This is not meant to be a user’s manual, so continue reading!
Users manuals are included in the box together with your vacuum sealer. Read it carefully as stated. What I want to talk about is what people do with their new treasure or gadget after they receive it.
The minute your new vacuum sealer arrives, maybe you ordered one on-line, the delivery man you’ve been waiting for rings the doorbell with a big box beside him, you sign for receipt and most probably start to open the box to find out what is all inside.
Once you have seen all that and have read the manual, you want to start using the unit, you look in the air, scratch your head and think, “What am I going to vacuum seal now?”
I must say that testing a unit with some dummy material is a good idea, seeing is believing, and it is good to familiarize yourself with the sealer. You can use anything some vegetables, a few handfuls of beans, some leftover food, just whatever you have. It is always good to start with the frozen food in your freezer. If there is a little freezer burn when you vacuum pack it. The freezer burn will stop at when vacuum sealed.
So now you got a bit of a feel as to how the machine performs and it is time to set out a plan of action.
Good idea is to vacuum seal something you can cook later, or the other way around for that matter, cook first and vacuum seal your cooked food after it has cooled down, (never vacuum seal hot food remember?) and you can heat the chilled vacuum bags with cooked food in a pot with hot water later.
How does that work? Well quite simple, fill a pot with water, add the sealed, chilled vacuum bags with cooked food to the pot, bring to a boil and by the time the water boils your food will be hot. Remove the bags carefully (they are hot as well) from the water, cut the bags open just below the seal and transfer the contents to serving bowls, simple as that.
Your food will be, in many cases, exactly as you cooked it. Take note, however that this method of reheating does not work for any direct grilled or pan-fried meat or seafood. You need to do the grilling or pan frying on the spot, reheating grilled or pan-fried meats will become tough and overcooked when using the water reheating method. Unless you use a more temperature controlled method, we get to that later.
It works perfect for stews and braised meat though you can vacuum seal these dishes with sauce. A little tip; get some help, 4 hands are better for this. Let the bag hangs down from the top of your kitchen counter when you start the vacuum sealer. Use manual mode on the machine, so you can push the seal button at any time. Hanging the bag over the counter helps to keep the sauce from not rise to the top of the bag as fast and disturbing the seal.
When you plan some grilled meat or seafood for dinner, it is a good idea to prepare grilled meat or seafood with a seasoning, wet (marinade) or dry (spice rub) and vacuum seal the marinated meat or seafood. Your vacuum sealer is a great help when you cook this way as well.
The marinating time reduces significantly, from overnight to a few hours, and you don’t have to worry about a bowl with marinated meat to accidently topple over in your fridge.
So either way will be great!
Let’s look at a few examples using the re-heat in water method.
Example 1, Semi Re-Heating,
You plan to cook a grilled steak with mash and vegetables, in the morning you prepare the vegetables and the mash, complete the preparation like you would serve it. Vacuum pack the vegetables and the mash separately and start marinating your meat, vacuum pack that as well, store all in your fridge and do whatever you like for the rest of the day. Twenty minutes before dinner time, place a pot with water on the stove and add the vegetables and mash – sealed and in the bag in the water. Now you only need to concentrate on the meat. The mash and vegetables will heat up by themselves just grill or pan fry your meat and you are done.
Example 2, Full Re-Heating
If you have boiled potatoes with vegetables and a stew, you don’t have to do anything. Just place your bags in a pot with water. Go about doing what you need to do for the dinner set up and keep an eye on the clock.
After one round of boiling water with a few vacuum bags inside, you will know how long it takes your pot of water to come to a boil. With that experience, you know how long it takes to serve dinner.
When you are comfortable with the result and you will be, start planning a weekly menu and enjoy more time for yourself outside the kitchen.
Go to a farmers market choose as you like and prepare as per one of the two methods above.
Designate half a day per week or so, to make all preparations and daily cooking life will become a stroll.
We understand that you have lots of varieties in your weekly menu; pasta, rice, salads and lots more and we love to help you to use your vacuum sealer as a kitchen assistant.
In the next few posts we will provide you with ideas and tips to make the most out of your purchase, so be on the look-out!
By: Marinus Hoogendoorn