There are advantages to using a vacuum sealer when freezing cooking and there are some tips that really make a difference.
An important tool in creating delicious freezer meals is a vacuum sealer such as FoodSaver. The last thing a busy mom who has taken the time to prepare and freeze home made meals for her family wants to find is freezer burn when it is time to use the meal. By vacuum sealing the meal, the threat of freezer burn is eliminated. Freezer burn occurs when moisture evaporates from frozen foods and causes the item to become discolored and dry out. Although food with freezer burn is safe to eat, the quality of the food is reduced. The removal of the air prevents the moisture evaporation.
If you want to try the vacuum sealing freezer cooking without making a large investment, Reynolds makes a low cost (generally less than $10 for sealer and three bags) Handi-Vac Vacuum Sealer which is sold at most grocery stores. However, if you are serious about freezer cooking, a heavy duty vacuum sealer is worth the money.
Vacuum sealers do not handle liquids well. It is easy for liquid freezer meals such as soup, stew or chili to be drawn by the vacuum into the sealer. This not only makes a mess but also does not result in a good seal. A solution to this problem is to freeze the liquid item in a plastic container. Once it is frozen, pop it out and seal the frozen block. Make sure to label the plastic with the item name and date it was made. Using a rectangular container for the original freeze produces blocks of food that pack well in the freezer. In fact, when sealing steaks or roasts, it is possible to have problems with the meat juice. Again, the solution is to pre-freeze the pieces of meat. Place the steaks on a cookie sheet and freeze for several hours. Then you can safely vacuum seal the meat.
Besides plastic bags, most vacuum sealers also come with long rolls of plastic which are sealed on the two sides. You cut off the length needed, seal the bottom, fill the bag, and then seal the top. A useful technique for items such as meatballs is to make the bag longer than originally needed. You can fill it with several meals worth of meatballs. You just cut off the top seal, take out as many as needed and then reseal. By leaving the extra length, it is possible to reseal the bag multiple times. This way you don’t have to decide how many items you want for each freezer meal. The time and money spent freezer cooking is an investment, buying a vacuum sealer is a way to protect that investment.
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