Flutterby™! : Vaccuum Packing?

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Vaccuum Packing?

2006-08-31 19:51:12.368968+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

What do y'all know about vacuum packing in the home? I mean, I've thought about building a vacuum system out of an old refrigerator compressor for compressing the resin out of carbon fiber construction, but I'm thinking more for food preservation and preparation.

Not an immediate purchase, just one of those casual "keep my eyes open at garage sales" things and I'd like to know what to look for. Spurred on by the acquisition of the dehydrator and an entry or two over at Ideas In Food.

[ related topics: Food Machinery ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2006-08-31 20:10:42.440798+00 by: Larry Burton [edit history]

I've got a small vacuum packer. It's great for sealing up cheeses before putting them in the refrigerator and meats you plan to put in the freezer. I guess they would be pretty good for dried foods also. The biggest thing I use it for, though, is resealing tortilla chip bags. The bags are a little pricey. Look at FoodSaver.com to see what I'm using.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-08-31 23:56:19.332385+00 by: Diane Reese

I have a FoodSaver also. I use it regularly: no more freezer burn! It allows me to actually shop at Costco and repackage the cost-effective contents into smaller packages for individual meals. I've used it for summer berries (which I use on waffles during the winter), dried fruit slices, cheeses, marinades, and of course meats and fish. One of the best parts of my new kitchen was putting in the "appliance garage" where I could keep the FoodSaver plugged in and behind the roll-top door, so it was always handy and I didn't have to hike to the laundry room and get it out of its box on the shelf where I'd stored it.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-09-01 01:34:39.322592+00 by: Dan Lyke

What's the cost per bag look like? I'm seeing that the official refills run about $.50 per linear foot, which means that this isn't something you use for cheap food, but a couple of people saying that you can other refills, just without the patented grooves to make sure you've got all the air out.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-09-01 02:00:15.02223+00 by: Larry Burton

I'm guessing I average about a foot per bag. On things like cheese that I'll take out and slice a little off then reseal I try to leave enough extra bag to do the resealing. With meats and stuff that I'm not going to be resealing I try to use no more than enough to just seal it.

You can also get other containers that are sort of like tupperware that you vacuum seal. I don't use those so I couldn't tell you about them. There are also wine corks you can get to reseal those whites and rosés. I haven't used those either.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-09-01 03:43:46.743884+00 by: Diane Reese

You can get mega-sets of rolls on eBay; I do that every year or two. (Right now there are six 18' rolls of the 11" width for $10, for instance, which works out to roughly 10cents a foot.) As Larry says, I pick a length based on what I am using it for: meat and produce which will be frozen and opened once get a just-big-enough length, while the reseal-multiple-times items like cheese need some slop to cut off and reseal. The newer bag materials say they can be rinsed and reused, but I can't remember ever actually doing that.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-09-01 19:44:59.172642+00 by: Dan Lyke

Okay, so at the huge quantities we're talking $.10 per bag, or roughly what a standard freezer bag costs. And the "leave a little and re-use it" makes sense, too (although I think for most of the things I'm thinking of, either dehydrated stuff or large blocks of cheeses, I'd just go for single-opening portions instead).

#Comment Re: made: 2006-09-02 16:53:07.167602+00 by: TheSHAD0W

"Vacuum packing" doesn't require a hard vacuum; it isn't necessary to remove ALL the air from the package. You're merely removing most of the oxygen from contact with the food. You can probably achieve a sufficient "vacuum" with a small muffin fan.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-09-02 23:31:16.397688+00 by: Dan Lyke

Yeah, but some of the fun stuff starts to happen when you get closer to a full vacuum. Like using that to break cells in the processing of vegetables, for instance.

#Comment Re: made: 2006-09-03 01:49:26.695181+00 by: Dan Lyke

Oh, I'd also add... That one of my immediate applications, dried apples, would need more than a muffin fan drawing air out of the bag in order to crush the apples into conformance with the bag.