Sealing or wrapping food before cooking is a technique that has been used for centuries to improve its taste and quality. Storing food in an airless environment keeps it fresh for longer, and cooking food in a vacuum has similar benefits. Nowadays, vacuum sealing is synonymous with the sous vide cooking technique.
Why is a vacuum necessary for sous vide cooking?
Sous vide means ‘under vacuum’ in French. By locking ingredients in their own bag, you will maintain the natural taste, texture, nutrition and integrity of the food.
A tightly sealed pouch maintained at a specific temperature in a water bath will ensure the most effective transfer of heat and an even cooking throughout.
The best way to prepare food for sous vide cooking is by using the home vacuum sealer. While it’s possible to buy pre-sealed cuts of meat, sealing food at home gives you the freedom to experiment with different ingredients and seasoning.
Vacuum seal bags
While some plastic bags and wraps produced for the kitchen tolerate heat, it’s not advisable to use sandwich or zip lock bags for sous vide cooking.
For best results, use the food-grade vacuum pouches or the sealer roll that come with the sealer machine – these have been designed to help air draw out more effectively for a good vacuum seal. We offer the VS1 vacuum sealer and vacuum seal rolls in our online shop.
How to vacuum seal food using the VS1
One of the main benefits of using vacuum rolls is that you can make the size of your bag as big or small as you need.
- Pull out as much of the roll as you need for your food item
- Seal one end of the roll using the ‘manual seal’ button and use the integral cutter tool to create the pocket.
- Put your ingredients in the bag, making sure that they lie as flat as possible
- Line up the open edge of the bag to the vacuum sealer and press the ‘vacuum’ button – the VS1 will draw out the air and seal the bag for you at the touch of a button
- Once your pouch has been sealed, you can open the VS1 lid manually using the two buttons on either side of the machine
If you prefer to use ready made bags, these are available to purchase in our online shop.
Tips for using a vacuum sealer
- Lightweight items such as fish tend to float. The (accessory) immersion grid that comes complete with the Clifton at Home water bath, will ensure your pouch stays immersed in water at all times.
- To avoid crushing delicate ingredients, press the manual seal button and the bag will seal before all the air is drawn out.
- The VS1 vacuum sealer is only for use with dry products and the warranty will be invalid if liquids are sucked into the pump. For a juicy dish, why not try freezing your marinades before vacuum sealing them?