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Vacuum-infusion for the home cook

June 2nd, 2009 · 16 Comments · vacuum infusion

Posted by Mindy Lvoff

Let’s say, like most of us here, you want to vacuum-infuse at home but don’t have a full vacuum. Dave and team have come up with two solutions for you:

1) Syringe-vacuum

removing air from cucumber

removing air from cucumber

Get yourself a 50cc syringe with a cap vs. needle. Place what you want to infuse into the chamber with the liquid that you want to infuse into it. In our case, we played with our classic gin martini-infused cucumber, using a cucumber small slice vs. our usual planks. The total amount should not go above the 10cc mark – you will need that 40cc of space to pump out the air. Insert the plunger and invert your syringe, pressing the plunger up until you have removed all of the air. Try not to squirt out all of the liquid. At this point, cap the syringe. Turn it over again so that martini and cucumber are at the bottom.


At this point, there is no air in the chamber except for what’s trapped inside the porous cucumber. Pull the plunger back – the air from the cucumber will be extracted and you can see it bubbling out up through the martini mixture. Allow the plunger to return to its original position – you will notice that the air you extracted from the cucumber is creating a gap between the liquid and the plunger. Repeat. At this point, you can invert the syringe, remove the cap, and expel the trapped air. Return the cap and then invert, pull the plunger and then instead of letting it snap back, pull it out of the syringe. You can watch as the liquid is forced into the cucumber by the returning air pressure, thereby creating a translucent, delicious martini-cucumber.


2) Vacu Vin Wine Saver

The pumping action of the syringe-vacuum gave us another idea: use a Vacu Vin Wine Saver, the pump & rubber stopper system that allows you to enjoy your wine over the course of a few days. Believe it or not, we actually don’t finish a full bottle of wine every time. Again, we used our martini-cucumber.

Dice cucumber small enough to easily fit through the opening and neck of a wine bottle, preferably a light-colored bottle so you can see through it. Pour in enough martini to more than cover the cucumber dices. Place Vacu Vin stopper in bottle and then proceed in pulling out air. Once you’ve achieved a solid vacuum, pull out the stopper, thereby allowing air back into the bottle and infusing your cucumbers.

Vacu Vin makes a number of vacuum-products using the same vacuum pump, but on larger containers. We haven’t had a chance to try yet, but will be doing so in the near future. Hopefully it will be feasible to make larger, martini-infused cucumber planks at home.

Martini infused cucumber dices made with a Vacu Vin.


16 Comments so far ↓

  • Roberto N.

    I have a foodsaver, but I don’t know how effective it is when using the canisters, specially since our machine seems to be “tired”. I could try it with the one I got at home… Or with the wine vacuum pump we got in the dining room… Interesting!

    • Dave A

      I haven’t had luck with the foodsaver (quite the opposite). To be frank, I’m surprised the wine saver worked. I told the guys I didn’t think it would. Wrong again!

      • Patricio Wise

        Was this with the foodsaver using the vacuum marinating canisters you connect to it with a little hose? I for one would think (and was thinking of buying one canister to try it with mine) an effect similar to that of a chamber vacuumpacker would be achieved…

        • Dave A

          Yeah, I’ve tried it but haven’t had any luck. To be honest, however, I only tried it a couple of times with the canister.

  • Joe MacBu

    The Vacu Vin can be used on jars as well, with a few modifications. I just tried this out for verification, so I know it works. Take a canning jar. Punch a small hole through the center of the lid using a corkscrew (make sure the hole is punched from the top of the lid). Cut a small piece of plastic food warp that’s wider than the lid hole, but narrower than the Vacu Vin rubber stopper hole. Make sure the plastic strip is long enough that it will be held down by the rubber stopper (or tape down 2 ends). Cover the lid hole with the plastic. Put the rubber stopper over the plastic and attach the Vacu Vin plunger to the stopper as normal. Press down to make a good seal between the stopper and the lid. Moistening the stopper might help and you might also have to cut off ~1cm of the stopper. Pump away! They used to sell something using this concept on TV a few years ago.

    I tried using a smaller FoodSaver with a mason jar attachment. It did not work as well as the Vacu Vin method. w00t!


  • cookiejesus

    Re: Patricio.
    The pull of the foodsaver is in no means close to the one of the chamber machine. But the investment required for the chamber machine is considerably larger.

    • Patricio Wise

      Yeah, this I know… 200 vs 2000 at the least haha…
      I was just wondering if it might be similar to the one of the VacuVin or the “hand cranked” syringe…

  • jk

    I tried it with the syringe and works great. I used Hendricks Gin, little bit of Sea Salt on top.

    Did anyone try the Vacu Vac containers yet?

  • Erik

    In the walnut iol post you write that you use a rotavap. So, it should be perfectly possible to use any aspirator vacuum pump doing this. Then, it’s possible to use such things as dissicators, round-bottomed flasks etc. for increasing the volume (and size) of the infused stuff. Simple and efficient, I’d expect

  • DoctorJay

    I have a Vacu Vin and it looks like it fits on a beer bottle. I’ll try this out. Sounds awesome.

  • galin

    Those cucumbers are COOL.I tried with some cucumber ball-shaped pieces and infused them in Noily Prat extra dry and pinch of salt using Vacu Vin. Couldn’t infuse them quite as good as those on your picture although I repeated the procedure few times but none the less pleasing result. Guess how my Hendricks Gin Martinis are garnished now.
    Great work on your part guys. Thank you!

  • Harvard SEAS lecture, 10/3/11, Grant Achatz and Craig Schoettler « Awesomesauce Eats

    [...] add:  Dave Arnold made a blog post about at home vacuum infusions.  I thought you might like it. Share this:EmailPrintTwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this [...]

  • foodsaver2240

    I repeated the procedure few times however none the less pleasing result. Guess how my Hendricks Gin Martinis are garnished now.Great work on your half guys. Thank you!Couldn’t infuse them quite as good as those on your picture although