Whether dehydrating or freeze drying, we can use vacuum seal containers to extend the shelf life of our food. There are various methods of vacuum food storage, including the use of jars, cans and bags, each with their own nuances and benefits.
How to work with sealed food containers
The mechanism behind a food vacuum sealer involves a pump and a bag. They’re extremely effective at pulling oxygen out of your container, to be as air tight as possible.
One downside is what a vacuum sealer will cost. You’ll notice that a vacuum sealer machine will often be able to close your bags without letting air back in, but it comes at a price.
Another simple vacuum container is a jar. You can use a manual pump and seal your jars using your one-way air nozzle. This method is an effective and less expensive than a vacuum sealer machine, and you can also use various accessories to pump air out of a sealed jar.
You can also use a pressure canner to safely preserve food in jars. This method uses boiling water to vacuum seal multiple jars at once, and can be an expensive up-front investment. Using your home oven isn’t as effective at boiling water, which pulls oxygen out of your jars, and isn’t recommended for regular use.
You may also choose to use water displacement for seal a meal bags. Start by partially closing a zip-lock bag of food, and immersing it in a large container of water. The liquid outside of the bag will push air out, right up to the point where you finish sealing it.
The benefits and drawbacks of vacuum seal containers
Use a food vacuum sealer to prevent the process of oxidation, and extend the length of your food’s shelf life. As a result, the chemicals in your food storage aren’t broken down by exposure to air.
A vacuum sealer machine is easy to use, and often will provide additional accessories, such as an external air pump for your vacuum seal jars. However, they can take up a lot of counter space, as well.
Manual pump, pressure canning and other methods for your vacuum container will require a little extra work. They’re also an economic option that will allow your fruits, veggies, meats and other foods to last much longer.
Your vacuum sealed food will also prevent freezer burn. There are additional methods that you can use to maximize your food’s shelf life and authentic nutrients and flavor, as well.
Use vacuum food storage with your food dehydrator
One fact worth mentioning when using a vacuum seal canister, is the presence of moisture. Bacteria thrives in moisture, so if you’re storing meat, vegetables, fruit and even soup, your food’s water content will cause it to break down over time.
There are various preservative methods that can extend shelf life in the short term. Pasteurization and nitrates are common examples in meats and vegetables, but they only take you so far, as they don’t address the moisture itself.
Freeze drying is an effective means of reducing 98-99% of your food’s moisture. A food sealer is often included with a freeze dryer machine, as they’re both expensive and large piece of food storage equipment.
You can use a meat dehydrator to reduce the moisture content of your food by up to 95%. While this will certainly lead to greater spoilage than freeze drying, it can allow you to store your food for many months longer than vacuum sealing and freezing, alone.
Using a dehydrator machine is a great way to take advantage of additional food storage methods, very inexpensively!