What are the benefits of having the best vacuum sealer for sous vide?
Increased Surface Heat – Air never transmits heat as good as water does. So, with a vacuum sealer, more water is able to touch your food’s surface, which results in quicker cooking times and uniform cooking temperatures. The more air floating around your meal, the longer it’ll take for heat to be transmitted efficiently to your food.
Better Flavor – While we are not really being scientific right now, it is actually pure logic. Since vacuum sealed food bags are airtight, they are able to lock in all juices, aromas, and flavors. In fact, you can marinate your meal in the vacuum-sealed pouch prior to cooking. And obviously, having non-vacuum-sealed bags can lead to the spillage of juices when you are cooking, or in a worse scenario, the zip-lock bag can sink and you are boiling a steak before you know it.
Stays Fresh Longer – Apart from sous vide, these devices also assume an important role in ensuring your food says fresh for a longer period, both in the freezer and refrigerator. From the point of view of sous vide, vacuum-sealing meals for the week ahead doesn’t keep the food fresh only, but it is ready to cook as well – just put the food bag inside your water bath. Since the food is sealed still after cooking, it can even be refrigerated and placed inside an ice bath pending the time you are ready to complete the sear.
Bags Will Not Float – Apart from being very frustrating, floating bags can also be dangerous. Food bags with air usually float on the water, thereby resulting in some food portions being cooked improperly. When you’re cooking sous vide, keep in mind that it is very important to have the food totally submerged in water always, for optimum safety and uniform cooking temperatures. Vacuum sealers completely get rid of all the air in your food bag before cooking your sous vide.
How to use a vacuum sealer
Vacuum sealers are usually made in two major types – chamber sealers and bar sealers. Bar sealers utilize a basic suction method: you append the food bag to the appliance, and it extracts the air. However, this method can only be used with dry ingredients since the vacuum sealer will suck out liquid and gas as well, thereby drying the food out and probably damaging the device.
On the other hand, chamber vacuum sealers have a more sophisticated operation and can be utilized with liquids. Instead of directly vacuuming the food bag, these sealers get rid of the air from the surrounding space. This generates a vacuum that firstly compresses the bag and then seals it afterward.
- Fill your vacuum bags with your selected ingredients.
- Attach the bar sealer onto the vacuum bag and switch the machine on.
- Remove the sealed bag. It is now ready for use.
A vacuum sealer: how it works and the benefits of having one
How exactly is a vacuum sealer able to help in food preservation? This is usually the question that lingers in the minds of prospective buyers, which is why we have decided to answer it here.
How does air impact on food?
Air can have a very damaging effect on your food since compounds can considerably affect the integrity, quality, and taste of certain products over a period of time. Vacuum sealing is perfect if you want your food to remain moist, due to the fact that an airtight setting means juices can’t be affected by the air or escape. Also, this type of food preservation can stop solid foods such as flour and brown sugar from becoming hard, since they can’t absorb moistness from the air.
This food preservation technique is also one of the best ways of preventing freezer burn. Because foods aren’t exposed directly to the freezer’s harsh environments any longer, they take considerably longer time to feel the damaging effect of burn that can be a result of excessive air or poor storage.
How does a vacuum sealer work?
How vacuum sealers work is straightforward – they remove all the air from the container of your food. Since oxidization from oxygen exposure usually causes foods to go bad, your food will last longer if oxygen is removed from it. After removing as much as possible air from your food, a vacuum sealer then seals the food bag so that any air entrance will be prevented, thereby protecting your food. In order to seal the food bags, the majority of vacuum sealers simply melt the plastic together. If you were to utilize a food bag that isn’t designed to be used in a vacuum sealer, you may be risking a bag melting over your food. Although, some models like the KOIOS Vacuum Sealer and the NESCO VS-02 allow you to vacuum-seal a canister rather than vacuum-sealing plastic bags only.
The benefits of having a vacuum sealer
Apart from the benefits offered by a vacuum sealer when cooking sous vide, below are the other benefits of a vacuum sealer.
Preserves Foods Longer
Apart from protecting your food items from potential freezer burn, vacuuming and sealing them also helps preserve them for a longer time than normal. A vacuum sealer would maintain the freshness of your food item for months and even years sometimes. Although, we recommend putting an oxygen absorber in the food bag if you intend to store the food items for a very long time. Also, you can put the bag inside a Mylar bag or Ziplock for additional protection.
