How To Seal Food Without a Vacuum Sealer
Prepping survival food with a vacuum sealer helps your meals last longer, preserving the freshness and quality of meats, veggies and grains. You don't have to spend money on a vacuum sealer to realize the benefits of smart food storage. Explore the advantages of vacuum sealing, then try one of these alternative methods to make it work
Benefits of Vacuum Sealing
Bulk meat, vegetables and other perishable foods cost much less than single servings. With vacuum sealing, you can preserve those extra portions to keep expenses down while enjoying fresh, nutritious meals straight from your freezer. Vacuum-sealed foods last up to five times longer than frozen items that haven't been sealed. For example, most types of meat can safely be consumed five years after vacuum sealing and freezing, compared to a lifespan measured in months for other frozen foods.
Vacuum sealing keeps out moisture, oxygen and bacteria that can cause food to spoil or grow mold. The thick plastic barrier also prevents dehydration and freezer burn that reduce the quality of cold-stored foods. As a result, you'll notice better taste and higher quality compared to other frozen items. In fact, you can even add marinades, spices or other flavorings before sealing meat, seafood and veggies.
Taking the air out of your frozen food packages also makes the most of your limited storage space while creating equal portions that make it easy to ration supplies if necessary. You can use the methods below to vacuum-seal both solid and liquid perishables.
Methods for Alternative Vacuum Sealing
The water technique is the most common way to seal food securely without additional equipment. Start with a heavy-duty, brand-name ziptop freezer bag. The stronger your seal, the longer the plastic will preserve your food. You'll also need a large stockpot filled with water.
Wash your hands before you begin the vacuum sealing process. Using clean utensils or tongs rather than your hands, place the food for sealing in an even layer in the plastic freezer bag. Remove as much air as possible and seal the bag almost all the way across the top, leaving a tiny corner open.
Hold the bag by that open corner as you slowly lower the food into the water, pressing out extra air as you go. When you get to the open corner, push out the last of the air from the bag and press it closed. Wash your hands again before moving on to the next package to avoid the transfer of bacteria and pathogens.
If you did the steps correctly, the plastic should conform to the food inside just as if you used a vacuum sealer. If water or air gets into the bag during the process, it won't be as tight as necessary and you'll need to try again.
For the straw method, use the same type of heavy-duty freezer bag as for the water method. Put your food into the bag, then place a straw into the opening and seal the rest of the top. Suck the air out of the bag with the straw, then quickly pull it out and finish closing the plastic. As with the water method, the plastic will be tight to the bag's contents if you succeed.
You can also seal dry ingredients in jars to preserve yeast, nuts and spices and prevent them from going bad. This method lends itself well to the straw technique since you're effectively sealing a jar inside a bag, offering extra protection.
Comment on the BlackOpsTac blog if you've tried these alternative vacuum sealing methods. We'd love to hear all about your favorite survival supplies and snacks to vacuum seal for convenience, savings and long-term preparation.