Vacuum Sealer: Kitchen necessity
By Chef Brandi
My least favorite things about cooking was the shopping, because there is nothing more annoying to me than spending hundreds of dollars on fresh fruit and vegetables only to throw them away before they are used, or the multi-times a week trip to the farmer’s markets and grocery only to grab what I need before it spoils. The solution was something that I have been using for years in my culinary career, vacuum sealing. Vacuum sealing is a combination of special plastic bags that range from 17 dollars to about 40; a machine to remove the air completely from the bags, locking in freshness and flavor. The vacuum seal machine can be either a flat sealer they range from 50 dollars to 700 or in a chamber sealer which range from about 300 to 3000 dollars. Chamber sealers I recommend for hunters, canners, serious meal preppers. Two luxury appliance brands Miele and Wolf actually have a chamber sealer drawer, perfect for using with their steam ovens. I prefer the plastic roll, it allows me to make any size bag that I want, and also to make multiple bags is in a row. I use the multiple bag system for meal prep. Vacuum sealing can involve a small time commitment if you are using it for meal prep and bulk shopping. I delegate about 2.5 to 3 hours for shopping, portioning, and putting away my groceries. I start by vacuum sealing one end of the roll, I put a portion of fresh vegetables, a little seasoning (garlic, salt, pepper, fresh herbs,) seal that end, then my protein with a marinade or seasoning, seal that end, then if I have potatoes or fresh pasta I place and the end and vacuum seal and finally cut the bag. I like doing it this way because everything I need for one meal is one portioned of section and now all I have to do is pull it out and I am ready to go. I use it for so many other things, to help preserve all my summer vegetables, so I can enjoy them in winter. Also, the ability to just take my bag of vegetables and throw them in a pot a boiling water and cook them in the seasoning at the same time is so much more nutritious, normally steaming vegetables will leach all the vitamins into the water, cooking them in the vacuum seal bag keeps them locked into each other. I can now make huge batches of family favorites alfredo, taco meat, and store the leftover in portion bags. Being in the culinary field I use it for sous vide, which I will cover more in depth on another day, but is basically a system of poaching food in a water bath, that stays at a certain temperature and makes the best steaks you will ever eat. However, my most favorite thing about vacuum storing is that now when I open my freezer there is so much space, it is not a giant puzzle, where I am trying to figure out where to put the new stuff, and if the old stuff is freezer burned or not. Vacuum sealers can even come with different sensitivities so they are able to reseal potato chip bags, sandwiches for lunches, pastries, and some even have the ability to seal and reseal jars. Vacuum seal systems are one of my all around favorite kitchen tools, from food prep, to storage, and cooking.