This is one of the biggest benefits of having a vacuum sealer. A vacuum sealer helps to save money in two different ways. The first one is that you’ll get to preserve excess food rather than throwing it away because it’s bad. The money saved in the long run can really accumulate before you know it. The second way a vacuum sealer helps save money is by enabling you to purchase food items in a large quantity. Since you’ll be able to safely store them for several months when you vacuum-seal them, you can easily buy freezable food items in a large quantity.
Sous Vide Cooking
In French, Sous vide literally means “under vacuum”, and it alludes to food prepared inside a vacuum-sealed bag in a water bath that is temperature-controlled. As a result of this, there will be no case of under or overcooking, and there will be less shrinkage and no wasted food. If you like sous vide cooking, a vacuum sealer such as the GERYON Vacuum Sealer Machine makes sure that there is a firm seal on your food before utilizing it in a flowing water bath.
Based on the strength of the suction, vacuuming and sealing can affect proteins texture negatively – especially chicken and fish.
Save Your Silverware
While vacuum sealers were primarily designed for food preservation, they can be utilized to protect your silver cutlery also. If you have lots of silverware, they may corrode or tarnish over time if they’re exposed to excessive air and moisture. You don’t need to spend lots of time to polish your silverware and get them shiny and nice if you utilize your vacuum sealer to reduce exposure to air and moisture. Ensure you wrap the pieces of the silverware in a cloth before sealing them, thereby preventing them from tearing the fabric.
Features to consider while choosing a vacuum sealer
It’s not a good idea to go shopping for a vacuum sealer without having prior knowledge of the things you need to check. So, if you’re in the market for one of these machines, below are the key factors you must consider and keep in mind.
Vacuum sealer type
There are three primary types of vacuum sealers and we will highlight them below.
Handheld Valve Sealers – This types of vacuum sealers are designed to eliminate air from specifically built zipper storage bags in order to help maintain the freshness of the food. However, they have a tendency of not performing as well as the other types, which is why most people overlook them. If you admire the convenience offered by smaller devices, you can find several external vacuum sealers that have an accessory port.
External Vacuum Sealers – This types of vacuum sealers operate by extracting the air from the lip of a bag that is put in a tiny chamber above the seal bar. The machine extracts the air upon the closure of the lid before melting the plastic bag with heat. Although external vacuum sealers aren’t as powerful as chamber sealers and are typically louder, they should be enough for home usage. If you plan to seal liquids or package lots of food simultaneously, you can’t look further than a chamber vacuum.
Chamber Vacuum Sealer – Chamber vacuum sealers operate by putting the sealed bag in the chamber and placing its lip above the seal bar. As soon as you close the lid and turn the machine on, the device then extracts the air and the bag is heat-sealed. Chamber vacuum sealers don’t need liquids to even be frozen prior to sealing, and can even seal mason jars with no requirement for unique accessories. They are significantly costlier than the other types, which is probably their biggest downside.
The general purpose behind vacuum-sealing your food is keeping it optimally fresh for as long as potential, and you require a powerful and potent vacuum to suck out the moist air in the food. The strength of a vacuum is typically measured in inches of mercury (inHg), and 15 to 25 inHG is appropriate for home cooking.
Sealing settings and controls
A pulse or manual button is one of the most vital controls you must look for in a vacuum sealer. It enables you to pulse the process slowly when you’re sealing delicate meals like crackers, chips, and berries so that you can stop before they are crushed. Also, you can freeze some delicate meals before you seal them if you want to avoid smashing them. Most individuals prefer units that feature a cancel button, which allows you to stop sealing or cycle simultaneously. An example of such a model is the Crenova VS100S.
Some models enable you to have control over the pressure of the vacuum by switching between normal or gentle pressure. While the gentle pressure setting utilizes less pressure to prevent you from breaking delicate food items such as crackers, a normal pressure setting utilizes maximum pressure and is ideal for pantry food items such as brown sugar or nuts. Other handy controls you may look for include dry and moist modes.
While the dry mode works as normal, the moist mode prolongs the sealing time to guarantee a firmer closure.
