We have already established that vacuum sealing foods has a lot of benefits. You preserve food up to five times longer period, without changing its taste or appearance. You can buy foods in volume, thus saving trips to the grocery and saving money from bulk purchases. If you Vacuum-packed the food items, you can save a lot of freezer or refrigerator space.
So maybe now you have already bought yourself a vacuum sealer. How do you know if you are to use bags or rolls? What is the difference between the two?
The Plastic Story
Whether you use a bag or a roll, the important thing to know first is that the material you will use for your heat sealer should be specifically made for that. If you use an ordinary bag, it may not withstand the heat and melt. Not only will you not have a bag to use, but its melted portion can cause some malfunction in your vacuum sealing machine.
The vacuum sealer bags or rolls recommended are made of a type of plastic called polyethylene. For added strength to withstand heat and ensure that air does not leak into your bag, the polyethylene has an outer coating of nylon. Whatever brand you use, make sure it is BPA-free, as that is the requirement of the government for food-grade plastics.
You can use these bags to vacuum seal your foods in, even cooked ones, also vegetables, grains, cereals. Once vacuum-sealed, you can store it in the freezer without fear of it having freezer burn.
More than just sealing your food in, some top brands of vacuum seal bags can actually be used in the microwave to heat, not cook, food.
Bag vs. Roll
The beauty about the bag is that it is already pre-cut to specific sizes – pint, quart and 11×16 among others. So you just choose on what size you need. This is great for small items or single portion / serving of food.
However, rolls have a flexibility that you can’t find in bags. If you have various sizes of items to store, you may have to buy different sizes of bags. But if you use a roll, you can cut to your own size. Then you seal one end, put the food items in, and then vacuum seal the other end. It also comes in various sizes.
The good thing about bags is it is easy and fast to use because you only seal once the food is in. On the other hand, if you use rolls, you have to make your bags before you can put stuff in it. The biggest benefit from rolls is the flexibility of the size. The limit is your imagination.
Using the Roll
It is simple to use rolls to make bags of your preferred size. Just follow these steps:
- cut the length you need from your roll, bearing in mind that you need 3 inches allowance at the top and at the bottom that will sealed;
- Turn on your vacuum sealer. You would know it’s working because it usually has a light on;
- Put one end into the vacuum sealer, and it will seal it;
- make sure your roll is in between the two arrows;
- When the light is off, it means the job has been done;
- Now put the food items inside the bag, and repeat steps 3 to 5.
Easy Seal Tips
- Check the seal you made in your bag. If it is wrinkled, it may allow air inside. Don’t panic; you can still salvage the bag. Just cut the sealed part, and make a new seal;
- Another way to ensure it seals properly is by checking the area where you will seal. Make sure there is no food, crumb, liquid or grease in that area because it jams the sealing process;
- Before you put the bag into the sealer, make sure it is flat and smooth. For rolls, as it tends to curl, position the curl downward;
- You don’t want your bag to be punctured so if you are sealing in items that have sharp edges, cover it with a soft material, like a paper towel;
- The sealing strip in your vacuum sealer may be too hot from continued usage. It may melt your bag. So give at least 20 seconds lapse before making another seal;
- Avoid liquids or crumbs from getting sucked into the machine as this might break it. Liquids should be frozen first before sealed in. Food with crumbs or are finely grained, like sugar, should have a filter of sorts to stop it from being sucked out. You can use a paper towel or a coffee filter;
- If you plan on re-using the bags, preferably for the same items, put a bigger space between your food and your sealed end. Instead of just 3 inches, you may double it. Cut one sealed end, use the contents inside, put another batch of contents, then reseal below the cut portion;
- Some vacuum sealers prefer to use their own brands of vacuum sealer, too, so check on this before you buy your bags. Otherwise, you may compromise your seal;
There various uses for your vacuum seal bags or rolls. You can also do this for your important documents to ensure they don’t get wet and remain intact. If you are travelling, you can vacuum seal in your liquids bearing in mind regulations of airlines. Either you use a roll or a bag, once you vacuum seal it, then it’s in the bag.