The deterioration of food is caused by chemical reactions occurring in food exposed to air, temperature, moisture, the action of enzymes, the growth of micro-organisms or contamination by insects.
Vacuum packing provides for a total reduction of air pressure inside the package, subtracting oxygen and eliminating volatile compounds. Oxygen in the air causes the deterioration of food, primarily through the oxidation process, which causes a loss of nutritional value, taste and quality. Air, in addition, contributes to the growth of most micro-organisms and causes cold burns that occur on frozen food.
Vacuum packing lengthens the storage time of most fresh foods, reducing oxidation and preventing microbial growth (bacteria and mould). However, many fresh foods contain sufficient moisture to favour the growth of micro-organisms that can grow with little or no air. To prevent the deterioration of these foods, storage at low temperature is essential.
Micro-organisms, such as mould, yeast and bacteria, are present everywhere but can cause problems only in certain conditions. For example, mould does not grow in environments low in oxygen or in the absence of moisture. To develop, yeasts require moisture, sugar and a moderate temperature, but can grow in the presence or absence of air. Refrigeration slows the growth of yeasts and freezing stops it completely. Bacteria can multiply with or without air, depending on their nature.
Clostridium botulinum is a very dangerous type of bacteria that can grow in environments that do not contain acids, lack oxygen and are exposed for prolonged periods at temperatures above 4°C.
Foods that can be attacked by Botulinum , therefore, are those with low acidity (such as meat, poultry, fish, seafood, pickled olives, eggs, mushrooms, vegetables) and medium acidity foods like most fruits and many vegetables (ripe tomatoes, onions, red hot pepper, figs and cucumbers). To prevent the contamination of this pathogen, it is essential to operate in compliance with hygiene standards and to prevent a dangerous proliferation in preserved foods. These must be refrigerated for short-term storage and/or frozen for long-term preservation. They must, however, be consumed immediately after they are heated.
Some enzymes that are found in foods cause more obvious changes in colour, structure and taste which depend on their vacuum storage times, from the temperature and, above all, on the presence of air.
To stop the action of enzymes, vegetables should be blanched briefly through the use of steam or a microwave.
Foods that contain high levels of acidity, such as most fruits, do not require blanching. The absence of air that occurs with vacuums in any case slows down or prevents the action of these enzymes. Insect larvae are often found in many foods low in water or dried and, without vacuum packaging or freezing, these could develop during vacuum storage, contaminating food.
Some products such as flour and grains can contain larvae but, with use of the MAGIC VAC® vacuum packing system these are prevented from turning into insects.
Vacuum packing will revolutionise the way you buy and store food. Storing food in vacuums(which means without air), the shelf life of food lengthens greatly, whether they are stored in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer. Air can make food stale and rancid; it can make them ferment, dry, or can cause freezer burns. Vacuum storage maintains the freshness and flavour of your food longer.
Now you can have the opportunity to package food fresh from the market or the garden in convenient portions for future use, even in large quantities. Food purchased already in vacuums, such as cheese, salami and meat retain taste and freshness intact, if they are repackaged in vacuums in bags or MAGIC VAC® containers once opened.
Meat, fish and vegetables can be frozen without freezer burn and will keep their freshness and quality. Food such as coffee, rice, flour and dried fruit will last much longer vacuum packed. Fresh, perishable foods should still be frozen or refrigerated.
The original quality of the food should be as high as possible, with regards both to its freshness and regarding the hygiene at the moment in which it is vacuum packed.
There is, in fact, no storage technique that can transform a bad product into a good once.
Always keep your MAGIC VAC®, its patented bags and containers close at hand to create vacuums and experiment the ease of use and all the advantages to the quality of your food that are possible with the MAGIC VAC® system.
In addition, you can customise food packaging, such as with meats, normal salami and cured meats, cheese, pre-cooked foods, rice, pasta and biscuits, using bags or special containers. These allow you to make the most of storage space in your refrigerator, in your freezer and pantry, guaranteeing the best storage under optimal hygienic conditions, also excluding contact between different products and therefore excluding a risk of cross contamination. Finally, the food vacuum pack system allows for a one time cooking of food in a larger quantity, to then be divided into portions to be kept in the refrigerator or freezer, adding any flavouring. You can then thaw them directly, by boiling or microwave.
Vacuum packing for the freezer.
