Food Vacuum Sealers–An Intelligent Way to Save Food
We’re probably all familiar with the George Carlin “Ice Box Man” comedy routine, where he talks about leftovers:
Leftovers make you feel good twice…When you first put them away, you feel really intelligent: “I’m saving food!”. And then, after a month, when hair is growing out of them, and you throw them away, you feel really intelligent: “I’m saving my life!”
Well, nowadays there are ways to save leftovers in a way that the food can remain 5 times as long in the fridge, and still be as good as when you cooked it! Food spoilage can occur when microbes in the food utilize oxygen in the air to produce waste products, or when the food itself reacts with oxygen. There are food vacuum sealers that remove the air from a bag or container of food and then allow you to seal them hermetically.
Storing leftovers safely is not the only advantage of a food vacuum sealer. They can also help you save space, by packing food as compactly as possible. You can also use the sealed bags of food in “sous vide” cooking. You can even use them on dry foods such as potato chips and snacks that you store in your pantry so that they’ll remain fresh longer as well. And vacuum sealing food will prevent “freezer burn”, where food in the freezer shrivels up from the loss of moisture while being frozen too long. Vacuum sealing in a bag or container locks the moisture inside, to avoid freezer burn.
We’ll go through some of the options among food vacuum sealers. Besides the basic functions of vacuuming out the air and sealing the food, some also will allow you to make your own custom-size freezer bags. And some have the advantage of a double-heat seal, which is convenient when freezing liquids. Let’s get familiar with this neat appliance that’ll make you feel intelligent, much more than twice!
Types of Food Vacuum Sealers
Most of the food vacuum sealers in the Best Reviews Guide Top 10 are small appliances that fit on your countertop. But, there are some other versions that you may encounter:
Countertop sealer: As the name suggests, these are convenient items of around 18” in length and 9” wide at most, that you can operate on your countertop. When you’re finished, they can be stored away vertically, such as the FoodSaver PowerVac Vacuum Sealer.
FoodSaver PowerVac Vacuum Sealer
Chamber vacuum sealers: Countertop sealers are used for sealing one bag at a time. If you have a large quantity of food that you want to vacuum seal, you may want to invest in a chamber vacuum sealer. The appliance removes air from the entire chamber at once and seals all of the bags at the same time. You can find chamber vacuum sealers that can accommodate 4, 6, or even 8 liters. You put each piece of meat, poultry, or fish in an individual bag. You can then insert several bags at once into the vacuum sealing chamber. An example is the Avid Armor Chamber Vacuum Sealer.
Avid Armor Chamber Vacuum Sealer Ultra Series (Model No. USV20)
Handheld sealer unit: Besides being able to vacuum seal bags, there are also food vacuum sealers with a special hose attachment for vacuum sealing containers of food, and even wine bottles. The FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer Machine has a retractable handheld sealer, that can be used to vacuum seal special containers. It can also be used to vacuum seal zipper bags.
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer Machine, with the hand sealer (right)
What reviewers say
Here’s what customers say about their choice of food vacuum sealer:
Settings for dry or moist foods: Most food vacuum sealers will have two settings: one for dry foods, and one for moist foods. It’s understood that moist foods need a stronger seal, to prevent leakage. Some also have a “double-seal option”, if you want to vacuum seal large items.
Love keeping food fresh: Customers are pleased with the fact that vacuum-frozen food will taste just as good as the day you cooked it. That’s a significant difference from using regular freezer bags.
Certain foods need to be frozen first: To keep bread and other baked goods fresh, it’s recommended to wrap them in cling film and freeze them. After they’re frozen, you can use the vacuum-sealing. That will also help the bread maintain its form.
Here are some tips regarding the use of a food vacuum sealer, depending on the model that you purchase:
Filling the bags: It’s not recommended to fill the bags to the top, since they won’t seal properly. Also, when vacuum sealing pieces of fish, experts recommend drying off the fish and freezing it before vacuum sealing it, so that you don’t freeze the water inside as well. Also, you should place the pieces of fish either skin-to-skin or flesh-to-flesh, so as to avoid contamination from one piece to another.
How long can you keep vacuum-sealed food: Freezing food will keep it from spoiling for anywhere from 3 to 6 months. But, vacuum-sealing it as well will allow you to store it for as long as 18 months!
Sous-vide: There are a number of sous vide cookers, which utilize vacuum-sealed foods. Sous vide (French for “under vacuum”) cooking is done at low temperatures, which maintains the texture and flavor of the food. But there is a risk of microbe proliferation and spoilage if the food isn’t vacuum-sealed. A food vacuum sealer will allow you to prepare food by sous vide as well!
Using the plastic vacuum bag roll: You may want to cut vacuum bags to a custom length, instead of trying to find a bag large enough for your food items. You first seal one end of the bag, using the “seal” option on the vacuum sealer. You then cut the length of the bag that you require, and put in the food item, taking care not to fill it too full. You can then seal the other end of the bag.
We’ve studied some of the advantages of food vacuum sealers. It might not be an appliance for everyday use. But it can certainly save the day when you have leftovers and you’re looking for an adequate way to preserve the quality of the food. Also, you can vacuum-wrap individual-size portions, instead of having to warm up more than you need. All in all, a food vacuum sealer will save all the effort you put into food preparation!