Save Your Catch with a Vacuum Packaging System at Cabela's

Save Your Catch with a Vacuum Packaging System

Author: Mark Mazour

Vacuum Packing systems basically perform two main tasks: removing all the air by use of a vacuum pump and heat sealing a bag to prevent any air from entering.

You know the cycle. You bought the gear, went on the trip and brought home a freezer full of game. However, if you’re like me, the next trip is right around the corner, and without the time to prepare it all, most of your prized catch sits in the freezer. Six months later, you are making your way through the frozen concoctions only to find that those tasty elk tenderloins and walleye fillets have been damaged by the deadly enemy of freezer burn. Sure, I still eat it; I hate to throw stuff out. But the tarnished taste only makes me wish I had gotten to it sooner.
I had seen the commercials on TV for vacuum packing systems, but until last year, I didn’t think they were worth the money. Last December, my brother-in-law gave me some of his deer meat that was from the year before. I wasn’t too sure about accepting his gracious offer, since from my own experiences, this meat would be barely palatable after a year in the freezer. However, I was surprised to see that all the meat was vacuum packed in clear bags. The meat still had a deep, dark color, without any "freezer burn white" or ice crystals. The true test came when I opened it up to prepare it. After thawing, the meat was just like it came fresh off this year’s deer instead of last. I grilled up the tenderloin steaks and was amazed at the taste. I knew what I was going to spend my Christmas money on - a new Vacuum Packing System.

Vacuum Packing systems basically perform two main tasks: removing all the air by use of a vacuum pump and heat sealing a bag to prevent any air from entering.

The quantitative measure of a vacuum is the negative pressure that is developed in the vacuum chamber by the pump. The most common unit of measurement is expressed in inches of Mercury (Hg) measured by barometer. Powerful pumps in vacuum packing systems are rated from 20" to 29.5" of Mercury for incredible suction. I have even seen a demo where they fill a large bag as long as a table with aluminum cans and crush the cans flat with the vacuum system.

The sealing elements use a combination of heat and pressure to fuse the specialized bag material together. This heat sealing also makes the bags reusable. Simply cut the bag edge straight, wash and dry, and then you are ready to use it again. The heavy bags used for vacuum packing stand up to several uses and are also safe for boiling or the microwave. You can make all your camp meals at home. Just throw them in boiling water to heat up, open up and serve.

Try it For Marinating
I’ll admit it; I am a "chronic marinater." I rarely grill, roast, smoke or cook any of my wild game dishes without marinating them first. However, that requires me to plan ahead for meals way in advance. First, I have to allow the meat to thaw overnight or the day before, and then marinate it for six to eight hours in the refrigerator. I remember in junior high science class, we put a marshmallow in a vacuum chamber. Under the absence of pressure in a sealed container, the marshmallow expanded to over twice its original size. This same principle allows you to use an optional marinating canister to thoroughly marinate meat in a fraction of the time.

This canister can be attached to the accessory port of your vacuum packing system. Under vacuum, the pores of the meat and fish are opened, and the "magic mixture" of your marinade is drawn in. Now, you can marinade in minutes instead of hours. With this option, I can now pull something of the freezer in the morning or at lunch and then place it in the marinating canister after I get off work, and 15 minutes later I am headed to the grill.
Many Uses - Not Just for Food
Designed originally as a way to save food, vacuum packing units have many other uses as well. Scent-proof clothing has proven its effectiveness in the field, but what happens when you pack your clothes with all your other gear? They end up smelling like everything from food to gasoline. A vacuum packing unit can be used to keep your hunting clothes smelling like they’re supposed to and save their scent adsorbing properties for the field. Also, with all the air removed and stored in sealed nylon bags, your clothes not only pack in much smaller space, but they will also be dry when you need them, even if the canoe tips over or an unplanned storm hits. Besides waterproofing clothes, you can also use a vacuum packing system to waterproof other essential gear such as matches or fire starters.