Save space – and money
Vacuum sealing also saves space in your freezer, allowing you to store more than would be the case if you used plastic containers, regardless of how sharp your packing skills might be.
If you have a large freezer then a vacuum sealer can also save you money. Buying in bulk is an easy step to economy, and with a vacuum sealer you can divide fish, meat and other foods into portions that will prevent waste – you can defrost the exact amount you will need.
The functions of a vacuum-sealer extend beyond preparing food for the freezer. If you’re a keen cook, you can use it to prepare fish and meat for cooking sous vide, a method that’s growing in popularity thanks to TV shows such as MasterChef and the uniformity of cooking it produces.
While the machines we use at Fresh Fish Daily to prepare orders are industrial grade and far from easy on the pocket, you can buy domestic equivalents for anywhere between £20 and £300.
As a rule of thumb, the more you spend the better the appliance will be, but for a shade under £50 you can purchase a vacuum sealer that will do a brilliant job and last for a number of years. Most domestic machines are compact and store easily in a kitchen cupboard.
You will need to buy vacuum sealing bags, which you can buy in packs or, better still, in rolls that are around 30cm wide and can be cut to fit.
Once you’ve got a vacuum sealer and bags, there’s no limit to what you can freeze: fish and meat (cooked or uncooked), stocks, vegetables, chopped fruits (especially useful when there’s a glut of berries, though it’s best to freeze these first before vacuum sealing), sauces, pesto, cheese, herbs.
Do’s and don’ts
As a general principle it’s best to try to keep solids such as meat, veg and fruits in a single layer with no overlap. And, needless to say, be sure to write the contents and date of freezing on your bags so you know you’re defrosting sugo and not chilli sauce, for example.
See below for a number of recipes that are perfectly suited to vacuum sealing, whether you’re looking to fill your freezer with a fresh batch or you find yourself with leftovers.
Before freezing cooked food, always allow it to reach room temperature before freezing. After freezing, defrost food thoroughly before cooing or reheating.
Baked Cod with Tomato Sauce and Olives
Smoked Salmon Tart