What sort of vacuum sealer can I use?
As you will find there are many many vacuum sealers on the market in Australia, we have tested most of them. Most vacuum sealers on the market require an internally embossed or ribbed bag to be used with it, as the Banquet bags are smooth on the inside they will not work with these machines. You can very successfully use a snorkel/nozzle type vacuum sealer with the Banquet bags or you can use a channel vacuum sealer as long as you use our channel helper. If you are lucky enough to have a chamber vacuum sealer like a commercial unit then you wont need our channel helper. If you purchase a channel vacuum sealer and our channel helper you will be able to use it with any plain plastic bag. Be aware however that for true cryovac results you do need to use a high micron plastic that is quite thick as plain plastic is thin as is not water or air tight in most circumstances.
We recommend a vacuum sealer that has a reasonably wide/thick heat seal or a double row heat seal, the widest heat bar/machine you can get ie: at least 30 cm, the option to have two heat settings for dry and moist food, a two speed vacuum pump is very helpful as well. Vacuum sealers that can handle moisture escaping past the bag opening and being collected in a deeper channel as shown in the pictures below is also beneficial. If you are going to be doing a small amount of vacuum sealing then a higher specified cheap vacuum sealer like the one we carry will be more than sufficient for you but if you are going to be doing a lot of vacuum sealing, especially repeatedly in one session then you will need a better quality machine like the higher priced machine that we also carry. Consider your vacuum sealer to be an investment, you will be surprised how often you will use it once you have one and it will save you money by making foods last longer and stopping freezer burn.
How do I use the Channel helper?
The Banquet bag Channel helper is for use with Channel type vacuum sealers, it is not required if your vacuum sealer has a nozzle/snorkle or if you are using a chamber cryovac machine. You can also use a slice of your standard vacuum sealer bag, the aim is to create a path for the air to travel out of the bag.
Cut a piece of the Channel helper to fit the opening of your bag, you can seal off the end of your bag and then cut off the corner that is opposite to the corner the meat is in. Then place the channel helper running along one of the sides of the bag with it protruding out of the bag. Start your vacumming, you may need to tease the bag around the helper to improve the flow of the vacuum. If your machine has a wet option for the heat sealer have this turned on and use the Turbo option when available. Your machine will most likely detect when the air has all been evacuated and it will start to make a different sound and may automatically turn the sealer on, if it does this and there is still air in the bag massage around the helper and cancel the heat seal. Please see the detailed instructions in the Banquet Bag category.
You are trying to acheive as much coverage of the bag onto the surface of the meat as possible, expect around 80% as the Banquet bags are made of a different material to standard vacuum bags they will not acheive full vacuum.
What options are there for sealing the open end of a wide Banquet bag.
Most vacuum sealers will have a bar that is around 30cm in length, this will be adequate in most cases with the Banquet bags, but if you are using a bag that is 30cm or more at the opening then you might want to use our corner seal method. It is quick and easy with no fuss or bother with sealing and cutting corners etc.
Place your meat into your Banquet bag and seal the opening completely, you may need to do two seals to cover the distance, make sure the seal meets/overlaps and that you allow time for the seal to cool before lifting the heat bar. Then cut the corner off the bag leaving an opening of around 6", then using a piece of channel helper cut to fit the opening place the cut corner into the machine and perform the vacuum as per normal.
What do I do if my bag is wider than my vacuum sealer?
If the bag is wider than your vacuum sealers heat bar it is best to use the corner vacuum/seal process (refer to corner vacuum/seal process in this FAQ section. Simply seal the opening of your bag on one side of the opening first and then repeat the process on the second half of the opening making sure you line up the two seals so they overlap. If your vacuum sealer has a clip down action the bag will go into these areas at the end of the bar, this is ok.
**A TIP WHEN VACUUM SEALING BLOODY MEAT, ENSURE IT IS CHILLED BEFORE HAND AS THE BLOOD WILL NOT TRAVEL AS EASILY/QUICKLY FROM VERY COLD MEAT
DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS ARE AVAILABLE IN THE BANQUET BAG CATEGORY FOR DOWNLOAD.