When we think about vacuum packing, we imagine a complex industrial process whereby the hake fillets end up imprisoned inside the plastic container that we buy in our supermarket. Many of us do not realize that technology has improved so much that we can vacuum pack at home.
But how is it possible that, by pressing a button, a machine extracts all the air from a container? And what does that have to do with the preservation of food? Does this help save on the purchase invoice? We tell you, with the effects of vacuum packing food.
The science behind vacuum food packaging, how does it work?
We light our domestic packaging, place the food in the container, and this on the mouthpiece of the device, and press a button. After this, we hear a soft hum, and the package seems to “squeeze” the food, hugging it (without damaging it) while extracting the air from inside. How has it happened? Where has the air gone? What is that of “emptiness”?
The vacuum is nothing more than the lack of atmospheric pressure in a particular area. That is to say, that in a substantial volume, there is a quantity of air (mass) null or negligible. The air that is around us, and that has nitrogen (78%), oxygen (21%) and 1% of other gases, is usually at a pressure of one atmosphere. The packer removes air until the pressure is zero.
To generate the vacuum at a certain point, we need a closed volume (like the container in which we put our food) and a vacuum pump, such as FoodSaver. In your home, you have several appliances that work with a similar physical principle: the compressor of the refrigerator or air conditioner, the extraction hood, or the vacuum cleaner.
All these inventions act similarly: withdrawing air from a point, reducing its pressure, and moving it to another, increasing it. In the case of FoodSaver, the air surrounding the food is removed to prevent it from aging at an average rate, and therefore spoiling soon.
Why do vacuum foods last longer than non-vacuum foods?
Food ages in a way not so different from how we do it. Yes, humans last longer, but the process of oxidation that we lose years is similar, and the fault is the air of the atmosphere. Specifically, molecular oxygen (O
2) that is in it.
Oxygen is an aging agent, and we have said before that air has 21% of it. It is a relatively promiscuous element that tends to form oxidized compounds with almost all surfaces, such as metals, food, and even living beings:
If we prevent food from being in contact with atmospheric oxygen, we will cause it to age at a much slower rate, in the same way, that if we reduce the temperature, this oxidation will also slow down. When we put the food in the refrigerator, the cold makes the O molecules interact with our food more slowly.
Packaging and industrial cold, a duo that has been used for decades
A combination of packaging and cold increases the durability of our food. This is nothing new, as thousands of refrigerated and vacuum containers arrive at ports around the world with loads of grain, fruit, meat, fish … It’s something that the industry has been using for decades, and whose chain reaches our Supermarket.
Think of the ultra-frozen and vacuum hake fillets, many of which have been packaged on the high seas by a fishing vessel en route for months. If the cold chain is not broken, and if the vacuum is well done, the food can last a great time in industrial processes.
Something similar and on a smaller scale occurs in the home. Hence the importance of having a packaging machine. Although there are many in the market, we highlight two: the FoodSaver model FFS010X adjustable head, designed for short-term packaging, and the FoodSaver FFS015X with a double-click closure system, for long-term packaging.
In the case of the FoodSaver FFS010X, which can be seen in the image above, the adjustable head allows us a wide variety of different packages aimed at preserving food for at least twice as long as by traditional methods. The FoodSaver FFS015X (below) further increases the durability of food, keeping food fresh up to five times longer than with conventional methods.
Thanks to this type of household appliance, increasingly popular in homes, we can better organize the refrigerator, save on our food purchases, avoid throwing away food, and even save time.
This is what you can save on food thanks to a vacuum packing machine.
According to the INE, in 2015, 1,326 million kilos of food was thrown away in Spanish households. This represents about 5% of the food products purchased, which means that 5% of the bill for food is being wasted and thrown away. Why?
The changing demographics of families have much to do because today we have many homes with one or two occupants when years ago there were more people per household. Cooking for a few is more complicated than doing so for many since the slightest miscalculation results in a lot of “extra” food. The lack of time in our day to day does not help either.
On the one hand, we can save part of the food for longer if we have cooked too much, or if we have bought in excess (above). The different packages can help us to measure the quantities for the next time better, and keep our food fresh until we return them to serve or use for cooking.
On the other hand, they help us save time by cooking “Sunday afternoon.” Many single-person households find it more productive to cook all the food they will consume per week for a few hours, preparing different toppers and containers to take individual rations to the office:
Thanks to these two strategies, the saving is double, in time with which to increase our quality of life and money that we can allocate to other uses, we can better manage our life and our home. Especially if we feel that our day is hectic and that we lack time, or that we can not stretch the shopping cart enough, we need a packing machine.
But also if we consider ourselves responsible citizens with the environment that seeks to avoid a more significant environmental impact. The fact that we waste 5% of the cultivated food supposes an environmental cost that we have to take into account, and that we can save the ecosystem. FoodSaver is an appliance that helps us fulfill these purposes.