First, use food that is as fresh as possible. The MAGIC VAC® system will allow you to keep all the freshness of your food only if it has been stored correctly. Some foods have a soft texture that could be damaged by vacuum packing, carried out on fresh products. For delicate products such as meat, fish, berries, bread etc., pre-freezing is advisable. In the first twenty-four hours, there is no risk of freezer burns and, therefore, you can vacuum pack pre-frozen foods in MAGIC VAC® bags the day before and then store them in the freezer for long periods, to best preserve all the sensory and nutritional features of the product that you have packed. When it comes to vacuum storing soups, stews or other liquid food, pre-freeze them in a baking dish or a temperate plate. When they solidify, package them in the vacuum, label them and replace them in your freezer. To vacuum store vegetables, clean and peel them, the blanch them, passing them quickly in boiling water or in the microwave until they are heated, while remaining crisp. Then vacuum pack them in convenient portions.
If the food is not pre-frozen, leave an extra length of 5 cm in the bag to allow for expansion due to freezing. For meat and fish, it is advisable to place food on a paper towel and vacuum pack it with a paper towel in the bag. This will help absorb moisture from the food.
To store food like focaccia bread, crêpes and small hamburger buns, overlap them, inserting waxed paper or plastic wrap between one piece and another. This will allow you to remove part of the food, repackage the rest and put it immediately back into the freezer.
Vacuum packing for the refrigerator
For busy families, food can be prepared in advance, put under vacuum and stored in the refrigerator and used in stages, ready to heat when is necessary.
Vacuum packing for the pantry
Even food that can be stored at room temperature (for example coffee, flour, pasta, sugar, etc.) can take advantage of vacuum packing. If these products must be unused for several days, as happens when you are away from home or leave for a holiday, it is advisable to protect your food with vacuum packing. They will be kept fresher and room moisture, mould and insects will not be able to damage them.
Thawing Magic Vac® bags
To thaw vacuum packed food, put them on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator to thaw them slowly, if dealing with meat, fish, fruit, vegetables or other delicate foods. If dealing with bread or focaccia, leave them at room temperature. If, instead, you are dealing with soup or other liquids, soak the bags with their contents in hot water until they reach the right temperature.
When you leave them at room temperature or heat them in bain marie, make sure to cut open a corner of the bag to let the steam come out. After the food has thawed, consume immediately. Do not re-freeze.
Vacuum re-packing of pre-packaged food
Many foods are sold pre-packaged in industrial vacuum bags, such as cheese and meat. To maintain the taste and freshness of these foods, re-package them in MAGIC VAC® bags once the industrial bag has been opened. Pre-packaged foods must however be consumed by the expiry date indicated on the original product package and treated with the utmost care and hygiene during vacuum re-packing operations.
• For foods with sharp points or edges, like bones or spaghetti, pad the edges with paper towels to avoid putting a hole in the bag.
• Many non-food products can also be vacuum stored. You can store camping equipment such as matches, first aid kits and clean, dry clothes. You can vacuum store your warning triangle in the car for emergencies.
You can maintain the freshness of pipe tobacco, silverware, and collector pieces.
Freezing in containers
To freeze food in plastic containers , use only MAGIC VAC® containers or, in the case of glass containers use tempered containers suitable for freezer temperatures.
Vacuum packing of food in containers
Vacuum packing in containers is ideal for frequently used products. Dried foods such as pasta, grains, flour, sugar, potato crisps, pretzels and biscuits or food for your animals will maintain their structure and fresh taste for longer. Salads and vegetables can be kept clean for a whole week and stored in MAGIC VAC® containers. They will keep crisp and fresh. To absorb excess moisture, fold a paper towel and position at the bottom of the container.
Powdered or granulated food can be covered by a paper towel, cut before vacuum packing. This will prevent grains from entering the path of the vacuum or from accumulating in the Vacuum Sealing Cap.
Used oil from frying can be filtered, cooled closed in a vacuum in a MAGIC VAC® container and stored in the refrigerator. In this way, you can reuse the oil at least once more, when it is kept without air and cold, keeping almost all its characteristics intact.
Pantry articles such as flour, rice, and cake and pancake mixes will stay fresh for longer if vacuum packed. Nuts and condiments retain their flavour and are protected from rancidity.
Marinating with MAGIC VAC® Containers
To marinate meat, poultry and fish, pierce the surface of the food, cover with your choice of marinade and place in a MAGIC VAC® container. Vacuum seal the MAGIC VAC® container and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes. Food will be taste as if it has marinated all night!
Recommendations for container storage
When storing food, use lids that have been checked and found to be free from defects. To create and maintain a good vacuum, lid seals must be in perfect conditions. Proper lid maintenance can be performed by immersing in boiling water for 3 minutes and then rubbing the dry seal with a drop of oil. This will return the necessary flexibility to lid seals.
For optimised and safe food storage, it is essential to follow these rules: