Do you ever get sick of wasting food that goes bad rotting in the fridge and getting freezer burnt in the freezer? I sure do! Well now that I’ve started vacuum sealing our food, the shelf life of everything has significantly increased.
So keep reading to learn how you can easily get started today!
No matter what the food, it’s always nice to get that extra bit of life. Nobody likes to waste. So whether you’re growing your own food or buying from a grocery store, you might as well make that food last for as long as possible.
So that’s why my family has started using a vacuum sealer. I love to can and preserve our foods with other methods as well, especially for making certain foods like these delicious bread and butter pickles.
But when it comes to storing foods such as meat, cheese, and vegetables for fresh eating, it’s nice to know that I can quickly extend their shelf life.
How to Get Started With Vacuum Sealing Food
The first thing to do is get a good quality vacuum sealing machine. I use and recommend this FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer, it’s been great for us.
I really like this one because it comes with the hand sealer for sealing FoodSaver containers and zipper bags as well.
While I can’t recommend any other vacuum sealers because I haven’t used any other brands, I know there are other good ones on the market as well.
FoodSaver is just a very well known, good quality brand, and the refill bags and parts are easy to find at local stores such as Costco and Walmart.
How Vacuum Sealing Works
It is a great method for extending the shelf and storage life of all different kinds of foods. The sealing process removes air which reduces oxidation, which then affects the nutritional value, flavor, and overall quality.
The removal of air also helps to prevent the growth of microorganisms including bacteria, yeast, and mold.
Meats and Fish
Before you seal beef, pork, poultry or fish, it’s best if you can pre-freeze it for 1-2 hours. This helps the meat retain its juices and shape, creating a better seal.
If you can’t pre-freeze you can place a folded up paper towel above the meat but below the seal area. Then leave the paper towel in the bag so it will absorb excess moisture during the sealing process.
A tip for sealing hard cheeses is to make the bag extra long so that you can reseal the cheese after each use.
Plan on one inch of extra bag material for every time you plan on needing the cheese. Then when you use the cheese you can cut open the sealed end, use the portion needed, then put the cheese back into the bag and reseal it.
Note: Soft cheeses should never be vacuum sealed due to the risk of anaerobic bacteria.
Storing in the Freezer
In order to preserve flavor, color, and texture, you should blanch your vegetables before sealing them to store in the freezer.
To blanch your vegetables, drop them in boiling water until they are cooked but still crisp.
For basic guidelines plan on:
- 1-2 minutes for leafy greens and peas
- 2-4 minutes for snap peas, sliced zucchini, and broccoli
- 5 minutes for carrots
After you blanch, immediately put the veggies in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. Then dry them, vacuum seal, and freeze.
To freeze vegetables for fresh eating it works out best to spread them out on a cookie sheet and pre-freeze them for a couple hours so that when you add them into the FoodSaver bag to seal, they don’t freeze together in big chunks.
Storing in the Refrigerator
Leafy vegetables store best in a FoodSaver canister in the fridge. So first, wash your leafy vegetables, such as spinach or lettuce, dry with a salad spinner or towel, put inside a canister or large container, then seal using the handheld vacuum sealer attachment.
Then store in the fridge.
You can also do this with any other vegetables you want to keep in the fridge to use within a couple weeks.
If you want to freeze soft fruits and berries it works out best to spread them out on a cookie sheet first and pre-freeze them so they don’t all freeze together in big clumps.
It also works out great to store your fresh fruit in FoodSaver containers or canisters so that you can use the fruit fresh in salads, baked goods, yogurt, etc.
When you vacuum seal soft and airy baked goods it’s best to store them in canisters or containers so the goods will keep their shape.
If you use FoodSaver bags, pre-freeze the baked goods before sealing to help them hold their shape.
You can also package, vacuum seal, and freeze things such as cookie dough and pie crust so it will be ready next time you want to bake.
How to Store Pre-Made Meals and Leftovers
If you want to store pre-made meals, leftovers, or sandwiches, the FoodSaver containers are perfect.
How Long Does Vacuum Sealed Food Last?
Vacuum sealing your food will extend the storage life of foods exponentially.
- Beef, pork, lamb, and poultry has a normal freezer life of 6 months. But when you vacuum seal those meats the freezer life is 2-3 years.
- Broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus in the freezer is normally good for 8 months. But when they are vacuum sealed in FoodSaver bags the freezer life extends to 2-3 years.
- Lettuce and spinach usually will last 3-6 days in the fridge. But if you store either in a FoodSaver canister or container, it will last 2 weeks in the fridge.
So it’s pretty hard to not use the FoodSaver when you know what a difference it can make! If you add up all the food that gets wasted it pays for itself in no time!
Vacuum Sealed Food Container Options
So if you’re looking to get the most out of the food you buy and grow, vacuum sealing your food is definitely the way to go. It’s quick, easy, and super effective.
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