Accessories and extra features
This one is a little complicated since newer features are constantly being added to successive models of vacuum sealers. Therefore, while some options might have sealing action and multi-speed vacuum, others instantly catch the liquid overflow and are dishwasher-safe. Still, there are models that feature cutter and roll storage so that you don’t need to purchase expensive pouches in your bid to meet everyday packaging requirements. In the same way, other high-end models are equipped with dust removal features required for vacuum-sealing non-edible items such as books, documents, and more.
Another important thing to which you must pay attention is the machine’s portability. The handheld option is the most ideal if you want a unit with a small footprint. You must, however, keep in mind that lightweight and portable machines usually deliver low performance and they don’t last for long. A large model, on the other hand, you’ll get annoyed due to the space it takes. So, you might need to buy a machine that isn’t too big and not too lightweight.
Size and weight
The significance of the weight and size will depend largely on your kitchen’s size. Measure the counter space you have and think about your predicted usage frequency. Larger models will often come with storage for bag rolls and a couple of other features that provide a significant reason to create permanent space on your countertop. If space is a problem, however, go for a lightweight model that is easy to store. The most lightweight model on our list is the NutriChef Vacuum Sealer.
Another important thing you must check when making your purchase is the warranty. Even the best models may suddenly develop a fault after a while, with heavy usage. Therefore, it is vital to get a model with a one-year warranty at least to ease your mind in case you often use the machine. Models like the FoodSaver FM5200 and the FoodSaver V4440 come with a five-year warranty each.
Refrigerate or freeze your food – Prior to buying a vacuum sealer, you must keep in mind that vacuum sealing won’t offer complete protection to your food against spoilage. While vacuum-sealing your food normally increases the food’s life by five times at least, you still need to keep the food in the refrigerator or freezer if you want it to maintain its freshness.
Vacuum sealer bags – You can’t use just any bag when it comes to these machines, as most of them are engineered to only work with certain kinds of bags. Therefore, you must ensure that you buy the bags that are compatible specifically with your machine. Or else, the bags may get crammed in the appliance or refuse to seal properly.
Freeze the liquids – If you plan to vacuum-seal liquid foods, like soups or sauces, then you must ensure you first freeze the liquid and seal it inside the bag afterward. Or else, the machine may extract the air as well as the liquid, which will create a mess and probably damage the appliance.
Leave some extra space – When you’re looking to vacuum-seal any product in a bag, refrain from overfilling the bag. Bear in mind that you have to leave some spare space at the top of the bag, about four inches at least. Your failure to do so may result in you not being able to get a decent seal. Also, leaving some extra space means that if your first seal isn’t good enough, you can easily create a second seal a little further up.
Optimum smoothness – Try as much as possible to keep the bags extremely smooth, since any wrinkle on the bags will manufacturer pockets of air inside the seal, thereby prevent the bag from sealing airtight.
Resealing the bag – A commonly made mistake by people that wastes lots of time and food bags is that they try opening and repeating the process when they notice that a bag isn’t sealed properly. Sometimes, they even utilize another bag. As we mentioned earlier, if you leave extra space at the bag’s top, you can just create a second seal upon the failure of the first seal.
Sharp Items – Whenever you try vacuum-sealing a food item that has sharp edges, like meat with bones or even dried pasta, firstly wrap the item in a delicate material, like a soft paper towel, as any sharp object can damage the bag and allow air to come inside without you noticing anything at all.
Oxygen absorber bags – For optimum outcomes, some individuals utilize oxygen absorber bags inside their vacuum-sealed bags, in the event that there is a narrow hole in the food bag that wasn’t noticed by them. Oxygen absorbers usually contain non-dangerous iron powder, which extracts any surplus oxygen that may be remaining in a plastic bag.
Clean your vacuum sealer – Cleanliness is the number one secret to keep all your appliances working rightly, which is even truer if you are dealing with a vacuum sealer. Vacuum-sealing various types of food items every day will obviously get your machine dirty and if you fail to clean it, you can get yourself ready to purchase a new machine in a very short while.
It is very easy to clean any vacuum sealer, regardless of which brand it is. In fact, you can do it in just a couple of minutes. You only have to use a damp cloth to wipe it over and regularly clean the drip tray. Make sure you pay close attention to everything, particularly the sealing strip, as any food traces remaining on the sealing bar may affect the whole sealing process.