The Food Saver and the Limits of Air--As every holiday season rolls around, the kids are wont to ask old Papa “Waddaya want for Christmas?”, to which I’ve been responding with varying levels of gift “do-ability”, from warm sox to world peace. However, this year I actually had a Sanity Claus request—something smack dab in the reasonable cost area, and of a fantasy nature satisfying enough to keep me occupied for a long time. A food saver! My fridge is always one-quarter dying…something I try to keep up with when planning meals. But then, a lot of it gets away from me…until the smells begin. I had to start preserving my food better.
So it was with genuine glee that I opened the big box from my daughters and their families last Christmas to discover a Food Saver vacuum seal machine, complete with bags to use for the next six months. I was off to the races.
I made leftovers specifically to save them—some of the dishes were never a regular meal to precede their becoming leftovers. They were born leftovers. It was all about the sealing process.
Take my doctored chorizos, for instance…
I have joyously discovered a mass-marketed chorizo that is as true to real Mexican chorizo as anything I’ve yet to discover—north of the border, that is. Johnsonville, the sausage and pork people, have done it! Their Mexican-Style chorizo, at just about six bucks a pound, is like the real thing.
For me, that “real thing” is a quest. I smuggled an entire kilo of both red and green chorizo past customs last time I returned from Mexico--and I don’t do well in jail. However, if I had been incarcerated, at least the Mexican prisoners would have respected me. The contraband turned out to be not only delicious, but a learning experience as well. I discovered that, for culinary reasons unknown to me, or merely as filler, the chorizo I brought back from a butcher’s stand in the sprawling San Juan Letran Mercado area of Mexico City had both pasillas and cacahuates inside. We’re talking raisins and raw peanuts here.
So –just to be on the safe side—I have been removing the chorizo skins and blending in peanuts and raisins—along with a drop or two of hot sauce (as in: why not?)—and refrigerating the chorizo mass for future use. Which is where Food Saver comes in. My freezer is full of packages of my second-favorite breakfast meat.
And, as I said, I proceeded to go nuts with the technology, vacuum-sealing anything that could rot. Buy a pound and only use ten ounces today? It’ll be bad when you get back to it at the end of the week; but if you repackage whatever it is, suck out the air and seal it, it’ll be there for weeks. Vegetables, cheese—you name it. Of course, there are limits—limits that should be clear. If you think about them.
But I was intent on solving an old problem that usually comes up when I occasionally splurge and buy a giant loaf of olive bread: I pig out for a couple of days and then grow weary of it-- and thirty, forty percent dries up or gets moldy.
That’s what I was thinking when I stacked three big inch-thick slices of olive bread (a crusty white bread with Kalamata olives) inside a sealer bag. Then I set up the Suck function and let ‘er rip.
This is what I got. It has looked like this for some time now. . . .
It—this bread mummy—will never dry out or get moldy, because both those conditions depend on one simple thing: air. What I failed to remember is the old adage that, white bread is all air.
Anyone want an interesting paper weight?