Did you know that vacuum packaging can extend the lifespan of your food by weeks and even months? Using a vacuum pack machine involves placing items in a plastic film package, removing air from inside, and sealing the package. This safely increases the useable shelf life of products by providing a protective ‘skin’ that helps keep oxygen away from food. Vacuum packaging is an advanced, more efficient form of packing that has a number of benefits, including reducing food waste and keeping food fresher for longer. Many people associate a vacuum sealer with food items like meat and fish, but vacuum packaging can be used to safely store a huge range of different foods. To give you some inspiration, here are our top three meals you can make and vacuum seal for later.
1. Homemade breakfast pocket
Homemade breakfast pockets are easy to make and provide a delicious breakfast on the go. The best thing is that they’re extremely versatile. You can fill them with whatever you want – from egg and cheese, to chorizo and sundried tomatoes – the filling choices are endless! Here is our favourite breakfast pocket recipe that you can make is less than 30 minutes. This recipe uses whole wheat pizza dough and the filling contains a tasty combination of scrambled eggs, red pepper, onion and chicken. Remember that you can easily swap some of the ingredients to make it more to your taste.
Things to remember
Avoid overfilling your pockets and ensure they are properly sealed by pressing around the edges with your fingertips. It is important to allow the pockets enough time to properly cool before you place them in a vacuum seal. If they are still hot, then condensation will build up inside the packaging, which can lead to freezer burn. They could also start thawing other foods in your freezer, which may ruin their taste and make them unsafe to eat. Make sure to place your breakfast pockets in individual seals so you don’t have to defrost more than you want to eat at one time. Also, avoid stacking the items on top of each other, or they may become stuck together in the freezer.
2. Grilled Greek kebab
Traditional Greek kebabs are easy to make, healthy, and packed full of flavour. Better yet, they can easily be vacuum sealed and stored for later. Kebabs can be made using a variety of different meats and there are plenty of vegetarian options as well. Our favourite vegetarian Greek kebabs are made using sweet red pepper, onion, zucchini, chickpeas, and pinto beans. The kebabs are full of flavour and use a delicious Greek seasoning to give them an authentic taste. They are perfect to grill and serve up alongside Greek yoghurt at a summer BBQ.
Things to remember
Once you have made your kebab mixture, shape into balls – these should be around 1 to 1 ½ inches in size. Divide your kebab balls into portions, then seal and freeze. Remember not to stack the packages on top of each other, or you risk them sticking together. It is always a good idea to label your freezer bags, especially if you’re vegetarian and don’t want to mix them up with meat versions! When you want to eat your kebabs, defrost them in the fridge. Once they are thawed, place them on skewers, alternating between kebab balls and vegetables like pepper, onion and zucchini. You can add extra seasoning and marinade the skewers to your taste. Then, simply grill the kebabs over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes. We suggest serving alongside fresh Greek yoghurt or tzatziki.
3. Miso marinated salmon
Salmon is a great source of protein, vitamins and minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. Unfortunately, the shelf life of fresh fish is often just a few days. However, vacuum sealing and freezing can extend this by several months. Salmon is extremely versatile and can be used to create a huge range of tasty dishes. One of our favourites is this miso marinated salmon recipe. The best thing about this simple recipe is that it’s quick and easy to make. The flavoursome marinate uses just four ingredients!
Things to remember
Make sure that you marinate your salmon for at least 30 minutes (ideally longer), to give it enough time to absorb all of the flavours. It is a good idea to place parchment paper under the salmon when cooking, to prevent the fillets from burning. Be sure to cook over a low heat and turn regularly, to ensure that both sides are cooked the same. Remember that you can also change the quantities of the ingredients to tailor the marinade to your taste.