Marination not only tenderizes the surface of the meat and vegetables to be cooked but also infuses more flavor into them. The latter is especially true when marinating thin cuts of meat or small pieces of vegetables. But, this can be a time consuming process requiring anywhere from 12-18 hours of refrigeration time.
Here, vacuum sealing comes through as an alternative method that immediately opens up the surface pores of the food to accept the marinade mixture thereby fast-tracking the process. This article describes two ways of using your vacuum sealer to achieve that perfect marination in 30 minutes or less!
Marination Using Vacuum-able Bags
For this, you’ll need some good quality vacuum-able bags, marinade solution and a vacuum sealing machine. Start by preparing the marinade mixture. Depending on whether you know the recipe, you can make the marinade at home or purchase a bottled version of the mixtures from your local department store.
Then, cut the meat or vegetables to appropriate size and put them into a vacuum-able bag. With meat, you could cut it into smaller pieces or thin slices to accelerate the process of marination. Now, pour the required amount of marinated concoction into the bag and mix the ingredients well by manipulating the bag from the outside.
Holding the bag in an inclined position, check to see if the level of the marinade is touching the mouth of the bag. If not, then drain out the excess mixture so as to leave a gap of 1-inch or more between the marinade and the bag’s mouth.
Also, if the marinade is hot, then give it some time to cool down before transferring it into the bag. Once, these checks are in place, the bag can now be vacuum sealed. Leave the vacuumed bag in the fridge for at-least 30 minutes to allow the marination process to complete.
Using Vacuum-able Canisters For The Job
Certain vacuum sealers already come with a marinade function, which utilizes specially built plastic canisters to accomplish marination in quick time and without refrigeration. The air is suctioned out from the canister via a thin tube, which in some cases already comes attached to the machine and remains coiled up inside. Simply pull out the tube and attach it to the inlet provided on the vacuum-able canister’s lid.
In other models, you might need to separately attach this tube to the vacuum port and then go on to fit its other end into the canister. As for the canister, it looks like your everyday plastic deli box, with the only difference being that its lid comes with a valve for different settings and a small opening to receive the tube.
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Start by placing the meat pieces or slices in the box, and fill it with just enough of the mixture until the meat is fully immersed. Close the lid and connect the tube by firmly pushing its mouth into the opening provided.
Some proprietary canisters allow you to customize the vacuum cycle according to the model and make of your vacuum sealer by adjusting the valve provided atop the lid. If so, then make sure the valve is pointing in the right direction (refer to your user guide for a better understanding).
With auto marination, simply press the ‘Marinade’ button after ensuring all connection are in place and the machine will take care of the rest. When the marination process is completed, you will be intimated of the same with a beeping sound.
But, what if you don’t have this auto-marinade feature? In such a case, you can manually recreate the process. Basically, what you do is extract all the air from the canister using the vacuum only function and leave it that way for 5-7 minutes. Then, disconnect the tube from the lid and allow the container to aerate for 2-3 minutes.
Repeat this cycle 3-4 times to achieve the required level of marinade. While this method of canister based marination, it takes less time than the bag based method. You will nevertheless need to get used to the number of vacuum-aeration cycles to get consistent results in future.