Several culinary businesses invest in the Vacuum Packaging Machine as they use it to prolong the shelf life of the food. The machine is efficiently usable in any kitchen, restaurant or hospitality venue.
It consists of a chamber that creates a vacuum by removing air or oxygen, using a vacuum pump. Thermal or heat strip seals the vacuum pouch in 15 – 45 seconds or lower. Benefit by making an informed decision on the packaging machines offered by Berkel.
What to look for in a vacuum packaging unit?
- Commercially, vacuum packing becomes cost effective when a large number of strategically placed co-polymer pouches are vacuum sealed; either alongside or on top of each other. The strategy helps seal several pouches without burning them.
- Theoretically, all food items can be vacuum packed. Practically, fresh food such as meat, vegetables, fruits, sauces, cheese, Sous-vide cooked meals, cereals and dry fruits are vacuum packaged to exclusively lengthen their shelf life.
- Some food items like mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic, burgers, and sausages need special care when vacuum packed like frozen mushrooms, pre-chilled garlic, and part-frozen tomatoes are easy to seal.
- Liquid products such as marinades, sauces, stock, soup, oils can be vacuum packed, though the level of complexity is higher than solid foods. This is because water molecules start boiling at room temperature, under extreme pressure. Vacuum sealed liquid may leak; as a recommendation, pack pre-chilled liquid and hold it inside the pouch by tilting and creating a gravitational pull within the packaging equipment.
- Several factors that come into play to extend the shelf life and control speedy deterioration of food like pH, temperature, oxygen level, age and condition, moisture content, nutritional content.
- The shelf life of frozen vacuum packed food increases three to five times; moreover, the food does not freezer burn. Shelf-life of fish and meat is 3 days when kept in natural conditions while it extends to 10 days if packed, frozen and stored at 3 degrees. Vacuum sealed bread lasts 10 days while some cooked dishes like Pasta and Rice last up to 15 days and uncooked Rice & Dry Pasta for 365 days.
- Humidification of the vacuum packaging machine is a must at regular intervals to remove any vapors that may have accumulated in the pump. Maintenance, cleanliness, and safety ensure its recurring use. A good sanitation regime prevents bacterial contamination across food types.
- Oil in the vacuum pump requires a change at regular intervals or as indicated in the User manual. Other day-to-day care of the thermal sealing strip ensures the quality of the vacuum packaging process and will influence the long shelf life of the food.
- Vacuum packaged food is safe; however, Clostridium botulinum an anaerobic micro-organism can contaminate vacuum packed food and cause food poisoning.
The businesses must follow the HACCP food safety system to vacuum seal; food storage must take place under 3 degrees and a shelf life less than 10 days. It is essential to know everything before you choose your Berkel vacuum packaging machine so that you can best suit your requirements.