Packaging Cold Smoked Cheese can sometime be difficult, but easy if you have the right equipment and/or money. But knowing about ZipLoc Bags and Water Displacement Methods can be of great benefit.
While a chambered vacuum sealer is the best way, they are several hundred dollars and overkill for many home kitchens. Many people turn to FoodSaver-type sealers, which can be convenient but they are expensive to buy bags for.
The Ziploc freezer bags are great for sealing your food and work almost as well as a FoodSaver sealer, that is if you know the trick to removing the air from them. It is called the "Water Displacement Method" or the Archimedes Principle. This trick here is to simply use the pressure from the water to force all the air out of the bag.
So getting all the air out of Ziploc bags is now easy. You just place your food in the bag, including any liquids or marinades, and seal all but one corner of the bag. Place it in a container of water, being sure everything below the zip-line is covered by water. As the water pushes down on the bag, air comes out and the result is a surprisingly effective imitation of a vacuum seal. You can see how all of the air is being forced out of the pouch as it descends deeper into the water. Once all of the air is out, then seal the rest of the bag.
Another thing I really like about using Ziploc bags is that they are easy to open and re-seal.
A slightly more advanced version of this is to use Ziploc specially made Ziploc Vacuum pump system. These vacuum bags are more durable and reusable than traditional Ziploc bags and have a valve built into them, but are about twice the price per bag. Instead of using water to force the air out, you can use a handheld Ziploc pump to suck air out of the bag through the valve. An important drawback of this method is any liquid could or can be drawn up into the Ziploc pump. Otherwise, you have to start with a new bag and a cleaned out pump. I found out the hard way, you can see this mistake in the watching the video from the link below. However, I did find the Ziploc Vacuuming System to have a tighter seal than the traditional Ziploc bag using water displacement. Please Note: If using oil along with the cheese, you just have to pay a little bit more attention when the oil is getting really close to the area where the Ziploc pump is located. I now just use a little less than 1/4 cup of olive oil in the bag itself, and coat the cheese separately and then add to the bag.
Here is what I now do for my cheese, whenever there is a chance of the cheese lasting longer than 1 week:
1. Coat the cheese in olive oil.
2. Into a Ziploc freezer bag, add a little less than 1/4 cup of olive oil, extra virgin, (the oil prevents the individual portions from sticking together and it helps to cut down on bacteria from attacking the cheese.
3. Add the oil coated cheese.
4. Then seal using either the Water Displacement Method or the ZipLoc Vacuum Pump method.
Note: The exact amount of oil to coat the cheese is not critical, it should be just enough to coat the portions and less than a 1/4 cup of oil in the bag before sealing. Over a long period of time, even the Ziploc freezer bags will allow trace amounts of air into the bag that can create some degradation in the flavor and possibly the development of food pathogens.
If having issues of the oil getting into the pump, stand the ZipLoc Freezer Bag upright against the counter splash area and pump from there. This helps keeps the oil at a lower level to start off, thus getting more air out and no oil in the pump. Good Luck and have fun.
By using any method helps in storing the cheese, so get started smoking and packaging your cheese.
To watch the demo for the ZipLoc Freezer Bags and Water Displacement Method go here on YouTube: (Updated the link to a new video)
Edited by PawPaw16 - 6/3/15 at 7:49am