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VIEWTutorials & Tips

The Appliance for the 21st Century Hunter-Gatherer

Way back in the day, getting a meal took a lot of work. You had to grab your spear and a few friends to take down a big animal. There were fishhooks to carve from bone and beaches to comb for critters. Things got easier though. Humans invented rifles, baitcasting reels, supermarkets and an amazing gadget for keeping the haul from an expedition almost as the day it was harvested.

Vacuum sealing is a practical method for preserving food and extending its shelf life. And for the homesteader or the active home chef, a vacuum sealer offers a cornucopia of utility. Items that have been prepped for sealing are first placed in a specialized heat seal plastic bag. The bag is inserted into an electronic vacuum sealer which quickly takes the air out of the bag and heat seals it. The result is an airtight, permanent seal that locks in freshness and prevents freezer burn. Sealed items can be stored in the freezer, refrigerator or pantry.

The benefits of vacuum sealing

You can use a vacuum sealer to keep meats, fish, fruits and vegetables, liquid foods and dry goods fresher longer. It gives you the flexibility to hunt now, fish now and eat whenever.  For anglers, some fish species are only catchable at specific times of year. But if sealed and frozen, that catch of the day” can be a specialty on your home menu for months to come. The same principle applies to hunting. Your seasonal window for bagging deer may be just weeks, but with a vacuum sealer you can enjoy that venison all year long. 

Vacuum sealing will help you save time and money and contributes greatly to kitchen efficiency. You can buy food in bulk and boost its longevity beyond when it would normally spoil or get stale. Want to stock up at your warehouse grocery store? Butcher having a clearance sale? You can purchase with confidence. Vacuum-sealed bags shield items from freezer burn, and their compressed size will take up less space in your storage areas. They’re also handy for preserving leftovers—just seal them up and toss in the fridge.  

For the home chef, a vacuum sealer makes it possible to have meals at the ready. Lasagna, chili and other family-style dishes can be cooked in advance and sealed in bags. So when you need to quickly get food on the table, it’s simply a matter of grabbing a portion from the freezer and reheating (the bag) in simmering water or the microwave. The appliance’s culinary applications don’t end there though. It’s super useful for cooking sous vide style and infusing foods with marinades and pickling brines. 

Finally, you can vacuum seal nonfood items such as keys, important documents and emergency supplies. For the outdoor enthusiast, it can protect items from rain or an unintended soak in the river or lake. And it’s a smart way keep valuables safe at home in the event of flooding.

Tips for using a sealer

Sealing meats and fish

Sealing dry goods

Maybe you want to stockpile your homemade jerky or need to prevent flour from going rancid. A vacuum sealer is capable of extending the shelf life of all kinds of dry goods, including cereals and grains, milled products, coffee, spices, nuts and beans. Sealed foods not only will stay fresher longer but they also take up less storage space. So if you’re a household that likes to buy provisions in bulk, owning a sealer makes a lot of sense.

Sealing liquids and moist foods

Traditional vacuum sealers work by sucking air from the bag containing the contents. Liquids such as soups and sauces and moist foods with juices(e.g., a steak) can be sealed with a traditional machine if steps are taken to prevent fluids from getting into it.

If you frequently need to preserve liquids (or powdery or fragile foods), consider upgrading to a chamber vacuum sealerWhen using this type of sealer, the bag (or other container) is placed inside a chamber. Air is removed from the chamber and a seal is created as air equalizes inside and outside the bag. This eliminates the risk of liquids or powders getting sucked into the machine, which can damage the device.

Vacuum-sealed cooking: sous vide and infusion

Sous vide is a method of cooking where vacuum-sealed food is submerged in a precisely temperature-controlled water bath. The consistent temperature ensures that food is evenly cooked throughout and reduces the chance of over or undercooking. Plus, the heavy-duty construction of specialized heat-seal bags locks in flavors, juices and nutrients. Vegetables, meats and fish can all be perfectly prepared, and the options for fantastic entrées and side dishes are endless—for starters, try a mouth watering venison osso buco served over rice or mashed potatoes. And to learn more, you can read our introduction to sous vide cooking.

In the culinary realm, pickling and marinating are two techniques commonly used to preserve and enhance foods. For the chef with a vacuum sealer (specifically a chamber sealer), both can be easily performed. It all happens via a pressure infusion process. Marinades and pickling brines are combined with food in a heat-sealed bag, which is then placed in the chamber. Pressure opens the fibers and cells of the meat, vegetable or fruit, allowing liquid to penetrate. It’s a huge timesaver and great for last-minute food prep. Tasks like pickling onions or marinating chicken can be accomplished in minutes rather than hours.

Protection for travel and outdoor adventure

When you’re not using a vacuum sealer to preserve edibles, you can use it to protect essential items you take into outdoor environments.

If you believe in making things last as long as possible, a vacuum sealer is a smart investment. It gives you more control over your food processing and flexibility in how and when you enjoy food, preserving the bounty of the hunt to enjoy all year round. It protects and preserves your important possessions. And it makes modern living more convenient and a bit less wasteful. 

Want the appliance for the 21st century hunter-gatherer? Purchase a vacuum sealer today! 



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