Vacuum food packing is becoming more and more popular. Until now, it was a method of storage used mainly in industry and gastronomy. Today, many people also use vacuum packaging at home. Have you ever wondered why this is so? In this article, you will learn what vacuum packaging is and its advantages. So if you want to know more, keep reading!
What is vacuum food packaging?
Before we describe the benefits of vacuum food packaging, we will explain it. Well, vacuum packing is the best way to protect food. It consists in placing the selected product in a tightly closed package with the amount of oxygen reduced to a minimum.
Why is oxygen reduction so substantial? You certainly know that oxygen creates excellent conditions for the development of microorganisms. Therefore, food that oxidizes just spoils. Vitamins oxidize, mould develops, and food changes taste and smell. It is food spoilage that makes vacuum packaging of food necessary.
How to vacuum-pack food?
Vacuum food packaging is not complicated. All you need is basic knowledge and proper equipment to pack your food properly.
What do I need to vacuum-pack food?
If you want to vacuum pack your food, you should invest in a vacuum food sealer. This sealer is a special device that allows you to pack food perfectly. Such a welder performs two very important functions. The first is to suck the air out of the bag you pack the food in. The second function is to close the package by welding its edges tightly.
- The hardware must be solid. European producers offer the best quality food sealers.
- The hardware must be easy to use for you.
- Make sure you have access to foil and works that match your collection.
The vacuum food sealer alone is not enough. You also need to have the right food packaging accessories. For example, you will need special bags and foil for food vacuum packing. Choose bags and foils that have been specially designed for welding machines.
Attention! Never use ordinary plastic bags. Most of them are not durable and will be destroyed if you try to heat them. Besides, You should not use even solid plastic bags for food packaging. They are made of poor-quality plastic. They are also often not BPA free. By purchasing special bags and foils for vacuum packaging, you can be sure that your food will be safe.
How to use a food vacuum sealer and vacuum-pack food?
You already know that you need a vacuum food sealer and the right accessories. Now we can move on to the topic of food packaging. Using a vacuum sealer is very simple. First, carefully read the manual of the model you bought. Please note that the models may differ from each other. You will notice that vacuum packing food comes down to a few steps.
Prepare the food for wrapping first. Preparation is very important, so do all the steps carefully. First, decide whether you will be packing the entire product or pieces. For example, you can pack all the meat. But you can also cut meat into slices. Then place the food in the foil. The next step is to put the food bag in the sealer. The food sealer will do the rest for you. Finally, make sure the packaging is tightly closed.
Many people use vacuum packing for sous-vide cooking. It is a unique technique that consists of two essential components. The first element is vacuum-packed food. The second element is cooking for a specific time (sometimes several hours) in a special sous-vide cooker. Season the product first if you are also vacuum-packing food to try sous-vide. For example, you can marinate the meat and only then vacuum-pack it.
How long does vacuum-sealed food last?
Surely you are wondering why vacuum pack food at all? There are many advantages to such food packaging. The most important of these is extending the use-by date of a given product. How long does vacuum-sealed food last? It depends on what you packed.
What can be vacuum packed?
Any type of food can be vacuum-packed. It is well known that vacuum packing extends the shelf life of food three to five times. Below we will introduce three food groups that can be vacuum packed.
- Food that we usually keep in the refrigerator. This group includes products such as cold cuts, desserts, poultry, raw fruit and vegetables, cooked soups, cottage cheese, ready meals, and many more.
- Food that we usually freeze. This group includes frozen fruit, cold cuts, bread, meat, dumplings, frozen vegetables, fish, and many more.
- Food that we usually store on shelves. This group includes bread, cakes, pasta, rice, coffee, and many others.
Surely you've noticed that some products appeared in more than one group. That kind of product is, for example, bread or cold cuts. They appeared more than once because their shelf life after vacuum packing depends on further storage.
How long does vacuum-sealed food last - list of products
As we have already mentioned, vacuum-packed food has an expiry date several times longer. However, a lot depends on how much food is stored. Therefore, depending on the storage location, we will describe how long vacuum-sealed food lasts.
Products stored in the refrigerator:
- Poultry: 6-9 days
- Pork: 6 days
- Beef: 6 days
- Fresh fish: 7 days
- Cottage cheese: 13-15 days
- Raw vegetables: 18-20 days
- Fresh fruit: 8-25 days
- Cooked soup: 8-12 days
Products stored in the freezer:
- Bread: 24 months
- Fruit: 24 months
- Vegetables: 24 months
- Meat: 24 months
- Dumplings: 3 months
Products stored on shelves:
- Bread: 7-8 days
- Rice and pasta: 12 months
- Flour: 12-24 months
- Coffee and tea: 12 months
- Cereal flakes: 24 months
- Nuts: 24 months
Of course, these are just examples. However, they show how much you can extend the shelf life of food thanks to vacuum packaging.
How to store vacuum-packed food?
It is important to remember that you must also store vacuum-packed food properly. So how should it be done?
Vacuum-packed food is most often stored in a refrigerator or freezer. Cooling conditions are the best way to keep it. However, loose and dry products are often stored in a pantry or cabinets. If you store vacuum-packed products outside the refrigerator, ensure they are not exposed to sunlight. Therefore, it is good to keep such food in a shaded place. You also need to ensure that the food is not exposed to moisture. It is hermetically packed but should still be stored in a dry place.
What are the most significant advantages of vacuum food packaging?
The extension of the use-by date directly results from the food being vacuum-packed. However, you surely want to know the additional advantages of using this method. We will answer this fundamental question below!
Advantages of vacuum packing food at home
Thanks to the extended shelf life, you will stop wasting food. In addition, vacuum packing is a method that will help you plan your menu and home budget. Both of these factors save a lot of money. You may also have noticed that packaged cheese and cold cuts (and other products) are more expensive than those sold by weight. However, you can buy cheaper products by weight and pack them at home. That method is another way to save money.
Many people have a problem with large portions of food sold in stores. You must have noticed this problem if you are single or live only with a partner. However, you can buy cheaper family packs and portion them at home. After that, it is enough to vacuum the food and enjoy other savings.
Vacuum packing protects food also from the spread of intense odours. It is well known that this is a big problem, especially if you like to eat fish or smoked products. It won't be a problem with vacuum packing. Food will no longer smell like other products.
Vacuum-packed food also retains all its properties. Therefore, the dishes you prepare can have great taste and aroma for longer. For example, a soup vacuum-packed and unfroze will be just as tasty as it was on the day you made it.
Advantages of vacuum food packaging in gastronomy
Vacuum food packaging should also be used on gastronomic premises and catering companies. In addition to the advantages mentioned above, this method offers several significant benefits.
Thanks to vacuum packaging, you protect food against batteries, mould, and water loss. Protection like that is essential in places like restaurants. Additionally, you can vacuum pack the surplus of ingredients that have not been used during the day. You can use them on another day and save money. Vacuum packing will also help you better manage food delivery to your premises.
A very important advantage of vacuum food packaging is the possibility of using seasonal products all year round. It is enough to pack and store them properly in the right conditions.
Vacuum packing food will also allow you to introduce sous-vide dishes. Such dishes are trendy and appreciated by consumers all over the world.As you can see, vacuum packing food extends the shelf life and has many other benefits.