Q. At the end of each summer when the harvest comes in, my family gets together and preserves food for the fall and winter. Sometimes we can food, but much of the time we make large batches of dishes and then freeze them in vacuum sealed bags. When we want to eat some of that frozen food, we defrost it, then cook it in the oven or on the stovetop. This year I would like to make some single-serving meals to freeze so that I can take them to work to eat for lunch. I have access to a microwave at work, so I’m wondering if I could microwave the contents of the vacuum sealed bag in the bag, rather than having to find a microwaveable plate. That way I could use a disposable dish and not have a mess to clean up after lunch. Can you microwave vacuum sealed bags?
A. That’s a great question, because the answer is both yes and no. It is not recommended to cook raw foods in vacuum sealed bags, however it is perfectly fine to reheat cooked foods in them. So if you are planning to freeze precooked meals in vacuum sealed bags and then reheat those meals in the microwave, you shouldn’t have any trouble. There are a few general guidelines to follow though in order to achieve the best results possible.
It’s preferable to take the bag out of the freezer the night before you plan to cook it and allow the contents to thaw in the refrigerator. When ready to reheat, start by placing the bag in a microwavable bowl, standing upright. Cut a corner off the bag to allow steam to escape during the cooking process. If you are reheating a food that is very oily, the oil could possible overheat, causing the sides of the bag to stick together. I recommend reheating those foods on low to avoid that problem.
Reheat other dishes on medium heat until heated all the way through. Allow the food to stand at room temperature for several minutes before consuming it to allow the heat to distribute evenly. This helps prevent a scorching hot middle and just lukewarm outer portions. Then, pour the food in a dish and enjoy! Refrigerate any unused portions of the dish promptly in a covered container. Consume leftovers within 48 hours for best results.