Why Buy a Vacuum Sealer at All?
Ok, so the entire concept of sous vide revolves around the use of vacuum sealed pouch in a hot water bath. What you do is put all the spices, herbs and ingredients necessary for a recipe in a pouch, vacuum seal it and then drop it in a controlled hot bath or water oven. Yeah, it is that simple really!
But other than its uses in sous vide, did you know that with a vacuum sealer you can preserve food far longer than plastic wraps and Tupperware? Yes, while conventional methods of storage may be effective solutions, they only extend shelf life by a few days at most. On the other hand, good vacuum sealers are indispensable for storing ration and food indefinitely for months, and that too without really affecting its quality or taste.
This is possible because when vacuum sealing or even canning a jar with a vacuum sealer, all the air is suctioned out and with it all the moisture. Anything sealed in a vacuum pouch has no air (well they are called vacuum bags for a reason). With no moisture and oxygen, mold, mildew, pest, microbes never germinate. According to some estimates, vacuum sealing can prolong shelf life by nearly five times!
Oh! By the way, when you store these vacuum sealed bags in a freezer, the sub-zero temperatures add to the preservation process by dramatically slowing down enzyme breakdown that is the root cause for all perishables going bad. Moreover, with zero air, frozen vacuum bags do not suffer from freezer burn so if you like the idea of storing frozen meat, fish or poultry in bulk vacuum sealing is definitely worth your while. Marinades take a fraction of the conventional time necessary if you seal the meat or fish and throw it in the freezer – no more refrigerating overnight to get that perfect marinade!
And if you still aren’t convinced why you need to read up on my vacuum sealer reviews, well here’s another reason. Certain models will even let you wrap linens, artifacts, magazines, general household items. How can this be useful, you ask? Well think of camping or even relocating overseas. Anything that needs protection from dust and humidity, for instance your clothes to preserve that fresh smell and feel, can be vacuum sealed exactly like perishables are done. Just keep an eye out for my special Judgement Day Vacuum Sealing Series, you will be astonished by what you can do with a good sealer.
Temperature Is Everything In Sous Vide
Sous vide is all about the temperature. Precision of the water bath temperature reading is everything to ensure uniformly cooked food. Unfortunately using an oven thermometer every now and then isn’t going to give you uniformity in the level of doneness. What you need is a specialized device suitable for sous vide based on your needs and your unique budget.
Thankfully, equipment for this specialized form of cooking has become more readily available over the years and for us home cooks, controlling water bath temperatures is a breeze. As long as you have a vacuum sealer, you can decide on whether to go the expensive chamber based Sous Vide machinery way or use an immersion circulator.
What To Consider For Your Cooking Equipment?
For a quick insight, here are a few things you have to consider.
- Water Bath Capacity: The capacity of your equipment will govern what you can and cannot make. When calculating your base requirement take into consideration that you will only use half the water bath capacity to ensure proper water circulation. In fact, larger the capacity more is the power used and hence, the size of the container to ensure even distribution of heat.
- Container Type: Some systems come with a container while others don’t. Regardless every container must have flawless insulation to save energy, reduce time and ensure evenness in heating. With immersion heaters or circulators, you must keep in mind that they don’t typically come with lids so heat loss is inevitable. However, there are specialized containers for such immersion type regulators.
- Temperature Fluctuation: Like I said before, controlling the temperature is everything in sous vide. The best equipment maintains stability in the range of ±0.05 °C. It all depends on the quality and careful testing done by manufacturers.
- Power: Be it an all-in-one cooker solution or your personal collection of heating element, container and so forth – greater the power of the heating element faster you get your equipment ready for sous vide.
There are many more things to consider, but from a temperature aspect these are vital. Based on the equipment in question, you would have to look at different features. In fact, there are many accessories that are available depending on the configuration you opt for.
To get a more in-depth idea on sous vide cooking needs try my “Sous Vide Buyer’s Guide”.
Top Vacuum Sealer Reviews!
Buying A Vacuum Sealer – A Quick Overview
For a more detailed approach and my personal take to buying a vacuum sealer, see my vacuum sealer buying guide.
Lots of considerations go into the purchase of a suitable vacuum sealer and prime among them is what you will use it for. I personally keep multiple sealers and use them for myriad occasions and needs. It is my hope that through my experiences detailed in the various vacuum sealer reviews, articles, how-to-guides and maintenance manual found here you will understand the need for one and happily choose one for your maiden sous vide/vacuum sealing journey.
Remember a vacuum sealer is not just for sous vide cooking!
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Types Of Sous Vide Temperature Based Units
Typically, sous vide is possible using three current age equipment. What you prefer entirely depends on what you already possess and how serious you really are about sous vide. Unlike a vacuum sealer that you can reuse, other accessories aren’t all that versatile outside of the kitchen.