Vacuum sealing is a food preparation method that gives you access to nutritious produce even they're not in season. This method preserves food by removing all the air from the jars to keep the moisture low – which helps to slow degradation and prevents the growth of microbes. It can also be used to preserve dry or powder ingredients.
You can preserve dehydrated vegetables using a canning jar. Just add an oxygen absorber, then seal the lid with a vacuum sealer to expand the vegetable's shelf life. You can also fill it with homegrown produce, add an oxygen absorber packet or two, then attach the jar to a vacuum pump or put in the chamber that the vacuum pump is attached to.
Canning jar sealers have a special lid. These have a rubberized ring that creates the airtight seal in your jars. After you turn the pump on, the vacuum sealer will suck out most of the air to give the rubberized ring and the jar a satisfactory seal. The vacuum inside the jar will hold the ring and lid, preventing air from leaking in and spoiling the food inside.
Never vacuum seal a jar that contains wet food, like sauces, because they already have microbes that will rapidly spoil the food. Vacuum sealers will only extend the shelf life of foods that are already microbe-proofed. (Related: Tips for basic home food preservation and canning.)
Here are two methods that will keep your food microbe-free.
Aside from dehydrated fruits and vegetables, you can vacuum seal nuts and other naturally dry foods to extend their shelf lives.
Follow these steps to vacuum seal food for your survival stockpile.
When stored, frozen food usually lasts about six to 12 months. However, vacuum sealed frozen food will last for as long as two to three years.
Most vacuum sealed foods will last in your fridge for one to two weeks, while food stored conventionally only lasts for about one to two days.
For best results, store your jars away from direct light. Store vacuum sealed jars in a room with a cool, steady temperature such as a dry basement because moisture may cause rust to form on jar lids.
By vacuum sealing food, your family can eat nutritious fruits and vegetables even when they're not in season.