Posted on July 31 2017
Have you been wondering if you can vacuum seal fresh veggies from your garden or the local supermarket? Wonder no more: the answer is yes, although the work involved varies.
Most vegetables will do just fine when vacuum sealed and stored in the freezer. Green beans, for instance, can last as long as 2-3 years when vacuum sealed and stored in a freezer, versus a normal safe storage life of 8 months. Corn has a similar life when vacuum sealed.
View our food storage chart >
Some cruciferous vegetables (plants of the cabbage family) will require a little extra work before they can be vacuum sealed. These include:
- Brussels sprouts
This group of savory greens emit gasses. If you were to throw them into a vacuum sealer bag and seal them, the bag would fill up with that gas, causing them to spoil. To vacuum seal cruciferous vegetables for long term storage, you should first blanch them.
Blanching vegetables is a process of boiling them for a short period of time and then dropping them in cold water. Boiling deactivates the enzymes responsible for producing the unwanted gas, and the cold water stops the vegetable from cooking. As you might have guessed, the amount of time the vegetable spends in the boiling water will have to be monitored closely, otherwise you could end up cooking it. A few examples, shown below, are given by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
|Vegetable||Boiling time in minutes|
|Broccoli flowerets 1-1/2" across||3|
|Medium brussels sprouts||4|
|Cauliflower flowerets, 1" across||3|
Do you have a favorite way to store your harvest? Tips and tricks for growing your favorite crops? Let us know in the comments below!
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Hi Lauren Adam – Great question, vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts give off gases when they are stored. This gas will cause the bag to expand, and the vegetables will go bad. The best way to store all vegetables is to blanch them first, then cool, dry, vacuum seal and freeze.
If I want to vacuum seal fresh raw veggies and place directly in the freezer do I have to blanch them first?
Hi Monty – If you choose not to blanch these vegetables, they will release unwanted gases that will make them go bad quickly. If you plan on vacuum sealing these vegetables, it’s best to blanch them.
I want to cut and wash broccoli and cauliflower and then vacuum seal. I plan to use them within 1 to 2 weeks. Would that still require blanching?
Hi Rachel -You want to be sure to get as much water out of your broccoli as possible to help prevent freezer burn. I tend blanch it, then place it in a colander . Once it’s drained pretty well, I place it on paper towels and pat them from the top as well. Once I feel I’ve gotten as much water off the broccoli as I can, I place them in a vacuum seal bag. If you are still feeling like you have too much water, I would hang the vacuum seal bag over the edge of a countertop when sealing. That will help prevent the water from getting too close to your sealer bar.
Despite draining my blanched broccoli thoroughly, I still get a lot of water in the vacuum sealer, and occasionally the machine won’t seal the bag. How do I fix this? What am I doing incorrectly?
Hi Carey – Once the produce is completely dry after blanching, flash freezing your vegetables will lock in the freshness and flavor by forming ice crystals from the juices.
once you have blanched cruciferous vegetables do you flash freeze before vacuuming and sealing?
Hi Julie – You can absolutely vacuum seal squash. No need for it to be fully cooked. It just has to be completely cooled.
Hi, can I vacuum seal buttercup squash? Some were throughly cooked in the oven but, some were slightly still hard but I was able to scoop out the pulp. Does it have to be fully cooked? Thank you.
Hi Mike – Thanks for the great questions on the shelf stability of vegetables in canning vs. vacuum sealing. We recommend storing vacuum-sealed vegetables in either the refrigerator or the freezer. Fresh fruits and vegetables are not sterile – rather they’re rife with living microbes, which can come from a number of different places; soil, processing plants, grocery stores, and even the air, just as some examples. Left to their own devices, bad bacteria will thrive and quickly take over. The easiest way to kill off microorganisms is to heat the food. This destroys the harmful microorganisms and deactivates the food’s enzymes, thus preventing further deterioration.
On the flip side, not all bacteria require oxygen to thrive. Botulism, for example, thrives in near room temperature, oxygen-free environments. Vacuum sealing sets up these conditions perfectly and could make you sick.
Here is a link from our website to a vacuum seal storage chart.
Can I store fresh vegs on a shelf and what is the storage time! If you do not recommend storing them on a shelf please explain why because we have been canning for many years safely!
Hi Vicki – Yes, you can vacuum seal cucumbers. It is helpful if you have a pulse option on your vacuum sealing machine. Cucumbers can easily get squished or misshapen, but the pulse option should minimize that. Some people seem to suggest cucumbers will become more crunchy, especially if the seeds are removed and they are cut into spears.
Can I vacuum seal cucumbers? If so what is the process? Thanks
Hi Diane – On average, vacuum sealing will keep vegetables fresh 3-5 times longer. The exact time depends on a couple factors. 1. Freshness of the produce before sealing. 2. Proper preparation 3. Quality of the seal
Can you vacuum seal vegetBles to prolonging their life in the fridge.
Hi Crystal – Here is our Extended Storage Time for Vacuum Sealed Foods Chart.
I want to know what foods raw or cooked can be vacuum sealed for shelf life only
Hi Martin – In order to vacuum seal your onions and garlic, they would need to be cooked and cooled. Otherwise, I don’t see an issue with combining these vegetables unless you’d like to keep the flavors of them separate. Some of those flavors are pretty strong and would definitely combine. When properly refrigerated, these would last about a week in the fridge.
Do you see any problems with vacuum sealing multiple veggies together?
And how long would they last refrigerated?