Friday, December 16, 2016

Paradise ponders, vacuum soup edition...

Paradise ponders, vacuum soup edition...  Debbie and I are both feeling a bit under the weather.  Debbie seems to be on the improving side of the thing, I'm still going downhill, dang it.  Chicken noodle soup sounded good to both of us, so I ran to the store for the ingredients and then we both got to work.  I made the noodles from scratch, and once again we were both wondering why we ever did anything else.  Homemade noodles are so good, and they're easy as can be.  Debbie made the rest of it, roasting chicken thighs for the meat (which we never cook in the soup; it tastes so much better to use roast meat), and chopping lots of veggies.  We ended up with about six quarts of soup, and of course we only ate a small fraction of it yesterday.

I've mentioned our vacuum sealer in an earlier post.  Here's an example of it in action, making freezer bags for the leftover chicken noodle soup. Taking the photos left-to-right and top-to-bottom:
  1. Filling a bag, using a bag stand designed for the three common sizes of sealable bags.  Not shown: a canning funnel, which sits on top of the bag's opening and lets us easily fill the bag without slopping soup all over the place.
  2. A filled bag laying in the vacuum sealer, prior to sealing it.  The chamber slopes down toward the back, so the liquid all flows down there.  The heating bar is on the near side of the photo, and the bag's opening is flat against it.
  3. The vacuum sealer's control panel while it's working.  I snapped this partway through the vacuum process, which had 16 seconds to go.  The vacuum gauge on the left is already in the green area, meaning the vacuum is good enough for sealing.  At this point the soup was gently boiling, even though it was at room temperature.  The boiling point of water is proportional to the atmospheric pressure, so as the chamber's pressure declines the boiling point may be passed.  If you want to bag something where the turbulence of boiling is undesirable, best to chill it or even freeze it before bagging.
  4. The sealed bag when the vacuum sealer has finished it's work and the lid popped open.  If you look closely you can see the melted seal on the heating bar, on the near side of the photo.
  5. A sealed bag, labeled with contents and the date of sealing.
  6. Some yummy future meals!

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