Whether you are thinking of sending your special holiday food gifts or just packing your food to keep it fresh longer, make sure you do it the right way. To avoid foodbourne illness, vacuum-packed your food is the first step for the safest way to send pre-prepared food to your destinations. The following tips on how to vacuum food products apply to both homemade or purchased foods.
What Is Food Vacuum Packing?
Vacuum packing is a way to help preserve the quality of your food. The process draws air out of your food’s container, then seals the package. The low oxygen environment slows the growth of bacteria and fungi, prevents discolouration, and stops food from drying out. Since the process of vacuum packing results in an airtight seal, your food is protected from humidity and even some pests. At home, food vacuum packing is done with vacuum sealing machines, which most commonly use specially designed plastic bags.
How to Vacuum Pack Food at Home
To take advantage of the benefits of vacuum packing food at home, you will need some equipment.
-Vacuum sealing machine
-Bags or other containers that will work with your machine
-Prepare your food. You will need to make sure your food is clean before using the vacuum sealer. If you’re packing meat, now is a good time to trim it. If you want to pack liquids, try freezing the portion first, otherwise the machine may suck the liquid out of the bag.
-Pack the bags. When you are setting up your packages, consider portion sizes. You might find it most convenient to measure out one portion into each bag.
-Seal the bags. The particulars of this step will depend on your machine. Check your owner’s manual to learn how to make the best use of your vacuum packing equipment.
-Label the bags. Make note of the contents, the date, and cooking instructions if needed.
Examples of Vacuum Packed Foods
There are countless foods that will benefit from being stored in a vacuum sealed container. Vacuum packing is perfect for extending the shelf life of dry foods. It will help keep brown sugar from hardening, keep coffee beans or grounds fresh, maintain the quality of dehydrated foods, and prevent nuts from going rancid.
Vacuum packing will help keep your food safe from freezer burn. Package and freeze fresh fruits and vegetables when they are in season to enjoy later. Take full advantage of sales on meat by vacuum packing and freezing bulk buys into meal sized portions.
You can even use vacuum packing to prep meals. Soups and casseroles can be vacuum sealed and frozen, then boiled in the bag when you need a quick meal. Or keep balls of frozen cookie dough on hand for an almost instant dessert. If you need to ship your meals across the country, be sure you have appropriate containers for temperature-sensitive food products.