Vacuum sealing is a very simple concept to understand: it involves the packaging of food in air-tight containers so that it does not spoil.
It prevents food spoiling meaning it lasts longer and saves money and time. However, there are other benefits to vacuum sealing that are less well-known.
Just last week I was watching a famous chef preparing one of his signature dishes. The presenter noticed that the meat was sealed in a bag with the marinade already added. She seemed surprised and asked, Does vacuum sealing speed up marinating? He replied that vacuum sealing can be a very effective method for marinating meat or vegetables since it can make the process both more effective and more efficient. So I did a bit of research and this is how it works
What Do You Need to Know About Marinating?
Whether you are making a tasty BBQ or a simple stir-fry, marinating food gives it more zest, more zing. There is nothing better than a tender, moist grilled steak or vegetable. Marinating works to penetrate the surface of the food to give it more flavor and texture.
Vegetables should only be marinated for ten minutes or so even without a vacuum seal. This is because vegetables do not last long with the increased acidity and enzymes from the marination. They become soggy and lose texture if you leave them for long.
Exceptions are potatoes, carrots, and squash, which are classified as “firm” vegetables. They can be marinated for around 30 minutes or so.
Marinating Meat and Seafood
How long meat takes to marinate depends on the type of meat and its cut. Beef and pork are ideal for steaks. They are “tough” kinds of meat, so they take longer to marinate.
Cuts like flank, sirloin, round, hanger, and skirt take up to 24 hours to properly marinate. These are the ideal cuts for a good beef or pork marinade.
Do not marinate expensive cuts like ribeye and porterhouse. Cooking experts say marinating these cuts can harm their texture and flavor rather than enhance it.
On the other hand, chicken marinades can take anywhere from two hours to two days. Seafood takes between 30 minutes to an hour. If you are cooking seafood, make sure to check the recipe since highly acidic marinades can cause the fish to become mushy.
Does Vacuum Sealing Speed Up Marinating?
Vacuum sealing speeds up the marinating process significantly. You can get spectacular results in just 30 minutes.
The science of it is that vacuum sealing, in essence, lowers the pressure inside the bag. The low pressure causes “suction,” and the liquid you have put inside reaches the meat more quickly. Additionally, the meat absorbs the liquid more quickly.
By removing air from around the meat or vegetables, you “open up” the “pores” of the food items. Hence, they soak up the flavor rapidly.
How Do You Prepare the Marinade?
There are hundreds of ways you can marinate meat or vegetables. It is up to you to decide which combination you want to try.
Some popular recipes you can try include:
- The Classic Marinade
Add in equal parts of coconut aminos, sea salt, pepper, apple cider vinegar, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and avocado oil. You can use this for steaks, chicken, and seafood.
- The Fresh Herb Marinade
Add in equal parts of white vinegar, salt, pepper, cilantro, chives, shallots, garlic, parsley, and olive oil. This is ideal for any meat or vegetables.
If you are looking to save time, you can mix up spices and store them separately in an airtight jar. You can also use store-bought marinades. You can find many options at your nearest convenience stores.
How to Marinate Using a Vacuum Sealer?
Once the marinade is prepared, prep your meat. Make sure it is clean, dry, and cut into appropriate portions. Place the meat inside the vacuum-sealer bag or container and carefully pour in the marinade.
Make sure the end of the bag does not have any water or marinade on it. If the end is damp, the bag will not seal properly. In fact, your machine may stop working altogether if it comes in contact with any liquid.
One thing you can do is freeze your marinade overnight so that it is solid rather than liquid. Spread it on your meat or vegetables using a spatula. Otherwise, just leave one inch of space between the marinade and the open end of the bag.
Turn on the vacuum sealer and make sure no wrinkles are left on the bag. It should be completely smooth. Afterward, simply place it in the fridge and leave it be for at least 30 minutes.
If you are cooking beef or pork, you can leave it in a bit longer. For a more tender result, marinate for one to two hours.
What Are the Types of Vacuum Sealer to Use?
There are many kinds of vacuum sealers available online. Here are the different types you would see:
- Channel Sealers
These sealers use plastic bags. They are the most common ones. Using them is easy as specified above. Just place the open end of the bag onto the sealer, and it will suck out the air.
- Hose or Hand Held Sealers
With these, you can choose to use bags or a specialized container. You have more flexibility to move with these sealers, so simply pour your marinade in the container and suck the air out with the handheld hose.
Handheld sealers might be a better and safer choice, as you do not have to avoid liquid touching the machine. The containers are also reusable, so it is more sustainable and less messy than putting the marinade in a plastic bag.
That being said, you can store more food with plastic bags. Plastic bags are also easier to clean up., so if you are constantly cooking for lots of people, make your marinated dishes using channel sealers.
Vacuum sealers are very helpful in cooking. Primarily, they save you loads of prep time. You can cook your marinated ingredients in less than half the time.
We all have hectic schedules. You can vacuum seal marinated dishes and cook them one by one throughout the week. Additionally, marinating using a vacuum sealer makes you more organized and makes cleaning easier.
We hope we have answered the question “How does vacuum sealing speed up marinating?” and have given you great information on marinating meat, seafood, and vegetables.