Well what can I say, I am so excited and in love with my new toy. Yes it’s a vacuum machine! It arrived just after New Year so off I popped to Costco, stocked up on my meats and off I went.
So, Why vacuum pack? What are the benefits?
Vacuum packing is a method in which the air is removed from the packaging prior to sealing. By removing the oxygen it extends the shelf life of your foods but also reduces the volume and allows you to stock or store more as it uses less space. Frozen food that is vacuum sealed lasts an average of 2-3 years, while it will last 6-12 months, on average, stored in other ways. Most vacuum sealed foods will last in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks, which is much longer than the typical 1-3 days food will last when stored conventionally in a refrigerator.
You can also use to store dry foods such as lentils, beans, coffee, nuts, cheese or cured meats. Also great for vegetables too. The list is pretty much endless.
Other benefits include:-
Stop Freezer Burn:– When foods are frozen without preparation, freezer burn can occur. It happens when the surface of the food is dehydrated, and this leads to a dried and leathery appearance. Freezer burn also ruins the flavor and texture of foods. Vacuum packing reduces freezer burn by preventing the food from exposure to the cold, dry air.
Sous-Vide Cooking:- Vacuum packaging also allows for a special cooking method, sous-vide. Sous-vide, French for under vacuum, involves poaching food that is vacuum sealed in a plastic bag.
Food Structure and Flavour:– You can also season or marinade the food before vacuum sealing this allows the seasoning to penetrate into your foods and gives a greater flavour. With vacuum sealing the meats also have nowhere to go so all the fibres in your meats stay rather than relaxing therefore the structure is perfect once cooked.
Here is a rough guide to show shelf life:-