Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Vacuum Sealers Suck

Unlike the ancient techniques of dehydrating or smoking, vacuum sealing is one of our youngest food preservation techniques. As with many newer technologies, this one came out of the industrial boom of World War II.

Vacuum sealing as we know it was developed by a German citizen named Karl Busch around 1940 for preserving food on a small scale. He didn’t introduce economical industrial vacuum sealers until 1963, beginning a worldwide revolution in food preservation. The Busch Vacuum Solutions Company is still in business today and continues to innovate.

The basic concept of vacuum sealing is simply the removal of air from the Mylar or plastic package that contains the food. This reduces oxidation, and most notably freezer burn, preserving the food for longer periods. In addition, the vacuum sealing process helps prevent spoilage by minimizing the growth of harmful bacteria, fungi and micro-organisms.

The first thing needed is obviously a vacuum sealing machine. We have a model similar to this; when we got ours it was considerably less expensive. However, there are quite a few budget friendly options available.

The Author's Vacuum Sealing Machine and rolls of bags

Most machines come with a small starter roll of sealer bags, but more bags can be purchased as needed

All vacuum sealing machines have certain standard features such as a bag cutter, but some have additional accessories, such as an attachment for sealing different types of containers.

This is the process we follow when vacuum sealing meat, using chicken quarters we bought in a value pack from our local grocery outlet as an example

  1. Stage all the equipment and supplies ready at hand.
  2. Rinse the chicken and pat dry.
  3. Seal one end of the bag and cut to length.
  4. Place the chicken in the bag, pushing it against the bottom seal and avoid getting any juices on the opening.
  5. Place the open end of the bag in the sealing chamber, making sure there are no fold or creases.
  6. Activate the vacuum sealing function.
  7. Check to make sure the bag was properly sealed and there are no leaks.
  8. Label the bag with the contents and date.
  9. Clean any food residue off the machine.

Two chicken quarters sealed and ready for the freezer

Maintenance is generally fairly simple: we wipe it down and disinfect the unit after each use. Our model has a vacuum chamber tray that can be readily removed for easy cleaning.

Many different items besides food can be vacuum sealed using these machines. I know people who have sealed packets of ammunition, emergency clothes, and even matches.

A good vacuum sealing machine and quality bags can provide a valuable resource for preserving and protecting our preps.

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