View Full Version : Food Vacuum Sealers?
03-07-2009, 10:49 PM
Anyone use vacuum sealers to store food?
I know there are a few brands out there, I'm not familiar with any of the brands, any advantages/disadvantages of any of them other than the advertisements I've seen.
We tend to dehydrate some of our garden produce and store it in freezer bags, but I'm thinking it might be more convenient to vacuum pack them in mason jars in smaller amounts?
Other things (cauliflower, green beans) would be best packed fresh in vacuum bags and then frozen.
So any advice on these machine? Brand recommendations?
03-08-2009, 04:23 AM
Yes they are very good, food lasts a very long time and keeps much fresher, especially frozen . As for brand can't help other than we have a Sunbeam which has served our purpose very well.
03-08-2009, 09:42 AM
Good thread Bob. The wife and I have been discussing purchasing one. It seems a shame to not take advantage of specials and such just because it's only the two of us and bulk wouldn't make sense if you can't keep it. I have yet to do detailed math but it seems the cost of the bags is up there and is the only thing that makes me unsure of any real cost savings. I am also of the mind that you don't need some expensive, fancy schmancie unit to do what you really need to do. You can get one at Wally World for about $40. I also wonder if the bags are reusable. It would almost seem that the best use would be to portion out in realsitic quantities, then seal them.
03-08-2009, 10:46 AM
The bags are reusable, Cowboy. We have one, but I forget the brand. When I buy a can of coffee, I fill my cannister and have over half a can left. I seal the rest in bags to be opened later on. Coffee still has that aroma of a freshly opened can.
I've frozen fresh caught fish in them. Put the fillets in, add enough water to cover the fish, seal and freeze. No freezer burn that way.
Leftovers seal and store well, too. We haven't put the jar attachments to work yet, but, we really should.
03-08-2009, 11:27 AM
Doing a bit of research I've found that there are a couple basic types, but all of them do the same thing. As for cost, that can run from $40/50 on the low end to over $1000 for a small commercial unit.
There are FEATURES that may make some of the units better than others, but without experience in using these things its hard to tell what features a gimmicks and what features are real benefits. It seems like there is a breakthrough with features that comes in the $200 price range.
The biggest feature that I see with the roughly $200+ units is the pump. That, to my mind, is the heart of these things. Put in a better, longer lasting pump and the thing should have a longer working lifespan, remove more air, be quieter, and do its job faster. All of those are desirable features.
03-08-2009, 12:05 PM
I had one but ran out of the bags for it and couldn't find anymore for that brand. That would be my biggest concern is that you buy one and can't find the consumables for it in a couple of years. Something to consider.
03-08-2009, 02:03 PM
Well, we have a Rival from WalMart. Seems to work great. I do buy family packs of meat then I separate them out into one's or two's. There are 2 things that I would like to have on my next vaccum sealer. 1. When you put the bag in between and you hook the one end to the part that takes the air out, I would like something that catches and hold the bag better. 2. When you get your bag all situated and shut the top and lock it, the bag slips out of the vaccum part. You have to be quick on the draw to keep it situated just right. Other than that. I really like ours. And by the way you can buy any vaccum sealer bag, I think anyway, and it should work in any vaccum sealer.
03-09-2009, 08:07 AM
Hey Bob I forgot to tell you one of the best uses for a Vacuum seal, promise not to tell your wife though.
When you have paint jobs on don't wash your brushes out between coats, just throw them in a vac bag and seal, then put them in the fridge. No odour or mess in the missus fridge.:thumb:
03-09-2009, 03:46 PM
Never that of that one Vin! I've used ziplocks with a bit of thinner or water for latex overnight, but that probably gives a really nice life span!
As to the bags, for the most part there are only two types of bags regardless of brand of machine or bag. Quality may vary slightly if you can find various brands of bags, and the optimal size available may vary, but else brand shouldn't be an issue [I think a patent infringement made several brands of "patterned" bags disappear several years ago].
On that note: pretty much everything at the bigboxstores will take a patterned (lines, swirls [I have some swirley ones, but haven't seen them in a while], whatever) bag so it has "channels" built into the bag for the air to escape (a flat bag in such a machine will seal itself off from the vacuum). It's been well over a year since we've bought any, but these were probably 5 times the price of flat bags [likely a combination of complexity, volume sold, and monopoly or royalties]. They can be reused, but I find it a pain to remember cutting a straight end, and moreso washing them.
We have a Vacmaster SVP-5 in this style; same pump as their smallest chamber Vac - great unit though it has all the positives [less space than a chamber and you can use bags cut from a roll and make them 10ft long if you like] and negatives of it's type [you can't do liquids or powders very well, expensive bags, etc.]. It will run circles around the BIL's box store one in both time & seal quality [I won't deny an occasional failure to though, but ussually a ripple in the bag or erractic rhythm and forgetting to adjust for it over/under melting the bag] as well as vacuum (I checked it's gage against a numbered one using the jar port and it actually was up around the 28"Hg); the timer is adjustable, but should really be "vacuum triggered" or better yet IMHO adjustable timer after an ajustable vacuum trigger - not an issue as long as running similar items and bags ect; same with the seal timer, does require backing off a bit after getting in a rythem. Probably will last us a lifetime (really sporatic use; i.e. a great meat sale a few times a year; deer season: total less than once a month, but ran pretty hard for short periods); however the BIL's hasn't died yet either - about the same use. I don't think Vacmaster even makes the SVP-5 anymore though, as it was sizeable enough fraction of chamber vac's price [good ebay deal refurbished made it attractive to us several years ago], the bags probably pay for the difference in the first year of hard use. They now have a "150", "130" or something like that; it looks like the box store ones, but I've no idea of it's quality.
