Why Do You Need To Vacuum Seal Your Liquids Properly?
I am a fanatic about vacuum sealing. It is the process of removing air from the bag, thus preserving the food inside. This is done by using a vacuum sealer or other alternatives.
I am able to save on food costs, preserve food, plan out better meals and save on preparation time when I vacuum seal food.
Since my husband is a fishing enthusiast, when he comes home with loads of salmon, I clean and fillet the fish, vacuum seal it, freeze, and eat it months after.
If I get surprise dinner guests, it takes but a few minutes to prepare a good meal. Since I also have a food business, I bring home left-over food for home consumption. For it to last longer, I vacuum seal and freeze left-overs.
However, vacuum sealing liquids, like soup or sauces, can be rather tricky.
My first vacuum sealer was the countertop model, and I am sure this is what most housewives have. It is affordable and offers the most basic and convenient features to vacuum seal.
The problem with the countertop vacuum sealer is that liquid is sucked out during the vacuum process. This is dangerous, too, to your machine, because the liquid can damage your vacuum sealer.
This post will guide you how to properly vacuum seal liquids and liquid-rich foods. We will discuss different options you can employ to vacuum seal your liquids.
In a nutshell, here are some good reasons why you should know how to properly vacuum seal liquids:
- Done wrong, the liquids can damage your vacuum sealer.
- If the liquid is sucked out, you would be left with much less food to keep.
- Done wrong, your seal on the bag will break and the food is not stored properly.
- When doing sous vide, water gets into the bag because your seal is not secure.
If you are able to address the problem of vacuum sealing liquids, you will benefit with these:
- Your time and effort are not wasted.
- No food is wasted.
- Your vacuum sealer will last longer and serve you longer.
- You will have perfect sous vide dishes.
Best Ways To Vacuum Seal Your Liquids
When applying our tips you will be able to vacuum seal your entire liquid food items:
- Sauces or dips.
- Marinades or meat with marinades.
- And so on …
There are 3 cases as follows:
- You use a chamber vacuum sealer.
- You use an external vacuum sealer
- You don’t have a vacuum sealer.
You use a chamber vacuum sealer
This kind of vacuum sealer has these features:
- The bag which contains the liquid is placed in a chamber. Once it is closed and vacuum process starts, it sucks out the air from the bag and from the area inside the chamber surrounding the bag.
- Since the pressure inside the bag and outside of it is the same, the liquid is not sucked out.
- This is the best way to vacuum seal bags with foods that are liquid or liquid-rich. However, a chamber vacuum sealer is not common among households because of its hefty price.
- However, if you are in the food business or if you like to do sous vide cooking, the chamber vacuum sealer is the best equipment for you.
You use an external vacuum sealer
This refers to the countertop model of the vacuum sealer, which is the most common kind found even in households.
The limitation of this model is it sucks liquid out when you vacuum seal. However, there are ways to overcome this.
6 PRO TIPS for Using External Vacuum Sealer:
Tip 1 – Freeze the liquid before vacuum sealing:
- Put the liquid inside the freezer until it is hard enough (about 1 to 3 hours);
- It does not have to be totally frozen inside, just the outside part;
- Once frozen, place inside food bags and vacuum seal;
- There may still be some remnant liquid, so just be careful it would not seep out of the bag;
- Just make sure that the neck of the bag, or the open end should be free of moisture or oil as it could affect the tightness of the seal;
- This may be the best alternative next to owning a chamber vacuum sealer.
- These are pre-cut food bags in quart sizes;
- The bag has a built-in blocking strip that prevents liquid and moisture from escaping from the bag even during the vacuum sealing;
- The liquid block bags, however, are more expensive than ordinary food bags;
- In terms of effectiveness in preserving liquid, this is a good alternative, and not as expensive as buying a chamber vacuum sealer.
- Here’s a good way you might try, but only if there is little liquid, like a marinade for the steaks;
- Place your liquid inside the bag, then place paper towels that has been folded into a thick strip between the liquid and the mouth of the bag;
- Start your vacuum-process. The liquids will be absorbed by the paper towel;
- Do this until the paper towels is thoroughly drenched, then you can seal.
Tip 4 – Hang the bag over the edge of the counter while vacuum sealing:
- This is tricking the vacuum sealer that there is no liquid inside since it can’t see it;
- Hang the bag by the side of the counter, where gravity will naturally pull it down;
- There may be some wayward liquid that will escape, but for the most part, it will remain inside the food bag;
- Even then, a hint of liquid or moisture will affect the quality of your seal. It may not be a tight seal;
- This can work, but I don’t recommend it since liquid in the vacuum sealer will damage it.
Tip 5 – Use mason jars instead of plastic food bags:
- This would require some accessories like the hose attachment that will allow it to vacuum seal mason jars;
- You would also need lids for the jar;
- Over-all, the materials will be a bit pricey compared to an ordinary food bag. However, the jar can be re-used so there still may be savings in the end;
- One of the better alternatives, but would require some investment on vacuum sealer accessories.
Tip 6 – Learn how to stop the vacuum process at the right time:
- Over time, you may learn how to anticipate when to stop the vacuum process when the liquid is just about to be sucked out;
- This method, though, would work best if you have bigger room to move around. It means you use a bigger bag so there is more distance between the liquid food and the open end of the bag.
- This method means more bag wastage, which means bigger packaging costs;
- This may be one of the most risky alternatives. When the liquid is sucked out, it may damage the vacuum sealer. I really wouldn’t want to risk it.
You don’t have a vacuum sealer
If you do not own any of machines then the instructions below are for you.
