This is very tricky if you’re doing it manually.
To avoid the hassle, you should invest in a vacuum sealer. The machine will seal multiple bags within a short time. It guarantees efficacy and convenience.
You Buy Food in Bulk
If you have a big family, buying food items in bulk is always a great idea. It saves you money and time.
However, you should be careful to ensure that your supplies remain fresh for a long time. If you fail in this, then the benefits of buying in bulk will be eroded.
One of the safest methods to store your food is by vacuum sealing it. The absence of air ensures that microbes do not survive on the food containers, thus preventing them from going bad.
How to Use a Vacuum Sealer
What you Need
- Vacuum bags
- Food item to preserve/ cook using sous vide machine
- Vacuum sealer
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use a Vacuum Sealer
1. Get the Right Vacuum bags
If you want to get the best results, you should get the right vacuum bags. Always remember that the primary concept is to achieve a vacuum environment (free of air).
As such, getting bags with large pores that can allow air in will neutralize all your efforts. We recommend FoodVacBags, FoodSaver, or WeVac vacuum bags. These bags do not let air in and can preserve your ingredients/food items for months – or even years!
The right vacuum package/bags should be textured on the open end. This helps with grip and enhances chances of sealing success
Additionally, you should always ensure that you use the right size of vacuum bags. When it is too big, it will be a waste. When too small, it will lead to a mess and you may not be able to entirely seal the bag.
2. Prepare Your Food/ Ingredients
Preparing your ingredients is necessary since it helps you to preserve space. Ensure that you remove all the parts that you are not interested in. For example, if you do not like fat on your meat, then you can remove it before storage.
Additionally, you should cut the meat/ other ingredients into small pieces that can fit in the vacuum bags available.
Finally, you must ensure that you remove sharp edges on your food. Sharp bones or any other item that can pierce the vacuum bag will compromise the whole process.
If you’re unable to remove the sharp edges, we recommend that you wrap them with a kitchen towel to maintain the integrity of the bags.
3. Vacuum Sealing Liquids
If you want to vacuum seal liquids, you will have to freeze them first. Ensure that you put them into a freezer a few hours before vacuum sealing. This suppresses all the microbes and makes it easy for you to seal the bag.
4. Fill the Bag
Once you’re through with preparing your meals/ingredients, you should fill the bag. Be careful not to overfill the bag since it will be difficult to seal it. Always leave some room between the top of the bag and your food.
5. Vacuum Seal Your Bag
All vacuum sealers work under the same principle. They suck out the air from the bag and seal it without allowing air in. At the end of the process, you should have a sealed bag with no air.
If you still have your user’s manual, you may need to go through it. If not, then worry not. Using a vacuum sealer is not rocket science. Follow these simple steps:
- Ensure that your vacuum seal is plugged in/ charged
- Lay the vacuum bag on your counter and open the vacuum sealer’s lid
- Lift the bag slightly and place the opening on the vacuum sealer sealing strip
- Close the lid tightly and click the “seal” button
- Once the sealing is done, the machine will notify you through a click sound or light on the done button
You should note that different vacuum sealer models have different user interfaces. Some have more buttons and functionalities than others. As such, you should play around with your interface and learn how to use all the buttons.
Additionally, we have handheld vacuum sealers that work using the same concept. Unlike the countertop models, you will have to hold the sealers, insert the bag, and hand press to seal it. Such vacuum sealer machines are largely battery-operated and you must ensure that it is charged before using it.
Storing Vacuum Sealed Foods
Now that you’re through with vacuum sealing, you should store the food in a safe place. Such food will remain fresh since the vacuum environment does not favor the growth of microbes.
However, that does not mean that you can store the food for years! The vacuum sealing only helps to prolong the shelf life by around five times. For example, vacuum-sealed meat will be fresh for around a week, beyond that, I wouldn’t recommend that you cook it.
However, if you put the vacuum-sealed meat in a freezer, it can last for 2-3 years! Yes, even without vacuum sealing, frozen meat lasts for approximately 6 months. As such, storing your vacuum-sealed meals in a freezer is always a good idea.
How to Clean a Vacuum Sealer after Use
After using the vacuum sealer, ensure that you clean it. This will help you get rid of juices that may have dripped on the machine during the sealing process.
All you need to achieve this is a clean, damp cloth. Ensure that you soak it using warm, soapy water. Use it to wipe the sealing strip, drip tray, vacuum chamber, and the outer surface of the machine.
How to Use a Vacuum Sealer – Wrap Up
A vacuum sealer is essential when you want to preserve your meals for a long time. If you’re a fan of bulk buying or you use sous vide machine frequently, then a vacuum sealer is a necessity.
However, many people struggle using the vacuum sealer. As a result, they do not get the expected results.
If you’ve struggled with how to use a vacuum sealer, then this guide is for you. We offer 3 simple steps that will revolutionize your use of the machine. It will be fun and highly efficient.
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.