Some people see food vacuum sealers as an optional, even unnecessary, kitchen appliance. Yes, it takes up space and requires vacuum sealer bags to work. But in the long run, it’s money-saving benefits outweigh these downsides. Here are ways how vacuum sealing food can help manage your grocery budget, reduce cost and limit waste.
It makes chilled and frozen food lasts longer.
We usually use plastic containers or regular cling wrap to store food in the refrigerator or freezer. While this can preserve our food, it will only last for a few days. Keeping food frozen for a long time is not ideal either due to freezer burn. Exposing stored food in cold air and moisture can quickly affect its taste and quality.
Vacuum sealing food, however, eliminates air from the equation. With this technique, you get to maintain its quality for up to five times longer. Vacuum-sealed meat, for example, stays fresh and free of freezer burn for a couple of years. I especially like using food vacuum sealers for food that can spoil quickly, like bread, cheese and fresh produce. Even leftovers can last for a week when vacuum sealed. By preserving your food supply, you won’t have to throw and buy as much.
It extends the shelf life of dry goods.
Have you checked on your pantry items lately? Even food items like dry beans, flour, pasta and oats can become mouldy when taken out of their original packaging. Air and moisture are still our number one culprit. Dry ingredients like nuts and coffee can lose their flavour, too, when not stored properly. And that also means lots of waste and money down the drain.
Typically, dry goods are available in large packages. So, if you’re in a small household, long-term food storage is a must. Here’s what you can do. Divide your bag of sugar or rice into manageable portion sizes. Transfer some in jars or plastic containers, then use a vacuum food sealer to store the rest. Make sure to label your vacuum-sealed food properly. I find this technique rather useful for keeping expensive dry goods like herbs and spices.
It lets you buy bulk-food and seasonal items.
One of the best things about vacuum sealing food at home is that you can buy groceries on sale! Now, you won’t have to worry about spoilage after shopping for food in bulk. With a vacuum sealer machine, you can purchase inexpensive fresh fruits, then turn them to smoothies or jam even when they’re not in season. Also, even if you’re living with a small family, a vacuum sealer lets you enjoy expensive items on sale without wasting food or money.
Buying in bulk has benefits other than saving money. For instance, it limits your trips to grocery stores. If you’re into sous vide cooking, you can also seal your food in individual portions to reduce kitchen prep and cooking time.
It saves your homegrown produce.
Growing your fruits and vegetables is an efficient way to cut back on food expenses. If you’re caring for potted fresh herbs, recreating a restaurant-worthy meal at home is effortless without the extra cost. But if you have too many plants and trees, it’s hard to use up all your fresh produce before they spoil. The last thing you want is to tend to a beautiful garden then waste the fruits of your labour.
In this case, a food vacuum sealer comes in handy. Come harvest time, use some for dinner then blanch and freeze the rest. Vacuum sealing food is the key to enjoying nature’s bounty. Plus, it keeps you busy pickling, fermenting or jam making in the kitchen! Now, you can have seasonal fruits and vegetables year-round and have extras to give as gifts.
It makes cheap cuts of meat taste better.
If you love steaks, the best way to cook them is through sous vide. With a vacuum sealer machine, all you need is to season the meat, seal then cook. As all the juices stay inside, your expensive steak is flavourful, moist and perfectly cooked every time.
But what about more affordable cuts like chicken thighs and fish? Well, vacuum sealing can speed up and improve marination. The pressure from the seal stretches the meat pores to let your marinade penetrate. Opening the bag releases the vacuum, closes the pores and locks in your marinade. This way, any meat type will taste wonderful, whether you’re grilling, frying or sous-vide cooking. Plus, you can cut your marination time in half or even less.
It suits your meal prep routine.
If you’ve hopped on the meal prep bandwagon, then you know how this habit can be an excellent money and time saver. I love doing this on Sundays when everything’s calm and peaceful at home. But the thing is, those stack of food containers can take up space in the fridge and freezer. And if you’re meal prepping for a large family, well, you’ll barely have room for supplies to last a week.
Good thing food vacuum sealers make great meal prep partners! They’ll keep your stash fresh longer while saving space. And there are many ways how to do it. For instance, you can:
- Batch cook soups, stews or pasta sauces, vacuum seal them in portions, then freeze.
- Make a batch of dressing or dip then store them in pouches to go with your packed salad.
- Buy fruits in bulk, freeze them in sealed bags, then blitz them for your morning smoothies.
- Whip up homemade chicken nuggets or burgers for freezing and easy pan-frying.
- Season portioned servings of meat or fish for sous vide cooking.
With meals all sealed and ready to cook or reheat, you can rest easy for days when you’re too busy or not feeling well. Keen to include vacuum sealing to your kitchen habits? Check out this review of the best food vacuum sealers!