A lot of food products you find at the supermarket are heat-sealed in plastic oil packages. Others are vacuum-sealed in packages. Vacuum sealing preserves foods 3 to 5 times longer, so it is widely used in the food industry.
Now heat sealing and vacuum sealing technology can be used at home. There are two types of quality home vacuum packaging systems. 1. that vacuum-seals proprietary plastic bags (external to the machine) and rigid containers, and opened cans, jars and wine bottles (via a hose). 2. that features a chamber wherein plastic bagged solid or liquid products are vacuumed inside the chamber, then sealed under vacuum inside the chamber. When the vacuum is released the bag remains under vacuum.
The external vacuum machines have come down in price. Food Saver, by Tilia, can be had at Costco for $200. The bags, which can be reused, cost about 50¢ a running foot, which is expensive. Rigid containers for the Tilia cost about $10 to $20 depending on size. Chamber vacuums do a better job for a higher price. The VacMaster shown above costs $680 but bags are cheap.
So, why bother with either?
We cooked for two (now one) every day. Of course more product is bought at the store than consumed each day and often more than consumed in a week. I buy whole pork and beef tenderloins, trim off the fat and silver skin, cut and saran-wrap servings for two, and freeze. Seldom do I place uncooked meat in the fridge that is not to be prepared that night or the next. Veggies are consumed in quantity but I throw product out every week.
So, what does a vacuum machine do for the GeezerGourmet?
- Fresh leaf lettuce, washed, dried and placed in the fridge, looks shabby in 4 days. If placed in a Tilia rigid vacuum container, the leaves look great for 2 weeks. Other veggies too.
- Vacuum-sealed meats placed in the fridge last for weeks and age in the process.
- Vacuum-sealed meats placed in the freezer last for years!
- Spices, tea, coffee and other dry perishables if vacuumed packaged will stay fresh forever in the pantry.
- Brown sugar is vacuum-sealed and stays moist.
- Fresh pasta vacuumed and fridge’d lasts a long time.
It’s all about buying in greater quantity and quality of preservation.