Saturday, December 31, 2011

Advantages of Vacuum Sealing Food

We've been using a vacuum sealer to extend the shelf-life of food for several years.  We got the idea from friends on the competition barbecue circuit.   Brisket, pork butts, ribs, and chicken thighs are cooked for the competitions. It's not uncommon for contest cooks to prepare two pork butts (14 - 15 lbs), two beef briskets (25 - 26 lbs), six or nine racks of pork ribs, and 20 - 24 chicken thighs. After a weekend bbq contest, there is a lot of leftovers. Vacuum sealers make preserving the extra meat quite easy and the meat can be safely frozen for several weeks and eaten at a later date without losing much of its' flavor.

This method also works well for buying meats, vegetables, and other food items in bulk.  Due to a lack of freezer space it's not very practical to store plastic containers of food in a normal sized freezer. With vacuum sealing, you can save a lot of space in the freezer. Plus, normal plastic containers store oxygen inside the container with the food. Oxygen inside the storage container gets the process of breaking down the food started quicker, which will lead to eventual spoilage. By removing the oxygen from the storage bag with a vacuum sealer, the food remains fresh for a longer period of time. The food will eventually decline even if vacuum sealed, but it will remain viable for a much longer period of time.

A vacuum sealer can be a handy tool for eating home grown or locally grown foods.  You can purchase fruit in bulk when it's "in season" and preserve it 3 - 5 times longer than by popping in a regular plastic container and storing it in the refrigerator.  We recently ate some strawberries that were vacuum sealed and frozen for four months. They tasted great on several bowls of ice cream.

We bought a commercial vacuum sealer like to one in the link at the beginning of this article, but there are less expensive sealers available at most of the big box discount retailers.

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