A vacuum food packaging or a sous vide machine is a kitchen utensil that allows us to pack food inside a container, extracting all the air from it and then sealing it so that the air cannot enter the container again.
By extracting all the air from the container in which the food is located, we avoid contact with the air, thus greatly slowing down the deterioration of the products, caused largely by the oxidation reactions that occur upon contact with atmospheric oxygen.
Types of food sous vide machines
There are mainly three different types of vacuum packaging machines that are currently available on the market right now.
- Manual sous vide machines: consist of special bags that have a valve that allows the air to pass only in one direction (from inside the bag to the outside of it) and a manual pump. By connecting the pump to the valve of the bag and operating this pump manually, we can extract the air from the inside of the bag. These packers are very cheap, but the results achieved are not particularly good, because the degree of vacuum achieved is significantly lower than that achieved with the other types of vacuum packaging.
- Automatic or electric sous vide machines: these are electric vacuum packaging machines that do not have a vacuum hood and that occupy little space and achieve a higher vacuum percentage than that achieved with manual vacuum packaging machines, allowing us to obtain better results. They are somewhat more expensive than manual packaging machines, but their prices have been reduced considerably compared to past pricing, and today it is easy to find high-quality domestic vacuum packaging machines for very little money. They can only be used with “embossed” plastic bags and rolls (they have a cross-hatched pattern on their surface) but not with plain plastic bags and rolls. They do not allow liquid vacuum packaging.
- Vacuum packers with an alarm they are those that allow obtaining better results and reach the highest percentages of vacuum, however, due to their high dimensions and high price, their use is reserved for the professional field (catering, fresh food sales, etc.). They allow to use rolls and bags completely smooth, to regulate the degree of emptiness reached inside the containers in which it is packed, to pack at different speeds, to program the times of extraction of air and sealing, to pack liquids under vacuum, etc.
Machines for packaging vacuum domestic food and without vacuum hood
Automatic sous vide packaging machines usually pack vacuum foods using special plastic bags and rolls. There are some plastic bags for cooking vacuum-packed foods and low temperature, there are bags and rolls of plastic that serve only to pack and preserve food vacuum, but there are also bags and rolls of plastic that serve to cook food inside.
These kinds of vacuum food packaging machines cannot be used with bags or packaging rolls for conservation or cooking whose surface is completely smooth, but they need to be used with bags and rolls of special plastic, such as bags or rolls for packaging or cooking vacuum food whose surface has a kind of grid formed by tiny channels that help extract air from the inside of the bag when the vacuum is being made.
In addition, some automatic vacuum packaging machines allow us to vacuum food in special rigid containers, which allows us to pack products of very delicate consistency and texture without damaging them, because if we tried to vacuum pack them inside a plastic bag, we would crush them when extracting the air inside the bag. So it can be a better idea to choose an automatic vacuum packaging machine for your home kitchen, rather than other types of sous vide machines.