Many people have mixed thoughts when it comes to boiling food in vacuum sealed bags. Some argue that these plastic bags can leach harmful plasticizers, heavy metals, and dioxins into food.
Others argue that vacuum sealed bags are an alternative to sous vide bags. They claim that the bags are completely safe for cooking.
With the contradictory information, you can get confused when looking to boil your food in these plastic bags. Right?
If that’s your current state, this post has an answer for you. It sheds light on the safety of boiling food in vacuum sealer bags. As an extra, we’ve suggested a procedure you could use to boil your vacuum sealed food.
Table of Contents
- Is Vacuum Sealed Bags Safe For Boiling Food?
- How to Tell a Vacuum Sealer Bag Is Food Safe
- How Can You Boil Food In Vacuum Sealed Bags?
- The Bottom Line—Can You Boil Food In Vacuum Sealed Bags?
Is Vacuum Sealed Bags Safe For Boiling Food?
The safety of vacuum sealer bags depends on the type of plastic they are made of. Those fabricated from food-grade plastic are safe for cooking, while their counterparts made from non-food-grade plastic are potentially harmful.
What’s the safest material for vacuum bag sealers? Boil-safe vacuum sealed bags are often made of food-grade nylon, polypropylene, and polyethylene. These plastics are free of harmful plasticizers and chemicals like PVC, BPA, vinyl chloride, phthalates, and dioxin.
They won’t contaminate your favorite dishes when subjected to high temperatures. In fact, kitchen appliance manufacturers use the three plastics to make all sorts of plastic kitchenware. The materials are used to make sous vide bags too.
Be wary of vacuum sealer bags made from polycarbonate plastic. When subjected to high temperatures, this type of plastic will leach Bisphenol A, a compound with nefarious effects on the central nervous system.
For that reason, before boiling your next dish in a vacuum sealed bag, make sure it is made of food-safe plastic. We bet you wouldn’t love to adulterate your food with chemicals that could subject you to detrimental health effects.
How to Tell a Vacuum Sealer Bag Is Food Safe
Reputable manufacturers will always disclose the type of plastic used on their vacuum sealer bags. As well, the manufacturers will always disclose if their vacuum sealer bags are safe for boiling food. You’ll get this info on the product label.
If you don’t wish to risk buying cheap vacuum sealer bags that would contaminate your food, check out this list of food-safe vacuum sealer bags, and choose your best.
How Can You Boil Food In Vacuum Sealed Bags?
Boiling food in vacuum sealed bags isn’t a string theory. You just need to do it under safe temperatures, seal your food properly, as well as follow the right procedure to get your food properly cooked.
Assuming this is going to be your first time boiling food in vacuum sealed bags, here is a guide to help you do it safely.
1. Prepare and Seal Your Food Properly
Ideally, boiling food in a vacuum sealer bag isn’t a new thing. Chefs around the world have been using this method to make meals with consistent doneness and taste. The only difference is that, the chefs have been using use sous vide bags instead of vacuum sealed bags.
Both food boiling bags are similar. They are made of food-grade plastic, and they can withstand high temperatures.
Before boiling food in a vacuum sealed bag, marinate or season it properly. Then fill the food into your empty vacuum sealer bags, and seal it properly. Make sure the seal is tight enough to stand high temperatures.
2. Prepare a Water Bath
With your food ready and sealed, fill a cooking pot with enough water. Put sous vide machine into the water, and then, set the machine to warm your water to the right cooking temperatures.
If you lack sous vide machine, feel free to freestyle. Place the pot on your stove. Let the water boil to the right cooking temperatures. Use a cooking thermometer to monitor your water bath’s temperature.
Note that the water bath’s temperature would depend on the type of food you wish to boil. Chefs claim that a water bath should have temperatures of at least 50 degrees Celsius to warm or cook your food well.
3. Submerge Your Vacuum-Sealed Food into the Water Bath
Once the water bath gets the right cooking temperatures, submerge the vacuum sealed bags to start the boiling process. Supposing the food storage bags cannot submerge, use a binder clip to keep them submerged.
As an alternative, use office binders to clip the floating vacuum sealer bags to the side of your pot. Remember, if you leave the bags floating, your favorite dish won’t cook or warm uniformly.
In addition to keeping the food storage bags submerged, make sure the heat remains consistent throughout the cooking period. Use a cooking thermometer to monitor the temperatures.
4. Let Your Food Boil Until It’s Done
Boiling food in vacuum sealed bags submerged in hot water is quite slow. So, don’t rush your food after submerging. Allow it to cook slowly until it is ready. Premade foods will take just a few minutes, while raw ones will take several hours.
After your food is done, get it out of the bath and leave it to rest in the vacuum sealer bag for 10-20 minutes.
During this time, the food will suck up the seasonings and marinades properly. Afterward, you can serve it, or sear it on a hot pan to give it that crunchy texture that many foodies love.
The Bottom Line—Can You Boil Food In Vacuum Sealed Bags?
Yes, you can boil food in vacuum sealed bags. Made from polyethylene, nylon, or polypropylene, vacuum sealed bags are safe for food. They won’t leach dioxins, phthalates, cadmium, and other deadly chemicals into your food.
Vacuum sealer bags aren’t just safe, but they can also withstand high cooking temperatures. They will not melt in the event of boiling your food. You can use them as an alternative to sous vide bags.
Nonetheless, you should be wary of vacuum sealer bags made from polycarbonate, a type of plastic that can leach BPA into food.