How to Vacuum Pack Meat, Poultry and Seafood Properly

xvaccuum-packing-chops.jpg.pagespeed.ic.4IOXwEkmpbVacuum sealing is a great option to keep the food fresh for long periods of time. Isn’t it quite convenient to get your desired food whenever you want? With vacuum sealing procedures you don’t have to run to market each time to buy meat, poultry and seafood. If you have been refrigerating these food products already then you might be disappointed with the results. Its because simply refrigerating meat and seafood often result in freezer-burn. It not only loses its freshness but also its flavor and texture. On the other hand, refrigeration works great with vacuum packed meat, poultry and seafood. It won’t stale and lose flavor.

The basic mechanism behind vacuum sealing food is removal of air. If your food is surrounded by air when you store it, no matter what you do its going to spoil. The oxygen in the air promotes growth of bacteria and molds, which spoil the food by changing its color, texture, smell and taste. This is the reason that vacuum sealing is a great idea to store meat, poultry and seafood in the refrigerator.

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So if you want to vacuum pack meat, poultry and seafood properly, there are three stages you must consider i.e. pre seal stage, sealing stage and post sealing stage. The proper vacuum sealing of meat, poultry and seafood is only possible if you consider all these stages. If you are sealing food that was not fresh and had already lost texture then the results will be poor. Such considerations come in the pre seal stage. Also, if you have opened a sealed package and you are not using it for one or two days then obviously it will affect the freshness of food. So, post sealing considerations are also important for you to enjoy fresh meat, poultry and seafood.
Lets read on to find out about each stage of how to vacuum pack meat, poultry and seafood properly.

Pre-Packaging Necessities:

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As discussed above, besides the vacuum sealing process the pre-sealing considerations are very important. So if you want to vacuum pack meat, poultry and seafood products, always consider the quality at the time of purchase. It will ensure the freshness or longevity of the food in the freezer. The meat you purchase for vacuum packing can be purchased from local butcher shop, since that will be fresh. However, if you have to purchase frozen food, then look for the packages with the latest date

After purchasing meat and seafood, always clean it and dry it quickly. Also, if you are planning o consume meat, poultry or seafood in portions then its ideal to cut it into pieces and store them in batches by vacuum sealing. Pre-freezing meat and seafood is required for vacuum sealing. Well, sometimes meat and seafood freezes in a very rough way, which risks losing its taste and texture. So pre-freezing should be short-term and you can also make an effort to spread freeze pieces on a towel paper to flash freezing. It will help keep the flavor and identity of meat and fish fresh for a long time.

Vacuum Packing Meat, Poultry and Seafood:

When you are done considering all the pre-sealing requirements, you are ready to seal the food in vacuumed packages. For your convenience, step by step process is as follows:

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  • Pick the bags for packaging. Picking a small bag is a good idea as there will be lesser air to remove but also make sure few inches space is left on the end. You can also use plastic rolls meant for sealing. Leaving space at the edges will allow for good seal. If meat has bones then protective netting or paper towel wrapping will be good before putting it into bag. This action will keep the bag from puncturing and food will not spoil. Also, dry the meat, poultry or seafood before putting it into the bag, since juicy foods are difficult to seal properly.
  • Once you have put the food in the vacuum bag, set up the vacuum sealer. Make sure the end of the package is dry, otherwise it won’t seal properly.
  • Turn on the vacuum sealer and place the edge of package on the sealing bar. Close the lid and press start button.
  • While the machine seals the package, support the package bottom with your hand. Don’t rush the process, instead let the machine remove the air from the package and seal it properly. You would observe the package starts shrinking due to removal of air. However, if the package is wrinkled then the air is still trapped in the package. So you can open the lid and check if its properly sealed. The package should be flat with no folding or wrinkles.
  • When the meat is vacuum packed, its ready for storage. You can refrigerate it or if you want you can also freeze it. Properly sealed packages are immune to freezer-burn.
  • Additionally, mention the sealing date on each package as it will help you track time. Its also wise to use oldest packages first. Though, vacuum sealed packages of meat, poultry and seafood stay fresh in freezer for almost 6 months to one year but its always recommended to use them as early as possible.
Post-Sealing Considerations:

After sealing and refrigerating the meat, poultry and seafood, keep track of the time. The shelf time of each sealed product is different. If you don’t take the post-sealing measures then there are good chances that you will end up consuming spoiled food. So mark the packages with sealing dates as mentioned-above.

There are many misconceptions about vacuum sealing meat and poultry. One of the most common misconceptions is that vacuum sealed food doesn’t spoil. Well, vacuum sealing does remove the oxygen from packages but there are some bacteria which can grow eventually in oxygen-free environment. So to avoid this risk, vacuumed packages of fresh meat, poultry and sea food are mostly refrigerated to increase the shelf life of food. However, over the long-term food does get spoiled even if it was vacuum packed.

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As a post-sealing measure, its always recommended to observe the appearance and smell of meat before use. You can easily notice the change in color, texture and smell of meat if its spoiling. It mostly turns dark purple in color and smells bitter. So if you are observing a change in any feature, don’t take any risks. In some cases, certain vacuum packed meat gives strong smell upon opening the package which subsides after 20 minutes. When odor doesn’t go away, avoid using it. If necessary, make sure food is safe to use, otherwise throw away the spoiled food and never restore it.

Tips to Properly Vacuum Pack Meat, Poultry and Seafood:

Sealing food and properly vacuum sealing food are two different things. Properly vacuum sealed meat, poultry and seafood stay fresh for a long time. Here are a few simple but very important tips to ensure proper vacuum packing of meat:

  • Always wash your hands before vacuum sealing meat and poultry packages. Its also advisable to avoid using your hands directly, instead use spoons or tongs to handle the food.
  • Clean the counters and utensils before preparing food for vacuum sealing.
  • Don’t try to make your own packages. The bags used for vacuum sealing are specifically designed for this purpose.
  • Never overfill the bags. Leave few inches of space at the open end of package. Space of 5 inches allows you to reseal the package for almost 5 times after each use.
  • Keep the seal clean. Any debris or moisture can interfere with the sealing process. In this case, the package will not be sealed properly which can result in spoilage of food.
  • Label the vacuum packed meat, poultry and seafood properly. Mention the name of product and its sealing date. You can also mention its expected expiry date for your own convenience.
  • Always store the vacuum packed meat, poultry and seafood in refrigerator. Though vacuum sealing increase shelf life of food but fresh foods like meat, poultry and seafood should never be stored without refrigeration.
  • Always dehydrate or dry meat, poultry and seafood with paper towel before vacuum sealing. Short-term freezing before vacuum sealing is also recommended.

People who love to eat meat and enjoy rich flavors of poultry and seafood should try vacuum sealing techniques. Once vacuum packed and stored in refrigerator, its good to consume over the long-run. However, proper vacuum packing is a must!

Read more: VacMaster VP120VacMaster VP112VacMaster VP210

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