Vacuum sealing is a fantastic way to save space while also prolonging the shelf life of most items. However, it is far from perfect and has a number of drawbacks when it comes to vacuum sealing food. To save money, an increasing number of people are shopping at club stores, farmers’ markets, and food clubs, where they may buy in bulk at reduced prices. To reduce the probability of rotting, you must either utilize the food as soon as possible after purchasing it or store it properly. Food can be stored more safely and effectively for longer periods of time. However, before purchasing a vacuum packager, you should be informed of the many downsides of vacuum sealing food.
What is Vacuum Sealing?
Vacuum sealing (which is also known as vacuum packing) is a food storage process that involves removing all of the air from a food container before sealing it. Using a vacuum sealer machine can be done automatically or manually, with specialized bags with a one-way valve and a manual suction pump to remove air.
The word “food storage” refers to the act of storing food. However, it may also apply to the process of keeping clothing, blankets, sheets, and other items that benefit from being stored in an oxygen-free environment, such as metal fittings, screws, and tools.
It is not, however, a failsafe way of keeping food indefinitely. Its benefits are not without negatives, which should be evaluated before using it in your organization.
Disadvantages of Vacuum Sealing Food
There are so many disadvantages of vacuum sealing food and some of them are shown below:
It is Necessary to Use Unique Bags
Because of the usage of manual and automated vacuum sealers, special bags that are somewhat thicker and more robust than normal plastic bags are required. Because non-vacuum-sealed plastic bags are normally semi-permeable to gases, using non-vacuum-sealed plastic bags may still enable some air to get through. As a result, food vacuum packed in a regular plastic bag does not always have a longer shelf life than food that has not been vacuum packed.
Not All Vacuum-Sealed Bags Can Be Reused
Non-reusable bags, resealable but non-reusable bags, and reusable and resealable bags are the three types of vacuum-sealed storage bags available. The most prevalent type is non-reusable bags.
Non-Reusable Bags: These are the most readily available and most costly bags on the market. These are single-use bags that are similar to Ziploc bags but lack a zipper closure mechanism to keep the contents inside.
These bags are still single-use, but they include a zipper mechanism built into them. Non-reusable resealable bags: These are still single-use bags, but they include a zipper mechanism built into them.
Semi-reusable, resealable bags: These bags may be used to remove extra air from the bag using a manual air-removing pump. They are built with an air-release valve and a zipper closure mechanism. This bag may be used with more expensive vacuum sealing machines.
Reusable bags, on the other hand, have a short lifespan. This is due to the fact that their one-way valve and zipper mechanism are weak points that will ultimately fail.
High-quality vacuum sealers are not cheap. Vacuum sealers ideal for beginners cost around $80. The best ones, which are of commercial grade, cost $350 or more. There are cheaper vacuum sealers on the market, but they only work with smaller bags and are not as effective.
Furthermore, because the bags are frequently single-use only or semi-reusable, vacuum-rated bags must be purchased on a regular basis.
Anaerobic bacteria will thrive.
Most spoilage bacteria require oxygen and moisture to survive and multiply. A common misconception is that vacuum-sealing food is a failsafe way of destroying germs and protecting food from contamination. Some bacteria, known as anaerobic bacteria, can thrive in low-oxygen environments, whereas others cannot. When Clostridium botulinum enters the body, it produces toxins that can cause food poisoning, paralysis, and, in the majority of instances, death.
Delicate food cannot be vacuum-sealed.
Vacuum sealing is not a suitable solution for soft and spongy goods like soft crusted bread, cakes, and meringues. As vacuum sealing pulls air from the interior of the container and everything within it, the air pockets between such pastries are emptied out, causing the internal structural integrity of the meal to collapse. The vacuum bag compresses and crushes them further, altering the texture of the fruit.
Vacuum sealing is not a suitable solution for most green crops, such as lettuce. In addition to crushing the leafy greens, the pesticide-induced bruising hastens the decomposition of the leaves.
Some food continues to spoil.
Fresh fruits and vegetables normally produce ethylene, a ripening gas, and will proceed to develop and decay even if vacuum-sealed in a plastic bag or similar container. Bananas, apples, apricots, peaches, and other fruits and vegetables are examples. This is because ethylene gas accumulates within the vacuum bag, forcing the fruit to grow more quickly than usual.
Vegetables from most of the Brassicaceae family, such as broccoli and cauliflower, may also decay faster if vacuum-packed. Furthermore, the breakdown of plastic by other vegetables such as onions and garlic may compromise the vacuum bag’s integrity over time.
Additionally, vacuum-sealing fresh fruit adds little value to the product. Natural enzymes inherent in plants and vegetables will eventually degrade them, resulting in a mushy, rotting product.
Foods That Should Not Be Vacuum Sealed
The following products should not be vacuum sealed:
- raw mushrooms
- soft cheeses
- freshly cooked or steamed vegetables
Furthermore, when several regular vegetables are preserved, they emit a gas that is toxic to people. If these Cruciferae or Brassicaceae family vegetables are stored in a vacuum-sealed bag, the gas will cause them to rot and degrade. To properly preserve these vegetables, they should be blanched and dried before vacuum-packing and freezing for later use.
Here are a few examples:
- bok choy
The Advantages of Vacuum Sealing
Besides the problems of vacuum sealing food, there are certain perks. To make an informed decision about whether or not to vacuum seal food, evaluate the benefits of vacuum sealing food.
Increases the shelf life of most foods, both cooked and raw:
Vacuum sealing removes most of the oxygen out from bag, extending the life of the food. Aerobic bacteria (bacteria that flourish in the presence of oxygen) that cause spoilage will die off if they do not have access to oxygen. Most foods’ nutritious content is also degraded as a result of exposure to oxygen. Most materials will deteriorate over time if oxygen is removed from the atmosphere.
It conserves space:
Rather than rigid containers, vacuum-sealed food has a more compact profile and requires less data storage. Preppers will profit from this because it allows for extra storage space in the freezer, refrigerator, and pantry.
This procedure efficiently avoids dehydration and freezer burn from occurring in food. It functions by forming a barrier between the food and the environment. Frozen food that has been exposed to air and a moist freezer environment dehydrates quickly. As a result, the meal’s texture is altered, and its nutritional value is reduced. The two things that benefit the most from vacuum sealing before freezing are seafood and beef. Food that has been refrigerated or stored at room temperature, on the other hand, will dehydrate with time.
Despite the numerous problems of vacuum sealing food, the benefits outweigh the negatives in the majority of circumstances. Furthermore, certain ways to mitigating and overcoming these shortcomings may be implemented. Vacuum sealing extends the shelf life of food while maintaining its quality. As a result, it should be employed whenever possible.
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