Then there are the TV, ebay, and a few commercial, with a snorkel. I have a cheapo ebay [box even noted "as seen on TV" :yum: ] one, that I couldn't resist trying. The guts are cheap, cheap, cheap, but hasn't died yet; not great but enough vacuum, double seal works but again not a nice as the Vacmaster's single seal. However, it is an art to make it work right: getting an object in the right spot to keep the bag from collapsing into the snorkel etc. It is, however, small, and uses flat bags; it actually will reseal a bag of cereal, but the heat duration is really touchy there. I use it occasionally, but usually wish I'd dug up the other one.
Finally, are the chamber machines; I haven't used one since feeding a roomsized octopus looking thing at a meat packing plant, but spending Bob's money [over even my own again, if I didn't have the other ones, and I found a deal like I did when I bought the Vacmaster], that's the direction I'd go. Not exactly a space saving [table top here, not the octopus I noted], but with the price of the bags no longer worth considering [vs. having one that required patterned bags], you can use it entirely at your convienience, and no worries about getting liquids, etc back into the pump either (many of the other ones have a sponge under the bag opening or inline etc which will protect against a little blood leeching from meat, etc, but still not exactly a perfect solution).
03-09-2009, 09:17 PM
Bought a FoodSaver at BestBuy with my reward bucks. I buy the bags in rolls on ebay. The roll is a continuous roll - you make whatever length you want. If you know that what is in your bag will be bagged again, just make the first bag a litlle longer than you need, and reuse it.
Sellers also have various widths.
The continuous bag is cheaper than the Cryovac bags we use at the factory, on one of those "roomsized octopus looking thing " - a Cryovac 8600 machine.
03-10-2009, 01:47 AM
Cryovac was the creature! No idea which model though; probably a poor tangent on my part anyway considering the thread is on table top machines, but I coundn't resist painting the picture.
Those Cryovac bags must be nasty priced! I suppose oxygen barrier or something? I don't recall [again haven't bought any in a while] less than several times the price of plain bags for patterned ones: a quick websearch and a bit of math puts a pint size made from a roll of mesh bag [I've used these before too, work fine and - I believe still - cost less than FS brand patterned ones] at 20cents; same site had plain pint bags [for use in chamber and some snorkel machines] at 5 or 6 cents; I thought they had some lined pint size available for 14cents too - cheaper than the roll or any patterned bag I've seen. There may be thickness differences etc too though I didn't check.
03-10-2009, 03:16 PM
About 16 cents each, and buy them by the thousands. The ones we buy have a barrier, but also have a special layer or two in them for helping shrink the plastic when going through a shrink tunnel
With the rolls, you can make any size you want. So in the long run, cheaper. Plus, there's a few sellers occasionally selling dirt cheap.
03-14-2009, 09:29 AM
i just use ziploc
03-14-2009, 09:35 AM
i just use ziploc
Hi tekkiegurl, welcome to the Forums.
As for Ziplock, so do we. But yesterday I purchased a "FOODSAVER" vacuum sealer at Costco. Supposed to keep food fresher 5 times longer. Supposed to eliminate freezer burn. We tend to grow a large garden, store a lot of produce in the freezer and freezer burn becomes an issue. So it seems like it might be a good thing to try.
One added bonus, it comes with a meat marinador. We eat a lot of home marinaded meats and the vacuum process is supposed to pull the flavor into the meat so it will be interesting to see how well that works.
03-14-2009, 05:31 PM
A freind occasionally brings us a parts of a cheese wheel. Regular ziplocs will not keep them free of mold growth. The vac bags keep the cheese fresh and mold-free.
03-14-2009, 08:56 PM
Well if nothing else, we have a fun toy in the kitchen, at least that is what my daughter thinks. She vacuum packed a single blackberry. The vacuum pressure pretty much crushed it and turned it into blackberry juice. Then she vacuum packed an egg (in the shell). That worked better, but I don't know why she did it. I noticed some pizza slices that were vacuum packed in the fridge.
I'm hoping the novelty wears off soon?
DOES ANYONE USE THE JAR ADAPTER to vacuum seal jars? I'm thinking that some of the dehydrated tomatoes and other veggies we make would store very well in mason jars that are vacuum sealed.
03-16-2009, 06:52 PM
I'm hoping the novelty wears off soon?
It took me months [off and on, in my defense] before it wore off; however, I'm at least a couple times her age, so no idea!
Congrats on narrowing it down and getting one; hope it treats you well! :thumb:
Never have tried the jar adaptors.... at least on a jar, or for anything food preservation purpose. Let us know how it works!
04-10-2009, 02:15 PM
Recalled Bob wondering when his daughter would quit vaccing weird things after I sealed this oil filter. Just needed the o-ring, and didn't have a use for the filter yet - so it was legit, but still odd. I vac'ed it pretty weak, not wanting to crush anything.
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