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Vacuum packaging of products with improvised means
Vacuum packaging is one of the best ways to extend the shelf life of food without cooking it. So, for example, frozen fruits and vegetables packed in bags without air access can be stored for up to two years, and simply frozen – at most 12 months. With fresh a similar picture – up to 2 weeks in sealed bags, versus 2-3 days without them.
The problem is that a vacuum sealer is a rather expensive device. In the USA, for example, their price ranges from $ 150 to over $ 1000, which not everyone can afford. Seriously, to shell out that kind of money for a thing that has only one, and also rather limited in usefulness, function is waste. Moreover, you can do without it too.
But yes, it will be a little harder and longer. In addition, you will need the zip-lock packages anyway. It is desirable – with a double seal and made of dense plastic, since they are much more reliable, and the methods that will be discussed later involve a serious load. For example, the use of water. After all, if it gets into a ready-made dish due to holes in the package, it will ruin everything that can be spoiled.
So now we will tell you how you can provide vacuum packaging of products in improvised ways.
4 ways to vacuum package products with your own hands
The task of all this action is not so much to remove all the air that is, as to prevent new things from coming in. You seal the bag hermetically, the remaining oxygen is quickly consumed by the microflora, the product deteriorates slightly, the oxygen disappears, the spoilage process stops. Therefore, in fact, it is advisable to freeze this business – to finally finish off the microorganisms.
1. Straw method
You will need a ziplock bag and a thin (preferably) tube. And yes, this is the easiest method anyone can use. The only pity is that with its help it is not always possible to completely remove all the air.
- Place the groceries in the bag.
- Fasten the zip lock, leaving a little space in the corner for a straw to slide through.
- Simply suck the air out of the bag until the walls begin to adhere tightly to the contents.
- While continuing to maintain negative pressure, carefully and quickly remove the straw and close the ziplock. For convenience, hold the bag with your hands in the place where the tube passes.
Using a vacuum cleaner immediately comes to mind – approx. ed.
2. Water method
This is also a fairly simple way, you also do not need to be afraid, unlike the previous option, that air will penetrate inside before sealing. The problem is that it doesn’t guarantee 100% oxygen removal either.
- Resemble a large saucepan or basin with room temperature water.
- Place the food inside the bag.
- Close, but not completely, but leaving a little free space.
- Submerge in water. The water pressure will expel air through the remaining hole.
- Immerse at an angle of about a millimeter above the uncovered part. Water should not be poured inside. In this position, close the zip lock.
3. Double bag method
Very similar to the very first option, only more reliable. The point is that you are using multiple zip-lock bags, creating a “double barrier”.
- Seal small food bags using Method # 1.
- Place them all together in a large bag (3-4 liters).
- Close it, leaving a hole for the straw.
- Suck the air out again and carefully remove the straw without letting it come back.
- Done. Double barrier, halving the chances of oxygen getting inside.
4. Microwave method
Yeah, this device is in almost every home, and it can be used to remove air as follows:
- Place food in a bag.
- Close it, leaving the zip lock slightly open.
- Select the maximum setting and turn on the microwave for 30 seconds.
- Immediately after the beep, open the door and quickly slide the zip-lock until it stops. Caution, the plastic may be hot.
This method is best used with products made from a material that can be heated in the microwave without the fear that it will melt or that some kind of chemical muck will get into the food.
Sealing dry or loose food is slightly different from working with wet or liquid food such as soups or stews. However, the above methods are suitable for all options, although in the second case, you have to tinker a little. Here are a couple of tips to make your job easier.
- With liquid food, the volume should be filled approximately halfway, leaving 2.5-5 cm of free space on top.
- After partially closing the zip-lock, try to squeeze out as much air as possible by hand.
- Remove the bag from the table and press it against the corner so that all the liquid part hangs down, and the remaining air and zip-lock are on a horizontal surface.
- Make sure there are no air pockets below the fold.
- Squeeze out the remaining air again and close the zip-lock. You can use the same tube.
Vacuum sealers are a great thing that ensures that there is definitely no air left inside the bag. Improvised methods cannot boast of this, however, the main volume of air can still be removed with their help. But yes, it does take some skill, time and patience. Especially when working with liquids and soups. So we recommend that you always have a stock of zip-lock packages at home – you never know when you may need them.