A vacuum sealer can be a wondrous thing for your kitchen. Whether you are using it as a way of hygienically and efficiently storing food, reducing waste and allowing you to buy ingredients in larger quantities than you otherwise could, or whether you are planning on using it to sous vide your food, it is important that you use it correctly. 

If mistakes are made when you are using your vacuum sealer machine, you could find yourself with spoilt food in storage or sous vide food which has been leaked into – and not leeks of the delicious kind! 

There is a range of vacuum sealer machines available – as can be seen here. It is important to know how to use your vacuum sealer properly, so here is a guide that will walk you through everything that you need to know about them 

Different Types of Vacuum Sealer 

There are two main types of vacuum sealer – the bar sealer and the chamber sealer.  

  • The bar sealer will suck the air out of the sealing bag which is attached to the sealer. You should only use this type of sealer with dry food as it will also suck out the moisture (and other gases) which is present. 
  • The chamber sealer is more common in catering establishments around the country. The chamber sealer is more complex and works by sucking out the air from around the food – and not from the food itself. This suction then seals the bag. 

Liquids 

If you are planning on vacuum sealing a liquid food like soup, the best way to avoid dehydration and keep your vacuum sealer healthy is to freeze it first. Once that you have a frozen block it is then easier to vacuum pack it and put it back into the freezer. 

Filling the Bag 

When you are filling the bag make sure that you leave a generous amount of space for the bag to seal properly. A badly sealed bag defeats the object of sealing at all. Leave at least 3 inches or 8 cm to make sure that you get a good seal. The more space that you leave for sealing, the more likely you are to be able to re-use the sealing bag as well. 

More about Bags… 

It is important that you use the correct sealing bags for your vacuum sealer. Although they might still work for you, you cannot be sure, and there is also the possibility that using the wrong bags might damage your machine. 

It is also important that you use a smooth bag for efficient sealing. If you have had your sealing bags crumpled up inside a drawer, using one of these bags could result in an ineffective seal. 

Don’t forget that if you get a bad seal on your bag, as long as there is extra space, you can always try to seal it a little further down. This is one reason why it is a good idea to leave as much space as possible from the top for your seal. It also means that you won’t waste your sealer bag – important given that for most people having a vacuum packer is about saving food and money waste. 

If you are vacuum packing items other than food it is important to be aware that anything which is sharp can pierce through the plastic of the bag. If in doubt, use some tissue paper or fabric to protect the plastic from the sharp object inside the bag. 

Storage is also Important 

Just because you are vacuum packing some food, you should still remember that to keep it fresh and stop it from spoiling it must still be stored under the correct conditions. Although dry ingredients should be able to be kept at room temperature, for most food it means keeping them in the fridge – or freezing them in the freezer – and is a great way of protecting it from freezer burn. 

Looking after your Vacuum Sealer 

It is also important that you keep your vacuum sealer well maintained.  

  • Always clean it thoroughly after use 
  • Avoid the use of harsh cleaning chemicals 
  • Use water and mild soap to clean your vacuum sealer 
  • Wipe it dry with another dry cloth afterward 
  • Call a professional machine servicer or repair if you think that you have a mechanical problem 

Remember that the more that you look after your vacuum sealer the more likely it is to stay working properly. 

A vacuum sealing machine can make a massive difference in the efficiency of your kitchen by enabling you to store food for longer, helping both the chefs, but also your business. By using it and looking after it properly you should be able to keep it in great condition for years.