The truth about the need to use a vacuum sealer
Some strange contradicting reports about the need of a vacuum sealer showed up in the media recently, the first one I saw suggested to turn human beings into vacuum sealers, just get yourself a straw and suck the air out of a zip lock bag it said.
The second report that caught my attention mentioned the dangers of certain bacteria with the ability to grow at sub- zero temperatures, which is true, but these bacteria take a very long time to grow and if you cook the food after thawing you still eliminate them.
The post then suggested cutting the bag with frozen products open and thawing under running water or in a bath of ice water. I read the article three times but so far I have failed to understand what the writer was getting at, how will that work with bread for example.
A third report agreed to vacuum sealing your food, but continued with the advice to keep a HACCP like administration on file, there even seems to be an app that allows you record all this info on your phone, lovely suggestion. I wonder however how many of us have the time and energy in our already overcrowded schedules to do this.
Quite confusing stories that may stop you from prioritizing the need of using a good quality vacuum sealer before storing the food in your refrigerator or freezer.
To top all that are, ‘Best before’, ‘use by’ dates and other dates provided by producers on packaging largely unregulated, confusing and often more intended as retailer information than consumer information and it is therefore a much better idea to keep matters in your own hands, instead of getting utter confused by all this puzzling info.
Some people even believe that production batch numbers from the manufactures are ‘best by’ dates.
Food producers have an obvious business interest in food tossing consumers; the sooner food is thrown in the dustbin the better it is for their sales. At the same time are they also pressured by food safety concerns that are extensively pointed- out to consumers by all sorts of well-wishers.
Smart marketing execs combine the issues by making consumers believe that the ‘best by’ dates are for food safety. Consumers follow suit and toss food way too early in the dustbin, producers see their sales figures go up, consumers see their wallets go thinner and everybody seems happy.
Most food is perfectly consumable after the date; use your nose and some common sense, here is an example:
You see a tempting recipe of a perfect Deli Sandwich and decide to make one yourself, you buy all the ingredients, lovely salami, prosciutto, cheese and the best crusty baguette in town, left is some spicy Dijon mustard which you didn’t buy because there was still a bottle in the fridge.
Upon checking the mustard you find that according to the date it has expired, gone your sandwich many might think, well you can settle for a blend version of course.
Truth is that mustard is a very shelf life stable product, that last long after the ‘date’, the ‘date is just an indication showing the absolute best quality.
Try a bit of the mustard and if it tastes fine, use it.
There is a superb solution for most other products as well, here are some tips:
Food stored for a longer period of time in a freezer develops freezer burn, freezer burn causes the product, especially meat and fish, to dry out and lose flavor or becomes unusable.
This cannot be the objective; freezer burn occurs when frozen food comes in contact with air that circulates in your freezer.
Zip lock bags, with or without air manually sucked out by a straw, have definitely air in them and that is exactly the reason why you need a vacuum sealer to keep your frozen food in tip-top condition.
By: Marinus Hoogendoorn