The invention of vacuum sealing occurred during World War II and its ability to keep food fresher for longer is now well-known. But you may find yourself wondering whether vacuum food sealers are an appropriate tool for chicken, where it’s important to prepare and cook it thoroughly to avoid food poisoning.
The great news is that this versatile technique can absolutely be applied to chicken. So, if you already have a vacuum sealer (or need another reason to purchase one!), then you’ll soon be on your way to less food wastage and big cost savings!
The principle of vacuum sealing is to suck all the air out of a specially designed non-permeable plastic bag, leaving just your food inside. When you seal the bag airtight, air cannot re-enter to react with the bacteria and thus extends the shelf-life of your food. A machine known as a vacuum sealer or vacuum packer can both extract the air and seal your package.
The freshness of food can be impacted by oxygen and moisture, both of which may react with bacteria on your food to develop into mould. Removing the air in your vacuum-sealed package helps to preserve your chicken for longer.
One of the main advantages of vacuum sealing your chicken is that you can maintain its freshness, which means you can benefit from bulk purchasing power to reduce the cost of your chicken as well as reduce waste. This process can extend the shelf life of meats from the typical 6 months of conventional freezing to 1-2 years.
You can also protect your chicken from freezer burn. Normal freezing leads to moisture evaporating from your meat, leaving it looking grey and dehydrated. A vacuum-sealed packet of chicken prevents the loss of moisture, maintaining its quality for longer.
Vacuum-sealing chicken takes a little more effort than simply popping your supermarket packaging straight into the fridge or freezer, but when you consider the benefits, it’s well worth the effort.
Raw chicken can be sealed following the steps above. Without vacuum sealing, it will typically last 3-4 days in the refrigerator, but placing it in an airtight bag can extend its lifetime to 13 days.
You don’t have to vacuum seal frozen meat as it is a sturdier food product than fruit, so it doesn’t require flash-freezing first. In fact, flash-freezing meat can lead to freezer burn.
Defrosting vacuum-sealed chicken can be done exactly the same as defrosting any meat. The most common and safest method is to thaw your chicken in the fridge, overnight. Simply pop the whole package onto a plate to capture any melting ice and leave it in the fridge until you need it.
Alternatively, the cold-water method can also work if you’re in a hurry. Fill your sink or a small container with cold tap water and place the whole vacuum seal bag inside to thaw.
Vacuum-sealed chicken can be cooked directly in the bag. A common method is to sous-vide the bag and its contents, which produces juicy, flavourful chicken dishes. Of course, you could also simply boil the bag if you don’t own a sous-vide machine.
On the whole, a defrosted vacuum-sealed chicken can last up to 13 days in the fridge[KS1] . But just how do you tell if your chicken is still safe for consumption?
If your chicken has changed colour, then there’s a good chance that it’s spoiled. Raw chicken should have a light pink colour, while cooked chicken is usually white. It’s also worth checking the texture – if your chicken is slimy or feels like mucus, don’t eat it.
Chicken has gone bad if it smells pungent or foul. Quite often you’ll know your chicken is bad if it smells of rotten eggs – the smell is distinctive, and you can’t miss it. Take extra care if you’ve marinaded your meat as the spices can sometimes mask the smell of spoiled chicken.
For cooked chicken, you can check if it’s still safe to eat by taking a small nibble – just make sure not to swallow! Chicken that’s spoiled will typically have a sour taste and won’t taste good at all.
In our search to save ourselves a few pennies, vacuum-sealing foods can be a great way to preserve food, reduce waste, and take advantage of cheaper bulk purchase prices. Like many types of meat, chicken can be vacuum sealed safely to be enjoyed later.
At First Food Machinery, we stock a wide range of vacuum pack machines to meet your business needs. Get in touch with us today to find out more.