Vacuum sealing for extended trip

Submitted: Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 21:18
ThreadID: 56333 Views:7276 Replies:5 FollowUps:9
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Gday all

Have just purchased a freshshield vacuum/cryovac macine. In the past we have had our meat cryovaced at the butcher and has lasted in the fridge up to 5 weeks (beef & lamb only). Can anyone give me advice on vacumm sealing sausages, chicken and pre cooked meals for a 4 week trip. We have a 40 lt engel which will only be used for refrigeration, no freezing. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers
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Reply By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 21:37

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 21:37
We've used a vacuum packing machine for the last 2 years. It does a good job, but still not as good as the butcher's cryovac.

Sausages: we keep them joined, and vacuum pack them without issues. The butcher's don't like to cryovac them because the contents squeezes out of the sausage. We don't like to leave them more than 2 weeks.

Chicken: Again the butchers are reluctant - we only vacuum pack the chicken breasts, and about 3-4 weeks has been OK in our experience.

Precooked meals: We don't bother, but the trick is to freeze them first, and then you can vacuum pack them.

40litre Engel: Set the dial on about 1.5 and you will have the temp at about 1-2 degreesC. We use an indoor/outdoor thermometer, with the probe tacked just below the cover at the back (I'm assuming you haven't got the inbuilt thermometer).

Packing: All our meat packets go into 2 litre or 3 litre Sistema KlipIT plastic containers. (get them at Coles/woolies/Kmart/BigW). Keeps it all tidy in the fridge, and its less likely the meat temp will change from fridge being open or warm stuff being put in. They fit in the 40L engel perfectly.

Cheers
phil
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 21:43

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 21:43
Just to add, you don't always get a perfect seal - any fat or fluids will prevent a good seal, so slip the meat in without touching the sides. Use bags that are bigger than you need - 20cmx30cm thatched bags suit us best. Squeeze the air out of the bottom of the bag first. Seal twice if any doubt.
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Follow Up By: ingo57 - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 21:59

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 21:59
Thanks for the info phil, Is a great help. Do you freeze your sausages, chicken and meats prior to vacuum sealing or do you do it at room temp also have you tried mince and marinated raw meats?
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Follow Up By: Member - Jeff H (QLD) - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 23:00

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 23:00
Phil that was a beautiful response. Good onya.
Mate I'm about to log a post on performance of manual cf electric units, and would value your opinion.
Stay safe eh.
Jeff.
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Follow Up By: Member - Phil G (SA) - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 23:04

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 23:04
We don't freeze the meats. Just buy them the day before we leave, vacuum pack them, then into the Engel. The red meats, like porterhouse, pork fillets, rump, topside etc keep really well - we've used some at the end of a 6 week trip, and they were fine.

Haven't tried mince or marinated meats, but the marinated meats would need to be frozen first, so the marinade doesn't get sucked out of the bag. We never take any meat with bones. Also we vacuum packed some atlantic salmon fillets at easter, and to cook, put them in foil on the coals, and they were brilliant. Not sure how long they'd keep though.
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Reply By: Shaker - Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 22:57

Saturday, Apr 05, 2008 at 22:57
Why would you freeze anything first?

Pre-cooked meals vacuum pack well, but if they contain onion only keep them for about a week.
I wouldn't be brave enough to eat chicken after 4 weeks, try to use it within 2 - 3 weeks.
Also, red meat with bones won't last as long as boneless meat.
A vacuum packing machine is almost worth it just for the space they save in your fridge.
AnswerID: 296883

Follow Up By: howie - Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 03:03

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 03:03
agree, never had to freeze anything first.
have to apply a bit of common sense, ie put the machine on something 6" high on the bench if you are sealing a stew or curry.
very rarely sucks anything up past the seal area and only a couple of dribbles at most.
my machine (sunbeam) has a 'holding' area inside which prevents any drips being sucked into the machines inards.
suck it and see, if things go pear shaped, hit the release button.
someone mentions squeezing the air out of the bottom.
if you are doing this, you have the bag packed wrong or it is too small. you need to allow a path to the bottom of the bag.
ie putting 2 big steaks in that fill the width of the bag will leave an air pocket.
marinades-what better way to marinate meat.


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Reply By: Member - Bruce T (SA) - Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 05:45

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 05:45
We've had one of these machines for years and find it invaluable. We have found that you can wrap meat in freezer go-between and still vacuum pack it. We often use frozen meat - take it from our freezer and vacuum pack it. We always freeze sausages and mince. We have also prepared vegetables, potatoes, broccoli, pumpkin, carrot and vacuum packed it in preparation for a meal - we haven't kept them for a long time - a couple of days when we knew we would just want to prepare the meal due to longer time spent travelling that day.
AnswerID: 296913

Reply By: davmac452 - Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 11:10

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 11:10
A tip i got some years ago to maintain frozen food in an engel is to prefreeze the food then put in the bottom with a 10mm sheet of polystyrene foam above it. If running at about 2 it will keep ice cream firm for several days. I have not tried it with meat yet.
AnswerID: 296949

Follow Up By: Member - Jeff H (QLD) - Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 19:05

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 19:05
Thanks fellers, very informative.
It's only recently that we've used butcher's vacuum services, and the durability, plus decreased fridge maintenance, makes it a no-brainer. Better'n sliced bread anyday. Hahahaha
Thanks again,
Jeff H.
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 19:27

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 19:27
Rather than using EPS (polystrene) I find it better to use EVA foam (the stuff that hikers sleeping mats are made from ) EVA has a better thermal co-efficient (i.e it insulates better than EPS) it doesnt break and if you spill anything it can be wiped off as EVA is a closed cell foam and EPS is just a whole lot of small beads 'fused' togrther under pressure and stem but can still absorb 'some' liquid
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 19:35

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 19:35
oops forgot to say - because EVA has a better thermal co-efficient you dont need as thick a sheet to get the same insulation as EPS
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Follow Up By: KiwiAngler - Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 19:37

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 19:37
too lazy to use the spell checker (sorry David) and paid the price :-)


translation:

togrther under pressure and stem = together under pressure and steam
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Reply By: davmac452 - Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 20:50

Sunday, Apr 06, 2008 at 20:50
Kiwiangler,

I thought the typos might just been the accent LOL.

Although one researcher claims that as long as the first letter and last letter are correct and the word length is right then human brains just rearrange to suit and recognise the word. So i did not evan notice yuor speeling misteak.

Thanks for the tip on Eva. I just used poly because i have a pile of it in the shed. BUt yeah a camping mat is better from durability point of view.

Divad.
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