Vacuum Sealing for Food Freshness While Caravanning

Category: CTAM Safety Date: 03 Feb 2017

Our friend at BIG4 Beacon Resort have some great tips for travelling further and keeping your food fresher! Their secret – vacuum sealing.

Vacuum packaging (or Cyrovac if you use the brand name) is a type of packaging technology that allows fresh goods to be kept fresher for longer. Depending when you plan to eat your meat, you can choose to keep vacuum packed products in the fridge for a longer period of time and can avoid freezing your meat. By sucking the air out of the bag, this process reduces the space food takes up in your freezer or refrigerator far better than standard containers.

There are some effects of vacuum packaging to be aware of. The meat will change to a darker red colour while in the packaging due to the lack of exposure to oxygen. It will also sweat while in the packaging and this can result in an unpleasant smell when you first open the packaging, but it is not because the meat has gone bad. You can overcome both of these effects by removing the meat from the packaging for 10-15 minutes before you’re ready to cook your meat. When out of the packaging and exposed to oxygen again, the meat will return to the usual colour and the odour will fade.

If you are out in hot summer weather conditions, your food supply can remain fresh for much longer. It even works for fruit and vegetables! You’ll extend shelf life of food items by three to five times their normal refrigerated life and avoid freezer burn for long term storage in the freezer.

When vacuum packaging for freezing, make sure the packets are as thin and flat as possible. This is easier in terms of freezer space and in thawing the product when you are ready to use it.

Vacuum packed bags are also great for reheating food. You don’t need to take the food out first; you can simply reheat it by dropping the bag into boiling water. For example, two fish fillets with a dollop of butter and some fresh dill placed inside the bag before sealing can be boiled in water for 7 minutes – yummy!

Your butcher will usually be able to vacuum seal your meats. If you order in advance, have the butcher date and label the product for you.

Top Vacuum Sealing Tips

  • Ensure fish and meat is dry before vacuum sealing.
  • Pat dry meat with paper towels.
  • If you are having trouble with moisture stopping the sealing process, cut a piece of paper towel and place over the end of the meat to catch the moisture from wetting the sealing edge.
  • Left over or pre-prepared stews and soups are ideal for vacuum sealing – they make a quick and easy meal later!
  • Fillet fish straight away and store in the freezer. You’ll enjoy fantastic fresh out the water fish days later.
  • Bulk buy your meat and place serving size packets into the freezer.
  • Thaw vacuumed sealed foods in cold water or in the refrigerator.
  • Alway write the date of vacuum sealing on the package for food safety.
  • Write what each pack contains for easier identification.

Remember that all vacuum packaged foods must be top quality, fresh and prepared in a sanitary method before sealing in order to reach optimum shelf life.

Check out the BIG4 Beacon Resort blog page for more great caravanning and camping tips.