The homeowner’s guide to clever food storage
The number one rule of sticking to a family budget, and also ensuring that your family eats wholesome, delicious, home-cooked food is to cut down on waste.
Invest in great ingredients and make them go further. What’s not to like?
But this is not just about turning a Sunday roast chicken into several other meals. Buying in bulk, sourcing seasonal produce that can be preserved or frozen and planning ahead saves you time and money and can also contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
The key to all of the above is smart, hygienic and clever food storage. It’s not rocket-science – our parents and grandparents did the same. Fortunately, these days, there are specially designed products which have totally revolutionised storage solutions in the home:
– There’s the good old ‘zip-lock’ bag, which is reusable and ideal for school lunches and leftovers that you want to eat up quickly
– Tupperware-type products are great for cakes, biscuits, homemade cereal and other items that need to be kept in a relatively air-free environment but that you also need easy access to;
– Then there’s the vacuum sealer, one item that could really enhance your life.
Perhaps you’ve heard about them and thought of getting one? If not, here’s six reasons why you should:
What is a vacuum sealer?
It’s a machine that enables you to pack all manner of produce, including meat, fish, vegetables and fruit in the best possible way by removing all available air from the plastic packaging.
Basically, food is placed in a durable plastic envelope, which is then sealed with a quick and easy to use appliance.
Why is it useful?
Oxygen can work with many foods to affect their smell, appearance and taste. By vacuum sealing the product, you are expelling air and also the bacteria. This prevents contamination by microbes.
Closed Sealed Unit
We’ve all had the experience of meat and fruit juices leaking out of ‘ordinary’ plastic bags. Once produce is sealed using a vacuum unit, it’s safe and secure. There’s no risk that it’s going to leak in your freezer, cooler or car.
It also means that you can store and transport meats, fish and fruits safely in close proximity without worrying about inappropriate and unhealthy cross contamination.
Save Money with Added Convenience
We all know that buying in bulk not only makes sense from a value point of view but also cuts down on tedious trips to the supermarket – which in addition, saves you money on petrol. Win, win!
With a vacuum sealer, you simply divide produce into user-friendly portions and freeze safely for later use. This means that if you make a weekly meal plan, you can then just pull what you need out on a daily basis and allow it to defrost in the fridge while you’re at work.
And, we’re not just talking about individual items. Whole meals, like stews and curries, can be vacuum-sealed, defrosted and heated up. This, of course, makes them ideal not only for busy parents but also for stocking up the freezer for elderly relatives and those recovering from illness.
By removing the air from storage bags with the vacuum sealer, you are enabling them to be reduced to the smallest size possible. And, let’s face it, which one of us doesn’t need more space in our freezers?
Air trapped within frozen food storage is a major cause of ‘freezer burn’, the horrible ‘drying out’ that can happen with much food stored in inappropriate ways.
The good news is that produce stored in vacuum-sealed bags can have its life extended by up to three to fives times compared to conventional storage options.
If you’re into camping or hunting, a vacuum sealer enables you to pack for your trip in the shortest possible time. Simply bundle some suitable meals from your freezer, or pantry, into a cool box and you are good to go. It’s ideal for BBQs, steak breakfasts, quick desserts and much more.
Great storage options enhance our lives and enable us to get on with the things that really matter, like spending time with family and friends, rather than spending time in the supermarket.