Product Type: JML electrical appliances
Newest Review: ... into the bag while the latter orces out all of the air in the bag and then seals it, sort of like the vacuum packing of clothes that I ... more
Vacuum pack your own food at home
JML Vacuum Food Sealer
Member Name: laramax
JML Vacuum Food Sealer
Advantages: Easy to use, easy to keep clean
Disadvantages: You can't vacuum pack all types of food
I love my gadgets and I am a complete sucker for the TV shopping channels so when I saw that JML had got their own channel I couldn't resist watching it one wet afternoon recently. They were doing a demonstration of the JML Vacuum Food Sealer and I was intrigued as I sat and watched.
Basically it is a very simple machine which will either vacuum seal food into polythene bags or just seal (without vacuum). It looked pretty simple and effective and they were demonstrating a range of uses for it. Given that I cook a lot of meals for one and often 'batch cook' and weekends and make my own home made ready meals for one which I freeze down this looked like quite a useful machine.
One of the problems with shopping for one is that many times I buy fresh meat, bacon or cooked meats and end up having to have the same food over and over to use up the pack - either that or I throw some away. I thought that with this machine I might be able to use it to split packs and reseal half of the product. Needless to say it wasn't long before I went online and placed my order.
Within a matter of days I received an email to say it had been despatched and it arrived the day after. The JML Vacuum Food Sealer isn't exactly cheap at £39.99 but it is quite robust and it is simplicity itself to use. All you do is to plug it into the mains, press two buttons on the top to release the cover and place your polybag with the edges for sealing on the machine. Close the lid, press the appropriate button for either 'seal only' or 'vacuum seal' and the machine does the rest. Once the bag is sealed the light on the machine goes off and you can release the bag. The only thing that can go wrong is if you cover the air extract vent the vacuum won't work but all you need to do if that happens is open the cover and move the bag slightly.
What can you use it for?
OK I had the machine, I had the time, all I needed to do was to start packing! I first started with something simple like a pack of bacon - this was really simple I slid the bacon into the bag and vacuum sealed it in seconds. Excellent and using this method I have extended the life of it compared with storing it in the fridge unpacked. As a guide it is suggested that fresh meat with a shelf life of say 3 days in the fridge can be extended to 10 to 15 days by vacuum packing with similar benefits for cooked meats. My next project was cold meats and I am pleased to report that it easily packed even a single slice of cooked ham and beef - I had been a little worried it might 'crinkle' when the vacuum sucked the air out but it stayed flat and easy to store.
Then I moved on the the vegetables and prepared little individual servings of veggies to last me the week. This was again very easy and, watching the demonstration of the TV they suggested that to cook the vegetables all you need to do is to snip off the corner of the bag and put a little water in and then you can put it straight into the microwave and steam them that way. I tried this but found the veg didn't taste quite the same but I also noticed that the vacuum didn't appear to have lasted in the veg packs whereas it did in the meat packs.
I did a little research and discovered that there are some foods which give off gases when stored e.g. tomatoes, garlic and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and sprouts. It is suggested that it is best to part-freeze tomatoes before vacuum packing and pre-chill garlic. Cruciferous vegetables should only be vacuum packed after blanching, cooling and drying. - Ah well, I guess you live and learn - it is just a pity that I didn't read that first before I tried my veggies!
However I must say I vaccum packed some sweetcorn and, although it lost a bit of tightness in the pack, the sweetcorn was delicious when cooked in the bag with a little water so I shall certainly be vacuum packing sweetcorn again. Apparently burgers and sausages may also release air from within their mince meat after vacuum packing. The bag will look ballooned shape. It is not that air has entered the bag, it is trapped air already contained within the product that cannot be extracted by a vacuum pump in the first place!
I gathered from the JML demo that you can also make your own 'boil in the bag' meals by just sealing the food in a bag without extracting the air (you can freeze these as well) - they demonstrated a salmon steak with butter and lemon which looked quite delicious. I also liked the idea that you can 'express marinade' any meat by putting it into the bag after painting it with marinade as the vacuum will force the marinade into the fibres of the meat - great, I am looking forward to lots of tasty meals using that method.
Other uses that JML suggest are : sealing important documents such as certificates, deeds or photos to protect them from damp or any damage, putting shampoos or toiletries when packing for your holiday.
Just one little smile for you - the instructions say you can use it for storing bread, I had my doubts that they meant to vacuum seal it but nevertheless I couldn't resist testing it out on a couple of bread rolls. I had to smile as they turned then into two bread 'biscuits' - mind you to be fair you can seal them in a airtight plastic bag using this machine if you want - just don't try it using the vacuum function!
Would I recommend it?
Yes I would if, like me, you frequently need to split pack sizes to cater for one or if you want to buy 'family sized' packs to take advantage of bulk buying. It is a great way to extend the shelf life of products making it less necessary to keep visiting the shops. Ideal for packing anything you want to freeze down as food keeps better and ice crystals don't form. As I said earlier this is not a cheap product but I hope, in time, it will give me some good savings as it reduces on waste and helps me to make even more exciting home made ready meals.
Summary: An easy way to make your food last a little longer
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