I’ve had an Anova sous-vide for a couple of years. It’s a fantastic device and makes cooking meat and poultry to perfection so incredibly easy.
However I held off on getting a vacuum sealer. While I am a gadget addict I just couldn’t see the real need for a vacuum sealer. But that changed last week.
With the country (and most of the world) on some form of “lockdown” I’m trying my best to limit my shopping excursions as much as possible. What that means is that instead of picking up a couple of days’ worth of fresh meat and vegetables on my way home I now do one “big” shop per week. I might supplement it with one or two extra trips if I discover I’m missing ingredients or something else, but I’ve been mostly keeping to the one trip to the shops per week.
So getting a vacuum sealer suddenly went from “nice, but not necessary” to “very useful and possibly essential”.
Being able to vacuum seal fresh meat and other produce means that I’m able to keep them fresh for longer. I’m not 100% sure how much longer the vacuum sealer will extend their fridge shelf life, but the estimates I’ve read are more than enough for my needs. Basically I want to be able to buy fresh meat once a week and not kill myself with food poisoning before I get to the butcher again. Not a crazy challenge really!
But of course the original reason I was interested in getting a vacuum sealer was for my sous-vide cooking.
I had been happily using various resealable bags. They worked pretty well, but they were never 100% free of air. Sure, you can get a lot of air out of a bag using the “submersion method”, but it’s not perfect. What that means is that you end up having to weigh down bags or they start floating to the top of your sous-vide bath.
With the vacuum sealed bags, however, the cooking experience is significantly better.
I did some lovely rack of lamb in the sous-vide this week and the results were exceptional.
The meat is sealed fully and will sink right down. You can also season or marinade the meat in the vacuum bags, though that does require a bit of advanced organisation.
It also meant that I was able to store mince meat more sanely for several days and save space in the fridge.
So which vacuum sealer did I go for?
While I had been looking into this ages ago I really hadn’t made up my mind on which make and model to go for.
In the end I just took the “simple” route. I picked up one of the cheap and cheerful vacuum sealers from my local Lidl as well as a few spare rolls of the seal. They sell Silvercrest branded machines which cost around EUR 30. Extra rolls were about another EUR 4, which should keep me going for a few months.
I would warn you, however, that the instructions that come with the Silvercrest are terribly unclear. I ended up resorting to watching a couple of Youtube videos before I was able to make sense of how to operate it. It’s not complicated, but with instructions that badly written it does take a while to work out why every attempt at sealing a bag fails!
In any case once you’ve got the sealing down you’ll be able to store your fresh meat (and other produce) for longer safely in your fridge (or freezer) as well as being able to get more out of your sous-vide.