Being able to store organic food items for a longer period can save you a lot of expenses. Vegetables and fruits are not always available at heavy discounts. Further, your eyes might turn out to be larger than your bags when season-specific fruits or vegetables are on sale. But given that organic matter is prone to decay, buying in bulk might be a critical decision to make!
Either you need to store the surplus efficiently enough to sustain it for a longer time or dump them off as food-waste! The latter doesn’t sound morally fitting if you are aware of 9 million people, around the globe, dying due to hunger, annually. Let’s not get into either malnutrition or the environmental impact of food waste to helplessly watch the statistics shooting up. The point is- we should know how privileged we are and refrain from wasting food. However, when it comes to storing vegetables and fruits, nothing can challenge the efficiency of vacuum sealing!
You would be amazed to learn how long will vacuum-sealed vegetables last in the refrigerator! Most vegetables, such as green beans having a shelf life of a couple of months, can stay fresh for 2-3 years when vacuum sealed before cold storage.
What, essentially, is Vacuum Sealing?
Vacuum sealing or ROP (Reduced Oxygen Packaging) hinders the oxidation of vegetables, fruits, meat, and other organic food material by sucking out the air from the storage pack. It develops a vacuum and anaerobic environment inside the storage bag to restrict the growth of aerobic bacteria or fungi. Vacuum sealing can also prevent the evaporation of volatile compounds. It retains the moisture content of the food, thereby, preserving its freshness without the use of harmful chemicals or preservatives.
The list of utilities does not end here! Vacuum sealing can also open up a myriad of ways for cooking. You can add a marinating sauce to the vacuum packaged food before sealing. It enhances the flavor by allowing the marinating sauce or spice to permeate faster. Sous vide and steam cooking are also other popular ways to utilize vacuum sealing techniques in the kitchen. A virtuous edge sealer might just be enough for domestic applications whilst a chamber sealer is better suited to rather heavy sealing requirements. No matter how small or large your kitchen space is, when it comes to selecting a vacuum sealing unit, there are several options from hand-held ones to commercial grade countertop food savers.
Can you Vacuum Fresh Fruits and Vegetables?
Whether it is your garden’s harvest or bulk purchased from a local store, fresh fruits and vegetables can be vacuum sealed!
Vacuum sealing fresh fruits reduces the average food waste generated in your household all year-round besides saving your precious bucks. Since Vacuum sealing keeps fruit fresh for a longer time, they can be bought in bulk for the entire year when they are in season or are available at a reasonable price. You can also smartly vacuum seal fresh seasonal berries from your garden without having to distribute them hurriedly before they rot.
Not only does vacuum sealing enhance the shelf-life of vegetables, but it also allows you to prepare food in advance and store the surplus for later consumption. Vacuum sealing fresh vegetables can also save a lot of time and effort on your busy days. You may slice or chop vegetables in advance and store them in the freezer after vacuum sealing. These could be used to cook at home, later when you are running out of time.
Yet, fruits and vegetables have their distinct methods and prerequisites for vacuum sealing- stick along to learn more!
The Correct way to Vacuum Seal Veggies
Larger vegetables and fruits can not be vacuum-sealed without slicing into smaller pieces. There are many reasons behind it, from the size of the vacuum sealing bag to the irregularities of the shape of the fruit or vegetable. Certain vegetables, especially cruciferous ones like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, kale, radishes, etc, cannot be sealed directly without pre-blanching them. Blanching refers to boiling vegetables for a short time and then immediately dropping them in ice-cold water. The boiling water decreases the enzyme activities that develop unwanted gas within the vacuum-sealed vegetables and cold water impedes the vegetable from cooking. Once cooled and perfectly cleaned of surface water, place the vegetables in the vacuum bag and seal them. Remember to store the packets in the freezer to keep the veggies fresh for a longer time.
Vacuum sealing restricts vegetables from coming in contact with air or microorganisms, thereby extending the shelf-life without the use of preservatives. Another essential benefit of vacuum sealing fresh vegetables is cutting off the expenses on ready-made or counter available food. In case you have a busy week ahead, chop the vegetables and vacuum seal them in small packets. These can be emptied directly into the pan for cooking at home and getting a healthy meal ready in a few minutes instead of depending on cup-soups or noodles from the variety shop to get snacks or meals on a busy day.
The Correct way to vacuum seal fresh fruits
I would not run into the risk of suggesting you blanching fruits that may end up haunting your taste-buds for a lifetime!
Generally, fresh fruits have more moisture than vegetables. Fruits are also more delicate than vegetables therefore, they might turn into smoothies when sealed with vacuum pressure. Consider freezing your fruits till they become slightly harder before vacuum sealing. This trick also works for sealing away juices, smoothies and other liquids. For fruits that are hard in structure already like apples or pineapples, wash the fruits thoroughly in clean water, dry them up and proceed to vacuum sealing without pre-freezing. You can choose to slice the sturdier fruits into smaller pieces for convenient sealing. Papaya and watermelons need to be washed, sliced, frozen and then vacuum sealed. Now you know the drill!
You might want to alter the suction power for softer foods for them to not get crushed. This is a feature that comes with some high-end edge sealers, weston pro 2300, for instance. On the contrary, all chamber sealers have this functionality built-in. We’ve reviewed the Vacmaster VP215 and its upgraded version, the Vacmaster VP320 for your reference, if you happen to be interested in these absolute mammoths.
Vacuum sealing can substantially enhance the shelf life of seasonal fruits to stay fresh for 5 times longer than their actual date of expiry. You can prepare small packets of fruit salad and carry them on your trip or to the office for healthy snacking.
Reusing Vacuum Sealed Food, Things you must know!
Reusing vacuum-sealed food is super easy! If the aforementioned ways of utilizing vacuum sealing for saving efforts and time wasn’t sufficient to convince you, we have got more ways to present!
If you use quality bags for vacuum sealing the fresh fruits and vegetables, it can be popped directly into the hot pot of water to boil. Thereafter, you can carefully remove the bag, after the food inside it is ready, to empty the contents directly onto your plate. Vacuum sealing can help the marinade permeate the vegetables faster, improving the taste of your home-made food without much hassle, time, or effort. If you have followed the right way of preparing the veggies and fruits for vacuum sealing, you need not fear a bit before opening the sealed contents and eating them straight from the packets. In case if the sealed content went a little larger in your estimation than you actually needed, worry not! You can reseal the fruits or vegetables without having to throw them!