Tip 1 – Use zip-lock food bags and the water bath method to seal it:
- Put the liquid food inside the zip-lock food bag;
- Place this inside a deep container filled with water;
- Make sure the open end is not submerged in water;
- Squeeze out the air from the bag;
- Once done, zip-lock it;
- This does not totally remove the air so preservation may not last as long as compared to using a vacuum sealer.
Tip 2 – Use zip-lock bags and handheld vacuum sealer:
- A handheld vacuum sealer or a hand pump is cheaper than a countertop vacuum sealer;
- The zip-lock bags has to be the special kind meant for hand pumps;
- These bags would have a specific area, usually encircled or labeled, which is where you attach the pump;
- Not fool-proof compared to a vacuum sealer, but does the job of vacuum and sealing, although the longevity of the food may not be as long;
- While the handheld vacuum sealer is not so expensive, these special bags are more expensive than the ordinary ones.
These methods are not advised if you are going to do sous vide cooking. The seal will not be tight enough, and water will get into the bag, or the liquid marinade inside the bag will seep out.
What Items Do You Need To Optimize The Vacuum Sealing Process?
When I experienced first-hand the benefits of vacuum sealing, I started to invest more on the equipment and accessories.
Getting the best ones can be a bit expensive so it is good to mix and match. Like buy a good brand of vacuum sealer, but perhaps, choose a mid-priced brand of food bags, although you have to make sure both are compatible to each other.
Here are the must-have’s when you want to do vacuum sealing:
- Vacuum sealer;
- Bags and rolls;
- Mason jars and other accessories.
There are different brands and models. Use this guide when choosing:
- Best if you can use it for both solid and liquid foods, like a chamber vacuum sealer;
- Find two-in-one models that can be used for both food bags and mason jars;
- Find the model that you can actually operate. Believe me, some models are rocket science;
- There are manual models and automatic. I recommend the middle ground – semi-automatic;
- Semi-automatic will allow you to over-ride some automatic features;
- Automatic features like bag detection are okay. It means when the machine feels a bag is being fed into it, it will automatically pull it through;
- It is good to have manual control on the vacuum process so you can stop the machine when you want to, like when food inside easily breaks (chips, for example).
Before buying, figure out what products you will most likely use your machine:
- I have vacuum sealer models specifically for my husband to use when he goes hunting for a few days. This kind of sealer is very sturdy;
- At home, I have the countertop vacuum sealer for left-overs, or to preserve some fruits;
- In the restaurant I own, I have the chamber vacuum sealer which works great for sous vide cooking.
Bags and Rolls
Of course, you would need food bags to place your food in. Here are some tips when choosing:
- Since you are freezing this food, choose bags that can withstand freezing. A lesser bag will become brittle and break in cold temperature;
- BPA-free bags are safe and recommended;
- Food bags come in different sizes. It is good to have options – pint, quart, and gallon. Keep a few of each size around;
- Rolls are a great way to save on food bags because you can tailor-fit your size so there is no wastage and you save on bag costs;
- Some vacuum sealers have built-in roll dispenser, which also features a cutter for your convenience;
- Not all bags are created equal. There are food bags with special features like a liquid-lock to prevent liquid from seeping through during the vacuum process;
- Zip-locks are special kinds of bags, and also work well using various methods of sealing, not necessarily using a vacuum sealer.
Mason jars and other accessories
Aside from food bags, mason jars and containers are a great way to preserve food.
Glass is always preferred over plastic because glass does not retain odor or color of the food, is easy to clean and in terms of healthy option, glass is not affected by change in temperature.
Here are some considerations when choosing mason jars and accessories:
- Mason jars come in two sizes – wide-mouth and regular;
- Covers come in the same sizes, too, and the jar and lid have to be of the same size, of course;
- The accessory needed to use your vacuum sealer on the jar is the jar sealer. It should also be of the same size as your mason jar and lid;
- The jar sealer is attached on the port in your vacuum sealer, has a hose, and the sealer is end attached to the top of your mason jar;
- Best items to store in mason jars are liquids like sauces and dips. You can also use this for fragile foods like coffee or grains.
Sous Vide and Vacuum Sealing
A few times I have already mentioned about sous vide cooking in relation to vacuum sealing. I think I have to further explain this method.
- Sous vide is a French-style cooking primarily used to thoroughly and evenly cook meat, or other food products;
- The food, like meat, along with its marinade, is placed inside a food bag, then vacuum sealed;
- This will allow the marinade to seep through the meat and make it more flavorful;
- The food bag is then given a water bath using a sous vide equipment or you can make do using deep pots although it may not be as accurate because effective sous vide requires even temperature and precise cooking time;
- Because the food (placed inside the vacuum-sealed bag) is submerged in hot water, it is thoroughly cooked without over-cooking or burning;
- This results to the most tender and flavorful meat or any other food.
The value of best sous vide vacuum sealer when doing sous vide is that the liquid is not vacuumed out, and the vacuum sealer effectively seals in the food inside the bag.
It means its flavors will not seep out, and water in the pot will also not seep through inside the bag.
After a long day, wouldn’t you want to come home to a hot, flavorful soup that takes mere minutes to prepare?
You can if you have a good vacuum sealer. It will allow you to preserve the left-over soup from a party, freeze it, and when needed, you just have to re-heat.
No change in the quality of the food as it retains its flavor and texture. No fear of freezer burn or food getting spoiled.
To enjoy these benefits and more, get yourself a good vacuum sealer. There are many options, and we have discussed it with you. Make good decisions when you have all the information. Read the best foodsaver vacuum sealer reviews in the market.