The length of time for which you can store food is important, from a safety and taste point of view. The storage period can be extended by using vacuum sealing. This process involves the storing of food in specially designed vacuum packs. The vacuum packaging process removes air from the packaging and an air-tight seal is created.

This removal of air means that the growth of mould and bacteria is inhibited. This means that food items can be stored in cupboards, the refrigerator and the freezer for longer periods of time. In the case of items stored in the freezer, vacuum packing can also inhibit freezer burn which provides further protection for your food.

Storage times with and without vacuum packing

When you purchase food for your family you want to keep it fresh and safe to eat. You also want it to retain it’s great taste. Storing food in optimum conditions, and making use of the refrigerator and freezer, helps you to do this. However, if food remains in its original packaging this could limit the maximum storage time. Using vacuum packs helps you to extend this storage time by preserving your food in good condition for longer periods of time. There are guidelines as to the maximum time that certain common food items can be stored in the cupboard, refrigerator and freezer, with and without vacuum packing.

 

Storage at room temperature
Food item Normal packaging Vacuum sealed
Bread 2-3 days 7-8 days
Raw rice/pasta 5-6 months 12 months
Cereal 2-3 months 6-12 months
Tea/coffee 2-3 months 12 months
Flour 6-8 months 1-2 years
Nuts 6-8 months 2 years

 

Storage in a refrigerator
Food item Normal packaging Vacuum sealed
Beef 3-4 days 30-40 days
Pork 4-7 days 14-21 days
Hard cheese 15-20 days 40-60 days
Soft cheese 5-7 days 13-15 days
Fruit 1-5 days 7-14 days
Vegetables 2-7 days 7-14 days
Roasted meat 2-3 days 8-12 days
Whole fish 1-3 days 4-5 days

 

Storage in a freezer
Food item Normal packaging Vacuum sealed
Meat 6 months 2-3 years
Meat (minced or ground) 3 months I year
Fish 6 months 2-3 years
Vegetables 8-10 months 2-3 years
Fruit 6-12 months 2-3 years
Poultry 6 months 2-3 years
Soups and sauces 2-4 months 1-2 years

 

Optimising the usefulness of vacuum packing

There are certain actions you can take in order to optimise the usefulness of the vacuum packing process and ensure that you attain maximum storage times.

  • Make sure the surface you use for vacuum packing is thoroughly cleaned beforehand.
  • Wash, dry and store meat as soon as you get home from shopping.
  • Remove or cover any sharp bones in meat so that they do not damage the vacuum packaging.
  • Blanch vegetables before packaging. Simply place them in boiling water for 1-4 minutes, remove them and place them in ice water then remove them and get rid of any excess water that is present on the vegetables.
  • Create an extra barrier when storing food for long periods by putting vacuum packed food in a freezer bag before you place it in the freezer.

It’s worth investing a little time and effort as using these tips helps to maximise the length of time for which vacuum packed foods remain fresh.

The benefits that you get from vacuum packing food

You can see that maximum food storage times can be significantly extended by the use of vacuum packaging. This brings several benefits.

  • Save money by buying food in bulk as you can store items for longer.
  • Save on food wastage by using vacuum packaging to store leftovers.
  • Make meals ahead of time and vacuum pack them for storage in the freezer. This means that you can prepare meals at more convenient times and simply defrost and heat them up when required.
  • Spend less time shopping as you can buy in bulk and store food items safely for longer. This also means that you spend less money on petrol as you do not have to make as many trips to the supermarket.
  • Take less time to marinate meat and fish.

There is no doubt that using vacuum packaging in your home can help you save money on your regular food shopping. It also means that you can prepare food in bulk and visit the supermarket on fewer occasions. You get to make the household budget last longer and save time which you can spend doing other things.