Food for thought and the road.

Submitted: Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 11:29
ThreadID: 106365 Views:2307 Replies:8 FollowUps:11
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Hi guys,

Into the last week of our caravan holiday (4 enjoyable weeks) in the SW of WA. Our thoughts are now being irresistibly drawn to our next more extended trip into the Kimberly in a couple of months. Derby to Wyndham, Kununurra and of course that part via the GRR. How long? Short answer, as long as it takes. Our mode of transport for that section of the trip will be our aging but trusty (well so far..lol) Cruiser with the slide on camper. After that we intend to make it up as we go.
About 16 years ago we travelled the CSR with 2 Engels one as a fridge the other as a freezer. Since then our trips have not been that far from food supplies that we could source to replenish stocks as we go and therefor have done away with the freezer.
We are not the type of people that need to eat fillet steak every day but do like to cook a roast or stew in the camp oven whenever the opportunity presents itself.
We have bought a cryovac (spelling) dohicky but haven't tried it yet.
So people who have used this setup, how long could you genuinely store meat and whatever after cryovacing?? by just using a car fridge.

Thanks for any info

Cheers
Pop

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Reply By: Ozhumvee - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 11:39

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 11:39
We've done it for up to three months, the biggest worry is that any bones will poke holes in the bag when travelling. We usually place a piece of paper towel around the bony bits to stop it before cryovacing. Also place the cryovaced meat in an ice cream container in the bottom of the fridge to stop them being squashed/roughed up as well.
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 11:55

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 11:55
Agree with Peter. As long as the bag remains sealed, the air has been sucked out properly, and it's kept fairly cool, it can last for quite a while. Really how long it lasts is somewhat dependent on temperature of the fridge.

Some suggestions though,

1. it doesn't hurt to double bag it to provide an additional seal,

2. mince can be difficult to seal sometimes - we quite often take rissoles made up by the butcher

3. Red meat keeps much much longer than white meat. If you cryovac chicken or pork, eat it early - it will go off fairly quickly.

Final rule goes without saying, if in doubt - throw it out.
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Reply By: Motherhen - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 12:28

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 12:28
When camping before the luxury of a caravan with refrigerator, we used to have a treat of steak (I don't do roasts where touring) soon after shopping, and moved to non refrigerated foods when days away from shops. I have not used a vacuum sealer, but on some trips I do what you did and run an Engel as a freezer.

I like your idea of "as long as it takes". When we headed out onto the Gibb River Road, I told our children I didn't know if we would be days, weeks or months, but they would hear from me when we reached Wyndham. The youngest asked how long she should wait before calling the police. I assured her there would be plenty of traffic on the GRR. We were little more than three weeks, but could have spent longer. We were nine weeks including the time spend in Kununurra and surrounds including Purnululu, but that included some R & R and visiting friends.

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Reply By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 14:14

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 14:14
We vacuum pack our red meat and have kept it at below 4°c for up to 8 weeks.
We do not vacuum chicken as with a keeping life of 1 week it seems not worth the trouble.
We remove all fat and bone before vacuuming. Apart from the possibility of bone puncturing the pack, it simply takes up fridge room only to be discarded at meal time.
We tried vacuuming some vegetables after blanching but it was less than acceptable.
We do not use cheap vacuum bags as they can be unreliable and therefore a waste of our time, money and contents.
Cheers
Allan

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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 15:32

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 15:32
G'day Allen,

We generally only carry spuds, onions, butternut pumpkin and maybe a few carrots for veggies. These seem to last a fair while and get added to the stew pot when they start to get a bit limp...lol
Yeah, seems to be a waste of good beer fridge space to carry food that is going to get thrown out.

Cheers
Pop
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Reply By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 15:27

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 15:27
Thanks for the input guys. Never having tried this cryovacing caper before, the thing that made me have second thoughts was that as good as your preparation is how do you know whether you have properly "vacuumed" and sealed the bags?
As scott said double bag and Peter's comment to not have sharp bones or edges to puncture.
All good thoughts but even then there doesn't appear to be any other way than to be as careful as possible and if in doubt throw it out.
Maybe the best idea as MH suggested, eat it before it has a chance to take on a life of it's own and then into the baked beans and toast (;-))

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Member - Bruce and Di T (SA) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 15:54

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 15:54
Pop,

Once you cryovac it you'll know as all of the air will be gone and the packaging is crunched up. I freeze mince and wrap it in go between as well, then cryovac it and so it last quite well too. Freeze sausages before packaging as the innards ooze out as you vacuum pack them. Buy boneless meat so that the packaging is less likely to be damaged. I also wrap diced meat, or I freeze it before cryovacing.

As someone else suggested if it is going to be a rough road cryovac the cryovac package for extra durability.

As also has been suggested forget chicken unless you are going to use it within a few days.

We've been cryovac packing for 15+ years; still have the same machine and find it an excellent way to carry meat. I've also taken prepared vegetables for the first night's meal.

Now we usually take two Engels and use one as a freezer and the other as a drink fridge. It means we can also take frozen vegetables and icecream. The freezer is also where we keep our cryovac meat these days. We use the VistaRV's fridge for things like butter, making icecubes, keeping fruit and thawing the next days meat.

