A vacuum packer or sealer used to be something that was rarely seen – unless you were working in certain specific areas of food packaging. Over the past few years, however, we have seen a sharp increase in the numbers of vacuum packers around – and being used on a day to day basis.
Today we are seeing vacuum sealers being used in professional kitchens up and down the country, a range of food packaging facilities, and even in a good number of domestic kitchens. We are also seeing more and more other commodities being vacuum-packed – some computer parts, medication, and medical devices, for example.
Why Have a Vacuum Packer?
There are many reasons why people and businesses decide to get a vacuum packer, and most of these are related to food. Vacuum sealers can be highly useful for a number of reasons:
- It allows food manufacturers and producers to package their products, eliminating the air and keeping food as fresh as possible for as long as possible
- It can save space when packaging food or other commodities for delivery
- It can help to reduce freezer burn by removing air
- It is an excellent option for marinating food
- It is an essential part of the sous vide process – a trend that we are seeing becoming increasingly popular
Make your Food Last for Longer
You don’t need to be a food manufacturer to use your vacuum sealer to preserve your food. By removing the air from around a piece of food, you can protect it from bacteria and other external issues, lengthening its life greatly. Poultry and red meat, for example, can usually last for about 6 – 12 months if they are frozen in a normal freezer bag. Having been vacuum packed, however, it can stay fresh in the freezer for up to about three years!
You can vacuum pack a whole range of food, for example, dry goods such as coffee, spices, or flour to keep them as fresh as possible, and liquids like sauces which can be defrosted as and when you need them.
Sous Vide Machine
We have seen more and more people using the sous vide method of cooking recently. This is a process whereby the food is vacuum wrapped to ensure that it is watertight, then put in a water bath to cook. The water bath can have its temperature adjusted to ensure that it cooks the food slowly and without the fluctuations of temperature that often occur with other cooking methods.
This is an especially good method of cooking meat, making it tender and cooked evenly all of the way through.
Sous vide is a favourite amongst some of the country’s top chefs, so why not give it a go yourself?
In addition to the fact that vacuum sealing can help your food to stay fresher for longer, it is also great at eliminating freezer burn. Freezer burn occurs when you put food into the freezer and it loses its moisture. This will often create a discolouration of the food, and, although it is still safe to eat, can often result in food being thrown away.
By vacuum packing your food before freezing it you can maintain the moisture levels in the food and reduce the risk of freezer burn.
Another cooking process that a vacuum sealer can help with is marinating. Whether you want to marinate meat or fish, or vegetables, marinating your food in a vacuum-sealed bag can take a fraction of the time that it would if you were to use the conventional ‘leave it to stand for hours’ method.
Marinating food is an excellent way to alter the flavour of something – either to a greater or lesser extent.
Ice packs can be useful for a number of reasons. Maybe you are accident prone and regularly bang your head, have a sports injury that needs to be regularly iced, or have bruising or pain that can be relieved by ice. They can also be expensive, however. A vacuum packing machine allows you to make your own ice packs quickly and easily – literally by filling the pack with water and then freezing it.
Regardless of the reason why you have a vacuum sealing machine, there are plenty of uses for it. To ensure that you are making the most of your equipment, why not try and give some of these other options a go?