Vacuum sealing has its advantages when freezing food for your bird, but it is not crucial if you aren't planning on storing food for super-long periods of time. Invented in the 1940's, vacuum sealing drastically changed food packaging for the better and extended the life of many products, in some cases up to five times longer than conventionally packaged food.
One of the enemies in freezing food like Chop is air.
The less air that is in the bag containing the Chop, the higher the quality of the product will be. Freezer burn doesn’t do any frozen food any favors, so when you are preparing any items for the freezer, ensure that there is no air in it.
The Advantages of Vacuum Sealing
However, vacuum sealing does have other advantages. Because vacuum sealing removes the oxygen from the package before it is sealed, any bacterial or fungi growth is greatly inhibited. This works just as well for shelf stable foods as it does for frozen items. When you remove the air from a package or jar of shelf stable food, it doesn't deteriorate as quickly. It's also safe from insects.
There are many times when a vacuum sealer can help out in ways you might not have thought of. People have written to me and told me that they liked freezing their Chop in ice cube trays. They freeze the cubes, pop them out and put them in a storage bag for the freezer.
The problem with this method using a conventional freezer bag is the air issue again. I was getting reports that it wasn’t working due to freezer burn.
This is where the vacuum sealer comes into play. If you freeze the Chop into cubes, you can pop them in a vacuum sealer and the bag will squish tight around the cubes and the problem is solved.
Avoid Plastic Containers
Another thing not to do is freeze Chop is plastic containers. I’ve gotten reports of freezer burn using this method as well. The plastic food containers with a lid is just not a tight enough container to prevent Chop from freezer burn due to a large amount of air still in the container when you pop on the lid.
Freezing food for the long term is a great idea for many working families. My friend Laura wasn’t too excited about using the Chop Concept as she was used to chopping vegetables fresh every day. She is an excellent home organic gardener and her organic garden had served her flocks needs for years. She is also raising chickens now so I’m sure they are getting some of those greens as well.
But she just simply couldn’t wrap her head around making a big batch of Chop and freezing it. I think she had the time to make fresh meals for her birds every day and I know she enjoyed it. She had them on an excellent diet and her birds thrive.
Laura is involved with Phoenix Landing volunteering with coordinating educational events. When I was up in Maryland doing a Chop presentation for Phoenix Landing, she told me right up front that Chop didn’t thrill her. But we went to the grocery store and I told her this was to be “Her Chop-Her Way.” So she selected what she wanted to use for this batch as well as utilizing some greens from her garden.
We prepared the vegetables for the presentation as well as cooking the grains and pasta so everything would be ready for the presentations.
The presentation went off without a hitch and everyone had some wonderful food to take home to their flocks. Laura brought her Chop home and put it in the freezer and really didn’t think much about it. She simply went on about her days the same way she always had: chopping fresh for her birds just like she always did.
She decided to try it one morning and she saw that her birds were eating it and it certainly made her life in the morning much easier. She has her own take on how she makes Chop. You can read about it right here at her blog.
Once that she saw that her birds were actually eating it, she decided to take it up a notch and began using it in other foods for her birds.
Why It's Important
And now? She, like many people who gave it the “side eye” at first, realized how important having a backup like Chop in the Freezer could be. Laura now makes Chop for her flock and mixes it with other fresh items from the store as well as her beautiful garden.
So keeping backups of food such as Chop and vegetables you find on sale in the freezer for times when other people are caring for your birds or when you are sick can be a lifesaver. And if you have intentions of keeping any food items long term, such as nuts and grains, I highly suggest you use a vacuum sealer.
Buying nuts on sale when they are in season as well as on sale can really save you some money in the long run, so it simply makes sense to vacuum seal them. Nuts are expensive and by freezing them using a vacuum sealer only makes sense. Nuts are prone to going rancid due to the high oil content. Freezing them prevents this.
Keeping bags of frozen vegetables in your freezer “Just In Case” is a clever idea. But vacuum selling them is also a smart way of approaching the issue because they will last far longer if you do.
I don’t use my vacuum sealer for Chop or Grain Bake because I’m not making enough to warrant the extra expense. If I had a large freezer at my home, I probably would bite the bullet, make an extremely large batch all at once and then vacuum seal it.
I have a friend that vacuum sealed some fresh shrimp. As an experiment, he left them in his freezer for about three years or so to see how they would taste. He thawed out the shrimp and cooked them and they tasted as if he had purchased them that day. The shrimp were perfectly preserved. I am not recommending that you leave food in the freezer for that long, I'm simply saying that vacuum sealed shrimp in my friend's freezer came out none the worse for wear.
So using a vacuum sealer for long term storage either in the freezer or in the pantry is probably a great idea. I highly suggest it for shelf-stable foods such as flour and grains as well as beans if you buy them in bulk.
We’ve all had issues from time to time when bugs sneak into our pantries and houses from some of the products we purchase for preparing food for our birds. It just happens, especially in certain parts of the country where it’s warm. I live in Florida and I occasionally end up doing some “moth hunting” with my vacuum cleaner. They get in your house and sometimes it’s really difficult to eradicate them.
Vacuum sealing your shelf stable products will prevent those little buggers from getting into your pantry products.
If you’re interested in buying products in season, on sale and want to preserve them for an extended period of time, I highly recommend that you get one. They not only come in handy for frozen as well as shelf stable food, you can vacuum seal important documents to keep them safe from moisture or any other issues you might have other than fire. You can also use them for camping trips or boat outings for keeping non-good items dry. Not only can you vacuum seal food items in bags, many vacuum sealers come with attachments that will vacuum seal food in mason jars.
There are quite a few companies that make vacuum sealers so you might want to shop around and see what is available in your area. There is, of course, the popular “Food Saver” which has been around for years, but I’ve noticed it has quite a few competitors.
Sportsman's stores such as Bass Pro carries cooking equipment for camping. I’ve noticed that they carry vacuum sealers of all sorts as well as dehydrators. So these are a good source if you’re in the market for either of these items.
Vacuum sealing can be a boon to families with birds by helping you preserve the food you prepare as well as preserving your own food.