Preserving food is the best way to prevent food waste, reduce your monthly food budget, and ensure that your preserved food lasts as long as possible without spoiling. There are several methods for preserving food, but how well does vacuum sealing work? Does vacuum sealing preserve food? How long does vacuum-sealed food last?
Vacuum sealing helps to preserve food, but it is a food packaging method, not a food preservation method. Vacuum sealing removes the air from food that most bacteria and mold require to grow, thus extending the life of food, but it must be used with other preservation methods for the best results.
There are several methods for preserving food, and vacuum sealing can be among the most effective if done correctly. Vacuum-sealing foods have been used for decades to help them last longer, but how well does this method work, and can it be used for all food types? Let’s find out!
Does Vacuum Sealing Preserve Food?
Vacuum sealing is a popular method of food storage and is growing in popularity all the time, but does this method preserve your food and provide a good method for storing it?
Vacuum sealing does help to preserve food, and it does help keep food fresh and safe to eat for long periods, but it is not technically a method of food preservation. Vacuum sealing aids food preservation, but this process is defined as a packaging process rather than a preserving process.
With that said, vacuum-sealed food does last up to five times longer than non-vacuum-sealed foods, provided the food is stored safely and correctly.
Food that is preserved, such as brined, cured, or dried, and then vacuum-sealed can be stored safely for significantly longer than if the food is not vacuum-sealed.
Vacuum sealing extends the shelf-life of food and can be used in a wide variety of food items, but it is not true preservation, such as pickling, freezing, or drying.
It is good to use vacuum sealing to extend the lifespan of your food, especially when used in conjunction with other preserving methods such as freezing or refrigeration, as this process adds another layer of preservation and helps the food last even longer.
If you have the option to, and if the food you want to preserve does well for vacuum sealing, it is always good to vacuum seal preserved foods or foods that are to be preserved.
How Does Vacuum Sealing Preserve Food?
Vacuum sealing is a highly effective and efficient form of food packaging, and it does preserve food, but not as well as true preservation methods.
The process of vacuum sealing helps to preserve food by removing all or most of the air from the food and all of the air surrounding the food.
Most forms of bacteria and fungi need oxygen to grow and survive. Depriving them of this by removing the oxygen from around the food, and forming within the food as much as possible, prevents them from increasing in and on the food.
Vacuum sealing also forms a protective barrier for the food that protects it from drastic changes in temperature and humidity and, therefore, further aids in preservation.
The thick plastic used for vacuum sealing provides physical protection for the food stored within, which can help to prevent the food from spoiling by preventing it from being broken open.
It is important to remember that vacuum packing is not a substitute for true food preservation and does not prevent food from spoiling. It must be used in conjunction with other preservation methods, such as freezing.
Another way that vacuum sealing can help to preserve food is by protecting food from freezer burn. This method allows food to stay preserved in a freezer for up to two years without spoiling and for several months without losing flavor or consistency.
Vacuum sealing is an excellent way to help preserve food when combined with other methods and can significantly increase the shelf-life of food when used correctly.
How Well Does Vacuum Sealing Preserve Food?
Vacuum sealing is not effective for long-term food preservation on its own. It must be used together with other preservation methods, such as freezing and refrigeration, for the best results.
However, vacuum sealing can help to preserve foods very well. When storing food that does not need to be refrigerated, such as dry food, including grains and cereals, preserved foods, such as dried fruit and cured meats, or even pickled food vacuum-sealed with the pickling liquid, the process is very effective.
Using vacuum sealing for these food types works exceptionally well but is less effective for foods that need to be refrigerated or frozen to keep for a long time.
Vacuum sealing on its own does not preserve wet foods well, nor does it preserve food well that is uncooked or food that requires specific storage conditions.
For vacuum sealing to work well in these instances, it must be used as supplemental preservation and packaging rather than the primary preservation method and used with other methods to keep the food fresh for long periods.
How Long Does Vacuum-Packed Food Last?
Vacuum packing helps to preserve food for longer, especially when used with already preserved foods and when used with other preservation methods, but how long can vacuum-sealed food last?
Vacuum-sealed foods typically last two to five times longer than foods stored in other packaging, including food that is stored in the fridge or freezer.
Raw, frozen meat that may spoil in the freezer after a year, or succumb to freezer burn in six months, will last up to two years without sustaining any freezer burn, and can last for two years without spoiling, provided the freezer works properly.
Preserved food that has a long shelf-life, such as dried meats and fruit, can last almost indefinitely when vacuum-sealed, as any exposure to air and contaminants is eliminated.
Dry foods such as grains and cereals can last years if stored well and vacuum-sealed.
The time that vacuum-packed foods can last depends on how well they are preserved before being vacuum-sealed and how they are stored after vacuum-sealing.
Vacuum-sealed food that needs to be frozen or refrigerated should still be placed in these appliances, and food stored in the cupboard should still be stored in the same way after being vacuum packed.
Vacuum sealing is not preservation, but it significantly aids the preservation of foods.
How To Store Vacuum-sealed Food
We have learned that the way vacuum-sealed food is stored plays a significant role in how well vacuum-sealing preserved food is, so how should you store vacuum-packed food?
The best way to store vacuum-sealed food is to keep it as fresh as possible for as long as possible by simply storing it in the same place you would usually store it and packing it carefully.
If you have vacuum-sealed raw meat, store it in the freezer. If you have vacuum-sealed cheese, store it in the fridge. If you have vacuum-sealed rice, store it in a cupboard or pantry. Always store vacuum-sealed food currently to prevent it from going bad.
Among the great benefits of using vacuum sealing to help preserve food better is that vacuum-sealed food requires much less total storage volume. This means that you can pack more food in one place than you can without first vacuum sealing the food.
Vacuum-packed food requires far less space to be stored correctly. This food can be safely stacked, placed on its side, and stored in any location, depending on what food is stored.
The fact that vacuum-sealed food is so tightly sealed means that it can also be stored with other types of food without concern of cross-contamination.
Your vacuum-sealed food will not pick up any scents or flavors from other foods, and it will not transfer flavors or scents to other foods, regardless of how long it is stored.
This makes vacuum-packed food very easy to store and keeps it very safe regardless of where you need to keep it.
Can You Preserve Any Food With Vacuum Sealing?
Vacuum sealing is a great way to get more longevity from your preserved food, but can you vacuum seal any type of food?
You can vacuum seal almost all types of food. Certain foods, such as raw onions and garlic, do not vacuum seal well because they release gases over time and are likely to grow bacteria as a result.
Any food that does not produce gases can be safely stored in vacuum seal bags and stored for much longer than outside of these bags.
It is best to store food in vacuum bags with as little liquid as possible. You can vacuum seal brined and pickled goods with their liquids if you are careful with the process.
Almost any food can benefit from vacuum sealing and will last longer with this storage method.
Vacuum sealing does help to preserve food, but it is not a true preserver on its own. It must be used with other preservation methods to work well and functions to serve and increase the lifespan of preserved food rather than preserving food itself.
Use vacuum sealing in conjunction with other preservation methods, such as curing and freezing, and your food may last two to five times longer than it will without being vacuum-packed.