The benefits of vacuum-sealing foods like meat and fish are well-known. You can store your food for longer, preserve the flavours and textures, and reduce food waste – all vitally important as we try and reduce our costs in our homes and businesses.
But have you ever wondered whether you can vacuum seal liquids? And if you can, why would you even want to?
While a little extra effort is needed to successfully vacuum seal liquids, it can absolutely be done and is well worth your time! Read on to find out more.
The technique of vacuum sealing food has been around for decades but has become increasingly popular in recent times. Using a specially designed machine, you remove all the air from your food package before you seal it airtight.
But just why should you vacuum seal your food?
By vacuum sealing your food before you store it, you remove the air and any bacteria living on it. Not only does this reduce the risk of food poisoning, but you can also store your food 3-5 times longer than simply freezing it as it comes. In the case of raw meat, you’ll commonly see guidance advising you to consume it within 6 months of freezing. If you vacuum seal that same meat first, you can extend the storage time to 2-3 years.
Vacuum sealing your food preserves both its flavour and texture, particularly when you’re storing the food in the freezer.
A common issue with storing fish and meat in the freezer is the dreaded freezer burn. When air comes into contact with water crystals around your food, it causes a greyish-brown discolouration, gives it a leathery texture, and ultimately, ruins the taste. Vacuum sealing prevents freezer burn from occurring in the first place.
Many of us often batch-cook our foods, including soups and sauces, to save us time later. Using a vacuum sealer allows us to store our food conveniently in the freezer, saving any leftovers to consume at a later date and reducing the amount of food we throw away.
It often comes as a surprise that you can vacuum seal liquids. The idea just doesn’t occur to many of us. But why wouldn’t you want the benefit of enjoying your soups and stocks later on?
You can vacuum seal almost any liquid. Common examples include homemade soups, stocks, and sauces. In addition, you could vacuum seal marinated meat, complete with the marinade to help the flavours develop even better!
On the odd occasion when you have a little wine leftover, why not vacuum seal it and store it in the freezer? It’s the ideal way to add a dash of wine to your cooking at a later date, without needing to open a whole bottle.
Most vacuum sealers are edge-style machines, which clamp down on the edge of the open bag and evacuate the air. Not only is it messy to vacuum seal liquids with this type of machine, but it can draw the liquid into the motor. That’s the last thing you want after you’ve invested in a quality vacuum sealer!
Many of the best methods to vacuum seal liquids involve freezing the liquid first so that it’s solid before you attempt to vacuum seal it!
A variation of this process includes freezing the liquid in an ice cube tray first, then placing the solid cubes into a vacuum bag and sealing it.
Freezing the liquid first has many benefits. Firstly, these techniques work with any type of vacuum sealer, so you don’t need to invest in new equipment. They also reduce any mess from spilled liquids and prevent any of the liquid from being drawn into your vacuum sealer.
On the other hand, you need to spend time preparing the liquid before you can seal it.
There’s a variety of ways to vacuum seal liquids without the additional step of freezing them first.
The paper towel technique involves placing a folded strip of paper tower inside a vacuum bag, and then using your vacuum sealer on a low setting to carefully remove the air. The paper towel prevents most of the liquid from being drawn into the machine.
Alternatively, hang the bag over the side of your counter and let gravity do its thing. This particular technique is often a two-person job – one to hold the bag stable and the other to operate the controls.
Neither of these techniques is completely fool proof.
A better option is to make use of a chamber-style vacuum sealer. These machines work by manipulating the air pressure in the chamber to remove the air from the bag and are much less messy for liquids!
With investment in the right equipment and a little know-how, you can cut the time and effort needed to vacuum seal liquids, making it an efficient process for storing your batch-cooked soups, stocks, and sauces, while preserving the delicious flavours.