Di
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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 16:15

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 16:15
G'day Di,

We did the 2 fridge arrangement and it worked fine. We are just trying to lighten the load as much as possible so looking at different ways to just carry one fridge without having to eat those dried meal packs and canned (read weighty) foods.
Ice cream?????Spoilt, spoilt, spoilt. LOL.

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 16:17

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 16:17
Pop, I know you've got your own machine, however most Butchers nowadays have cryovac machines and will do it for little or no additional cost. Due to the passing tourist trde, even butchers in remote or small towns will ctyovac meat if you need to top supplies.

Best thing is you've got a local butcher is to divvy the meat up into meal size packages so you're only opening what you need for the meal. Also smaller means easier to pack around other things.

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Follow Up By: Member - Blue M - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 16:43

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 16:43
Pop, We also used a cryovac machine for a while now. Very good, but have found if you use it on crumbed lamb chops, it has a tendency to take the crumbs off when opening them up. There maybe away around this, if so could someone let me know please.
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Follow Up By: Allan B (Member, SunCoast) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 16:54

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 16:54
Pop,

On the issue of knowing if you have properly "vacuumed" and sealed.....
Our machine will not proceed to the sealing phase if a proper vacuum has not been achieved. I assumed that other machines would be the same.

A couple of rare times the sealing process has failed, probably because the bag sealing faces were not clean. This was then obvious because the bag then went limp and "reinflated". The answer to this is to carefully wipe the sealing faces clean & dry after filling the bag and before placing it in the machine. No trouble since then.
Cheers
Allan

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Reply By: Member - Graham N (SA) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 15:53

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 15:53
Hi Pop,
We have used a cryovac machine for the last three years and as said above use any white meat early, a week or so. We have used red meat cryovaced up to six weeks old and it was still as fresh as it was put in there.
Another benefit of the cryovac is that at meal time you can decide what to eat and you don't have the hassle of thawing out something you may not feel like twelve hours latter.
Cheers
Graham
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Reply By: LJME & LMG - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 18:18

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 18:18
Hi,

Oh the wonderful anticipation of a trip!

As already said, cryovac chicken is only ok for about a week. We get the butcher to cryovac red meat in portions enough for one meal. The cost is about the same as doing it yourself and saves time! Large pieces of meat keep better than diced or minced so if taking beef for a casserole, take it in one chunk and dice it yourself before cooking. Wash the filled bags when you pick them up (so there is no blood residue on the outside, which will gradually begin to smell) and pack them in a plastic container in the bottom of the fridge. We too have kept meat for 3 months. We use our own cryovac machine to vacuum ham, salami, cheese etc. from the deli and our own rissoles etc. - it works beautifully, keeps for weeks and we have rarely had a pack lose its vacuum. Just make sure the packing process is as hygienic as possible and if possible store in a plastic box to prevent punctures.

Last year we took the machine and a few bags with us to the Kimberley and it came in handy to store excess meat as sometimes you can only purchase it in large packs. Most machines don't draw much power and it runs off our 300w inverter.

Happy planning!
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Reply By: Phil B (WA) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 18:29

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 18:29
Hi all,

Further on cryovacing.
Marinade your steak, chicken or whatever before your cryovac. it will not only taste fantastic and be very tender, it will last a lot longer.
For preference try and get dry marinades - try your friendly butcher they buy it in 10 and 20 litre drums.

cheers

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Follow Up By: pop2jocem - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 18:39

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 18:39
Marinaded meat before but never heard of dry marinade.
Must try the local butcher.


Thanks for that

Cheers
Pop
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Follow Up By: Phil B (WA) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 19:05

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 19:05
You could also try Asian provision stores for satays, curries etc.

Here's one type I've used;



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Follow Up By: Member - Scott M (NSW) - Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 20:05

Saturday, Feb 22, 2014 at 20:05
2nd what Phil says - marinating does make it last longer and it also adds some variety into the meals on the road.Marinated chicken lasts longer.

With preparation, you can make chicken last a while - make sure you use breasts cut into giblets and as little blood as possible in the bag, and store it in the coldest part of the fridge ie: the bottom. Just cut the giblets up for stir-fry or casserole - with a little care it can last beyond 2 weeks, but after that treat it as possibly 'sus'.
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Follow Up By: Charlie B2 - Monday, Feb 24, 2014 at 13:13

Monday, Feb 24, 2014 at 13:13
Hi all,

I always thought "giblets" were the various internal organs of poultry! (e.g heart, liver, gizzard, etc) They make great soup!

That aside, if you need to cryovac the odd T-bone, you might find commercial "bone guard" useful. Don't know where you'd get it though, these days. :-)

My cousin used to work for a meat packing plant and every cryovac pack of chops that we bought from that firm had bone guard around any bones. I didn't pay much attention at the time, but it was like a stiff, closely woven fabric.

BTW I found that chicken used to keep a good bit longer than a week, but haven't used cryovac recently (or a home cryovac system, ever). We never froze any thing we cryovaced, either - we found from one source, which very kindly did that for us, that it tends to break the seals.

Regards,

Charlie
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Reply By: Mazdave - Monday, Feb 24, 2014 at 14:12

Monday, Feb 24, 2014 at 14:12
For Beef, we use Rump. No bones and versatile - You can grill it for Steak, you can stew or braise it and you can finely cut into strips for Stir fry. Its also probably the cheapest cut of the "steaks" so very versatile
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