Vacuum food sealers are small appliances that help keep food fresh longer, by removing the air from food placed either in bags or special vacuum-sealable jars. They also create compact packages that fit better in the refrigerator or freezer. Vacuum-sealed food may be prepared by removing it from the vacuum bag and cooking it, or cooked directly in the bag, a process called sous vide. Most vacuum sealers are fairly simple to use, but learning a few tips and tricks can make the process of vacuum sealing food even easier.
Use Paper Towels When Sealing Liquids
Sealing bags containing liquids can be difficult; some vacuum food sealers will pull the liquid out of the bag with the air, resulting in dry food or an uneven seal. Placing a folded paper towel or rag in the top of the bag before you seal it will soak up some of the liquid and provide an even seal. This keeps juicy foods like meat and fruit moist. Soups, stews and other wet foods are best sealed in a jar or canister, rather than a bag.
Avoid Dust When Sealing Powder
Sealing powder, flour, sugar and other light, granular materials can be tricky. After all, the same vacuum force that pulls air out of the powder container can also loft the material inside. Bits of flour or sugar get stuck in the seal, creating weak spots. To avoid this problem, press the handle of a spoon or fork into the powder to create air channels before sealing, or place a coffee filter in the top of the jar to keep down flying dust. Powders are best sealed in jars, since sealing them in bags can be messy.
Wrap meats, cheeses and other strong or greasy foods in plastic wrap before placing them in a bag for sealing. This prevents them from contaminating the bag, making it much easier to reuse old bags without washing them first.
Prefreeze Wet Foods and Meat
Another option for liquid food is to prefreeze it before vacuum sealing. The vacuum sealer treats the chunk of frozen liquid much like a solid, reducing the risk of a bad seal. Prefreezing meat in individual portions is also a good idea -- it prevents the need to defrost a large chunk of meat to cut it up later. Take care when freezing meat with sharp protruding bones -- they can puncture the vacuum sealer bag.
- Photo Credit veal meat image by Maria Brzostowska from Fotolia.com