FoodPrepCentral.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an affiliate, this website earns from qualifying purchases.
Vacuum sealing cut vegetables is a great way to preserve fresh foods for a later date.
If you want to save the fresh flavors of summer well into the fall season once gardens no longer produce, vacuum sealing is a good option to preserve vegetables.
Vacuum sealing cut vegetables
Vacuum sealing drastically increases shelf life and allows you to enjoy fresh food for much longer than it would typically last.
However, to enjoy the full benefits of vacuum sealing cut vegetables, you have to do it properly. Incorrectly sealing vacuum bags causes food to spoil, leaving you with a mess of wasted food.
So, make sure that you vacuum seal fresh cut vegetables correctly! Here are some pointers about how to vacuum seal vegetables the right way.
Issues with vacuum sealing fresh cut vegetables
Vacuum sealing vegetables can be a great asset for your food storage practice, but it doesnt come free.
There are actually a few major issues with vacuum sealing vegetables that you should keep in mind.
When you deprive vegetables of oxygen (like when you put them in a vacuum sealed bag) and store them in the fridge or freezer, they release gases.
As you may see, these gases push against the vacuum sealed bag, reducing the integrity of the seal. If bags are not sealed properly, they may even burst!
Even if you do everything “right”, you will still face the issue of confining the trapped gas.
Long term, this is obviously not an ideal situation.
Even worse, bacteria can still grow on vacuum sealed fresh cut vegetables if you do not take the necessary precautions.
While vacuum sealers remove nearly all the oxygen from the bag, anaerobic bacteria will still grow in the presence of moisture and light.
Anaerobic microbes can be transferred from the dirt and garden environment to your fresh fruits and veggies before you store them.
So, it’s important to remove any soil and clean vegetables before you store them in a vacuum sealed bag.
How to prepare vegetables before vacuum sealing
Wash and cut the vegetables.
First, thoroughly wash all vegetables. Then, peel large vegetables like potatoes and carrots.
Rinse them in the sink to ensure that they are clean.
Cut large vegetables into smaller pieces. Two to three inch pieces will work well. You can cut them smaller if you like, but it’s not necessary.
Quick blanch vegetables and put them in ice water.
How to blanch vegetables?
Add enough water to completely cover your vegetables to a medium to large sized pot, and bring it to a boil.
Place the vegetables into the pot and allow them to boil for one to four minutes.
Why do you need to quickly blanch vegetables?
Firstly, the extreme heat kills any bacteria that could be lurking on the surface.
Some bacteria can survive through your most rigorous cleaning efforts.
So, blanching the vegetables ensures that none remains.
Secondly, extreme heat stops the ripening process, keeping your vegetables fresh while they’re stored.
If they continued to ripen, they would eventually spoil, and all of your hard work would be for naught.
You must stop the ripening process before vacuum sealing vegetables to make sure that their texture remains strong and that they do not spoil.
If you blanch the vegetables for longer than a few minutes, they will start to cook and soften.
So, it’s important to keep the blanching time to just a couple of minutes.
This is also the reasoning behind the ice water.
When you remove the vegetables from the pot, they will still be very hot.
So, they’ll continue to cook if left at room temperature.
Submerging them immediately in ice water stops the cooking process in its tracks, preserving the integrity of the vegetables.
Drain the water and dry the vegetables.
Vacuum sealing requires dry contents.
Once the vegetables are cool, you need to drain the ice water and dry the vegetables.
Make sure that no moisture remains. Paper towel works well for the initial drying process.
Once you’ve removed the worst of the water, use blotting paper to remove the rest, like the Ywoow Oil Blotting Paper, Kitchen Clean Paper Towel Cloth Durable Washable for Dishglassdesk, Disposable Oil-Absorbing Paper (view at Amazon).
Separate the vegetables into batches.
If you’re dealing with large quantities of vegetables, you will need to separate them into multiple batches.
Even if you just have a few vegetables to vacuum seal, proportioning them is immensely helpful for meal planning purposes.
Now is the time to separate your vegetables into batches. Keep your available storage space in mind!
Also, store like vegetables together.
For example, broccoli and cauliflower go well together. So do carrots and peas.
Try not to mix unlike vegetables together.
If you’re in doubt, store them individually.
When you’re ready, just add the batches to your storage bags and vacuum seal them according to the instructions outlined by your vacuum sealer.
Be sure to leave a few inches of extra space at the top. This will help ensure that you get a strong seal.
Label the vegetables, and store them in the freezer.
They will store well in the freezer for up to six months.
When you’re ready to eat them, just cut open the bag and prepare the vegetables as usual.
You may notice that the texture is slightly different, but they will taste just as good as when they were fresh.
Featured image credit: Shutterstock.com Image ID: 1016682196