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Using a vacuum sealer involves the following steps – purchasing the right vacuum bags, preparing the food you wish to store, filling the bags, pressing start, and storing your newly sealed food.
Vacuum sealers are handy household appliances that allow you to efficiently pack and store food items for long periods. If you would like to learn more about how to work a vacuum sealer, refer to our detailed vacuum sealer use guide below.
1. Purchase The Right Vacuum Bags
The first step to using a vacuum sealer is buying the right bags. Most vacuum sealer bags come with a thickness between 3 Mil – 10 Mil and cost anywhere from $0.15 – $0.34 per bag. Not all bags are compatible with all makes and models of vacuum sealers, which is something to keep in mind when making a purchase.
It’s important to note that vacuum bag thickness is measured in Mil, which is 1/1000th of an inch. This is not the same 1 millimeter.
Moreover, all vacuum bags come with a front and back side. Telling the difference between the two is easy as the front side will be clear and smooth and the backside textured.
If you’re sealing soft items like dried fruits or raw chicken breast, you can get away with using thinner bags. When sealing food items that contain bones, thicker bags are the better options.
How long you plan on storing sealed food items also plays a role in what thickness of bags you should use. The longer you plan on storing sealed food items, the thicker bags you should buy.
2. Fill The Bag With Food
Now that you have the appropriate bags, it’s time to prepare the food you wish to use for vacuum sealing.
When preparing meat, cut off all fat, nerves, and sinew you don’t plan on cooking. Once done, cut the meat into portions that fit comfortably within the vacuum sealer bags you’ve purchased.
If you’re packaging items with hard edges, like raw pasta or bones, you may want to wrap them in a paper towel before vacuum sealing. Doing this will help ensure the sharp edges don’t punctuate the bag.
Finally, if you’re vacuum sealing liquid, you should consider freezing it first. Doing this will save you lots of trouble and makes the process easier.
When filling the bag, always leave three to five inches of space between the top of the bag and the food item. Doing this ensures you always get a good seal that won’t come undone over time.
3. Start Vacuum Sealing
To begin the sealing process, lay the vacuum sealer down flat on the countertop and open the lid. Once opened, locate the sealing strip and place the open end of the bag on top of it.
At this stage, all that’s left to do is close the lid, press start, and wait for the process to finish. Keep in mind that some models have several vacuum settings. If your model fits into this category, be sure to familiarize yourself with the different options and settings before using it.
If you have a handheld vacuum sealer, the process is still straightforward. Simply lay the filled vacuum bag down flat on the counter or other hard surface, press the sealing end of the hand-held device down on the bag, and hold the trigger until all air has been vacuumed out of the bag.
4. Store Vacuum Sealed Food
Once you’ve successfully vacuum sealed everything you wish to store, the only thing left to do is load the packages into the freezer.
Generally speaking, vacuum sealed food lasts up to 5 times longer than non-vacuum sealed food. However, this is only true if the bag has an airtight seal. Because of this, always take a moment to examine the bag, checking for any loose areas or openings, before placing it in the freezer.
What Should I Know Before Using A Vacuum Sealer
What is a vacuum sealer? Invented in the 1960’s, vacuum sealers are designed to package food items in an airtight, oxygen-free, bag for storage. It does this by removing oxygen and other gasses from the plastic bag and sealing it once all air has been removed.
When all the oxygen and other gasses are removed, it stops certain chemical reactions from occurring that are known to break down food. Because of this, most vacuum sealed food can last anywhere from three to five years when stored in the freezer.
You shouldn’t vacuum seal foods like mushrooms, garlic, and unpasteurized cheese. These foods can contain anaerobic bacteria, which can grow in an oxygen-free environment.
What Are The Stages Of Using A Vacuum Sealer
Using a vacuum sealer can be broken down into the following steps:
- Preparing the food you wish to vacuum seal and placing it in an appropriate vacuum sealer bag.
- Turning the vacuum sealer on, opening the lid, and placing the vacuum sealer bag on top of the sealing strip.
- Close the lid, press start, and wait for the process to finish. Once done, move the vacuum-sealed food directly into the freezer.
Does The Vacuum Sealer Type Affect The Usage Stages?
Yes, the vacuum sealer type does affect the usage stages. When using a handheld sealer, you’ll simply press the nozzle down over the top of the open end of the bag and pull the trigger. Hold the trigger until all air has been removed from the bag.
While hand-held vacuum sealers are convenient and take up much less space, they are not considered the best vacuum sealers as they are less powerful.
Is A Vacuum Sealer For Clothes Better Than Using An Impulse Sealer?
No, using a vacuum sealer for clothes is not better than using an impulse sealer. For starters, vacuum sealers are designed to be used with food items. Secondly, the average vacuum sealer isn’t compatible with the size of bag one would require to package clothes.
Because of this, when it comes to the question of vacuum sealer vs. impulse sealer for packing clothes, the impulse sealer is the clear winner.
Is Using A Vacuum Sealer For Food Better Than Using Tin Foil?
Yes, using a vacuum sealer for food is better than using tinfoil. While Tinfoil may be sufficient when storing leftovers for a day or two, it doesn't create an air-tight, oxygen-free environment. Because of this, any food wrapped in tin foil will be exposed to degradation and bacteria growth.
Is A Chamber Vacuum Sealer Better Than A Nozzle Vacuum Sealer For Sealing Meat?
Yes, a chamber vacuum sealer is better than a nozzle vacuum sealer for sealing meat. While both options will work fine, chamber vacuum sealers are more heavy-duty and can generate a much higher suction force.
In commercial environments, chamber vacuum sealers are strongly preferred. The only downside to a Chamber vacuum sealer is that they do take up more space than nozzle sealers.
Still, of all the different types of vacuum sealers, chamber sealers are considered the best.
How To Use A Vacuum Sealer For Other Uses Besides Sealing Ingredients
If you think outside the box a bit, vacuum sealers can be used for several other uses besides sealing ingredients and packaging food. To learn more about the different uses of a vacuum sealer, refer to the sections below.
How To Use A Vacuum Sealer As A Laminate Machine
To use a vacuum sealer as a laminate machine, follow these steps:
- Place the book or document into a vacuum seal bag and place the open end of the bag in the vacuum strip.
- Close the vacuum sealer lid and press the start button.
- Wait for the process to finish.
When using a vacuum sealer as a laminate machine, it’s to remember that the process doesn;t work well with single documents printed on thin paper. In most cases, a vacuum sealer is used to protect a book or series of documents from degrading, and not for laminating a single piece of paper.
How To Use A Vacuum Sealer As A Hydration Pack
To use a vacuum sealer as a hydration pack, follow these steps:
- Fill the vacuum sealer bag roughly ¾ full of water or other liquid.
- Place the bag in the freezer in an upright position to avoid spillage.
- Once frozen, take the bag out and vacuum seal the top.
When using a vacuum sealer as a hydration pack, always freeze the water first before vacuuming sealing. If you don't, it will become difficult to keep the water inside the bag, and any escaping water could damage your bag.
How To Use A Vacuum Sealer As An Underwater Camera Case
To use a vacuum sealer as an underwater camera case, follow these steps:
- Place the camera in an appropriately sized vacuum sealer compatible bag.
- Open the vacuum sealer and place the open end of the bag on top of the vacuum strip.
- Close the lid, and press start.
While you can use a vacuum sealer to create an underwater camera case, it is recommended that you opt for a professional grade case instead. If the seal was to come undone while you’re underwater, it could ruin your camera.