Vacuum packing used to be a special technique for commercial food packaging and preservation. Now customers on a budget can use this low-cost technique for extending the life of perishable foods. Counter top consumer vacuum packing or sealing equipment can be found in most department stores, with higher end equipment being sold in specialty kitchen supply stores. Vacuum packing is not a substitute for proper food storage techniques.
Oxygen promotes certain reactions that advance food spoilage. Vacuum packing combats this by removing oxygen from a package of food.
Vacuum packing can extend the storage time for dried, frozen and refrigerated foods.
Vacuum packing does not replace the need to freeze or refrigerate foods.
Some pathogenic bacteria thrive in oxygen-free environments, and so they may thrive on vacuum packed foods.
Consumer vacuum packaging machines are usually small enough to be carried easily and stored in a cupboard. Industrial counter-top vacuum packaging machines process higher quantities of larger packages.
Home vacuum packaging systems may range in cost from $50 to hundreds of dollars. Industrial systems may cost from $3,000 upwards depending on their size and output.
All vacuum sealing systems require a steady supply of specialized vacuum bags. The bags used will vary between brands and models of machines.
About this Author
Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics at the University of Alaska Anchorage and contributes regularly to various online publications. Print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.