Vacuum sealing frozen food is a great way to prolong the life of your food and ensure safe defrosting. Vacuum sealing is a simple process that takes only minutes to complete.
Vacuum sealing and freezing your food offers a range of benefits outside of prolonging the life of your food. One of the primary benefits is ensuring your foods are free from unsafe bacteria. Too much oxygen can cause discoloration to foods and cause the dish to develop a bad flavor. This danger is generally prevalent with fatty foods such as meats.
Dried, frozen and refrigerated foods can be vacuum sealed, though some people also choose to vacuum seal liquids. Keep in mind that if you choose to vacuum seal a liquid, it must be frozen first to prevent the liquid from entering the vacuum. Gravies and thick sauces can be stored in a silicon Tupperware storage dish in the freezer until it is ready to be removed for vacuum sealing. Using silicon is helpful in removing the liquid from the container when you are ready to seal the frozen liquid.
While most vacuum-sealed foods are stored in the freezer, the refrigerator is also a safe place to store sealed foods. However, if a food is not perishable, it can be stored at room temperature (perishable food items include meats and dairy products). Nonperishable foods include dry goods such as crackers and nuts. No matter where you store the food, ensure you follow the proper steps to vacuum sealing to avoid contamination.
Vacuum sealing comes with risks. If you are not careful, you can contaminate the food allowing bacteria to grow inside the vacuum seal. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, some harmful bacteria that only grow in air-tight settings can grow much better and more rapidly in vacuum sealed products than if they were not vacuum sealed. Such bacteria doesn’t always lead to discoloration, as with foods that are not vacuum sealed, which can lead to you accidentally eating bad foods that look normal. Use gloves or tongs when handling food and wash hands thoroughly before handling foods. Countertops and cutting boards should be clean at all times to avoid cross-contamination.
When working with home canned foods, vacuum sealing does not replace pressure canning or water baths.
Vacuum sealing your food is quick and easy. Vacuum sealers come with sealing bags available in rolls. Cut the bag several inches longer than the item you are preparing to be sealed. Place one end of the bag in the sealer and start your vacuum sealer until a full cycle is complete. The first part of the cycle runs the vacuum, while the second half seals the bag closed. Store vacuum-sealed food immediately in the freezer once both ends of the bag are sealed firmly. Letting the food sit at room temperature can lead to bacterial growth.