Marinating with vacuum canisters
This has got to be one of the best ways and fastest ways to improve a cut of meat. Pop the meat into a vacuum canister with your favorite marinade, bring it up to full vacuum, and in less than an hour its ready to cook.
What is marinating?
Marinating food is not a new concept and in fact dates as far back as the Roman empire. The concept is to break the connective tissue in the meat which tenderizes it and also enhances the flavor by soaking the food in a liquid type marinade solution. A successful marinade will usually have a wine, vinegar or lemon juice in it which helps with this process. You then add an oil and some herbs and spices to your liking. The great part about marinade is that you can simply make it up as you go along. When we think of marinating, we think of steak but it is not limited just to steak as you can marinade beef, lamb, pork, chicken, fish and even vegetables. Also, when we think of marinating food, we also think this is a 24-hour process which it is unless you decide to vacuum seal it and then it becomes about a 1-hour process or less.
So why is it so quick to marinate under vacuum?
When you vacuum a container, it removes the air from inside that container. If there is anything inside the container such as a piece of steak it will try and accommodate the area that was once full of air so it will expand. This expansion of the meat allows the marinade to enter the meat much more quickly and marinating can be completed in 30 – 60 minutes. If you wish you can still leave it refrigerated over night or even several days.
What sort of vacuum canister should I use?
We obviously recommend a good quality vacuum container from a reputable business. We do supply several versions and the most popular are the Status food vacuum canister set which is made in Slovenia. The best quality however would be the Tritan food vacuum canister set also made in Slovenia. Both of these sets can be purchased from our web site and are compatible with all the Status vacuum sealers. They can be used with the Preservac vacuum sealers also but a canister hose must be adapted to connect the 2. Both these sets do come with there own hand pump so you are not reliant on the vacuum sealer and we also supply an electric re chargeable hand pump, which is my favorite.
How do I use the vacuum pumps?
So there is 3 options to vacuum you food vacuum canister and some are better than others. We will start with the not so best way and end with the best
Using the vacuum hose from vacuum sealer to vacuum container.
This option is readily available and most of your vacuum sealers will come with a vacuum hose, unfortunately, the down side is that different brands use different attachments for the vacuum sealers and different valves on the vacuum canisters. If your vacuum sealer and vacuum canisters are the same brand then the hose will connect them both and if not, then a hose can be made from the hose from you vacuum sealer and adding or changing the end suitable for the vacuum canisters. Another down side to this option is that most people will put their vacuum sealer away in a draw or cupboard and when you want to vacuum one container then it needs to be pulled out and put away. The up side is that once it reaches full vacuum the vacuum sealer will stop and not over vacuum the vacuum canister.
Using the vacuum hand pump that comes with the vacuum canister set.
All of our sets of vacuum canisters come with there own vacuum hand pump and this is a very simple way to pull the air out of your vacuum container. You must be aware that you can over vacuum them with a hand pump if you keep going. Be sure to stop once the nipple in the middle of the valve is depressed. When operating a vacuum hand pump, it is much more effective if you do a slow action rater than fast and vigorous action. The faster you go the harder it is to hold flat onto the valve and remove the air. The number of pumps and the time it takes depends on the size of the vacuum canister and how full it is. I have fully vacuumed a vacuum canister in 5 – 6 pumps and anything up to 20 or so.
Using the electric hand-held pump.
This is by far my favorite method and I find it both the easiest and most effective to get full vacuum while looking after the integrity of your food vacuum canister. It is actually battery operated which is charged via a USB cord (included) just like a mobile phone. You simply place it over the valve and push the start button. I usually put some downward pressure on it to activate the vacuum. You are then free to do other things around the kitchen while it is doing it’s job. Once it stops vacuuming it has reached its full vacuum and you can remove it from the top of the canister. If the nipple is not depressed touch it with the tip of your finger and it should go down.
What foods would you vacuum in a vacuum canister?
There are many options for the vacuum canister to be used in any house hold kitchen and marinating food in less than an hour is only but 1. They are also great for anything that is hard to vacuum seal in a bag like soft food like breads or salads or liquid like soups and stews. I find if there is something that you use often but only some of it, it is convenient to have in a vacuum canister so you can easily re-vacuum it. We keep a lot of our salad foods in vacuum canisters like lettuce, celery, and capsicum.
Why does my vacuum canister lose its vacuum?
You may find that occasionally a vacuum canister will lose its vacuum so here are a few of the simply reasons to look at. If you over fill a canister then the food may be pushing against the valve from inside such as a large lettuce. If you put to mush liquid in like soup you can suck some of it into the valve and cause a leak due to contamination. The valve must be removed and cleaned. All fruit and vegetable give off a certain amount of ethaline gas, which is just it ripening or maturing. The ethaline gas is also what makes the fruit or vegetable ripen faster and go off, it is known as gassing off. So if after a couple of days the canister has lost its vacuum it could be because of the ethaline gas. Fruit is much worse than vegetables and the fridge does slow this process down. Finally, if you are at a lose to way or the vacuum is lost quickly then do a water test on it. Information on the water test can be found HERE.
What foods shouldn’t I put in a vacuum canister?
These foods not only should not be put in a vacuum canister, they should not be vacuum sealed at all unless cooked first or frozen.
Raw mushrooms should not be vacuum sealed. Botulism can occur which is poisons. You can vacuum seal them if they are cooked or if you freeze them
The onion and garlic family should not be vacuum sealed raw as botulism can occur also. They can be vacuum sealed if they are cooked or frozen
The broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. The cruciferous family of vegetable should not be vacuum sealed and put in the fridge it will go off very quickly and smell extremely nasty when you open it. It simply gases off in the bag or canister and goes rotten. All of the cruciferous vegetable family must be blanched first and then frozen.
Soft cheese like Brie or Ricotta should not be vacuum sealed as it is very moist and the vacuum sealing causes it to go moldy. Hard cheese such as cheddar, tasty and Colby is absolutely fine.
Finally, do not try and vacuum seal freshly cooked or blanched food, it must be cooled down to at least room temperature first. With blanching it iis best to place the vegetable in ice water to also stop the cooking process immediately and then thoroughly drain before vacuum sealing.
So, there we have it, I am Bryce the owner of Food Vacuum Sealers Australia. I do hope this blog has been informative and you get the most out of your vacuum canisters.