Fish Tips & Tricks
Although fish is one of the things that benefits the most from vacuum sealing it can also be one of the more difficult things to do. This is because of the high liquid content. Here are our tips to vacuum seal fish the easy way.
Fish Preparation For Vacuum Sealing:
Try filleting your fish cleanly and do away with the need to wash the fillets. Always have some paper towels handy to clean off the fillets prior to bagging.
If it is necessary to wash the fillets, always wash them in salt water, drain them and wipe off excess water with the paper towels
The Vacuum Sealing Process:
When the fillets have been washed it is often necessary to use the folded paper towel inside the bag across the full width above the fish. This as outlined in your tips and tricks sheet or ZeroPak hand book you received with your ZeroPak vacuum sealer or on our FAQS page under vacuum sealing liquids.
Always leave a 50mm wide ‘window’ of excess vacuum film between the fillets and the vacuum sealer. You can then see if any liquid is working its way up to the machine. It is a mistake to skimp on roll film and make the bags too small.
Make sure that you do not overfill the bag. Make the bag big enough to be able to spread the fillets out. There will be less compression and less liquid, also you will get a more even freeze and defrost.
It is always better to have a long skinny bag than a short wide bag when doing something with high liquid content, such as fish. It is easier to control the liquid.
Liquid On The Sealing Band:
If you do happen to get some liquid up into the sealing area it is best to run a second seal above the first seal. Even if the first seal looks good it can give way when frozen.
Vacuum Sealing Shellfish:
When vacuum sealing shellfish, use the manual mode, as described in your tips and tricks sheet or ZeroPak hand book that came with your ZeroPak vacuum sealer, to control the vacuum.
If you wish to achieve a full vacuum for maximum keeping time, place the bag of shellfish in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours before vacuum sealing or flash freeze them on a tray then vacuum seal. Now they are free flowed as well.
Vacuum Rolls And Bags:
ZeroPak roll film and pre made bags are manufactured to the highest standards giving quality and exceptional performance. It is a multi layer vacuum film is BPA free and fully tested for safety for storing, cooking, freezing and reusing.
The internal layer is food grade Polyethylene which gives it flexibility and toughness. This toughness is very important when you are vacuum sealing something such as fillets or smoked fish with the bone left in. Also when the bags are frozen in the freezer, they become very hard and they rub together.
Benefits Of Vacuum Sealing Fish:
Conservatively the lifespan for fresh fish in the freezer is around 12 to 18 months and smoked fish even longer. The taste after that time is as good as the day it went in and it does not go ‘mushy’.
You also save freezer space because of the flat shape of the bags and get a very even freeze and defrost.
Reusing Vacuum Bags For Bait And Fishing Gear:
Save the vacuum bags that the fillets have been in and use them for the bait. Pillies can roll around in an ice slurry without damage or contamination and they keep better and re freeze well if not used.
The used bags can also be washed and used for all manner of fishing gear.
Make up ice packs by filling bags with water and freezing them. They can be re frozen and re used many times.
You can custom make the ice pack to fit your chilly bin. To do this, fill the bag about 1/4 to 1/3 full, no more. This will allow you to lay the top of the bag over into the machine and close the lid, with one hand on the bag and one hand to close the lid one side at a time. DO NOT VACUUM WATER IT MOVES TOO FAST. Just seal the end of the bag, there may be some small air bubbles remaining but it will not matter.
Alternatively add already frozen ice to the bag, vacuum it then let it defrost. This way you can easily make bags of salt ice exactly the right size for your chilly bin.