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Sunday, February 15, 2015

My Newest Weapon in the Kitchen - My FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer and 5 Things I Love About It

mine didn't come with the extra roll or the jar sealer but yours will


Oh Food Saver, sucker of the evil air that causes my food to get freezer burn and go stale, how do I love thee?

I have been coveting some sort of vacuum system for years but my fear of adding another large appliance to my teeny kitchen coupled with so many different systems on the market has meant that I just never actually commit to buying one. Instead, I convinced myself that my home made method of sucking air out of a tiny corner of unzipped ziplock bag with a straw was sufficient, even if it meant have to swallow tiny particles of cookie dust, soup and raw bacon fumes.

My current obsession with getting a sous vide immersion device has put the food vaccum system back on the front burner and lo and behold, the universe heard my whining and an email landed in my inbox asking me if I would be interested in trying out a Food Saver 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealing System.

Why, HELL YES! Yes I would love to try out a FoodSaver!


So, this model costs $219.99 and comes with:

1 11"x10" FoodSaver roll (closed on the sides so you can make custom sized bags)
5 1 quart FoodSaver bags
5 gallon sized FoodSaver zipper bags
1 FoodSaver Bottle Stopper
1 FoodSaver Lunch and Leftover Container
1 FoodSaver 11'x16" Expandable roll
1 FoodSaver Regular Jar Sealer




I spent the first day sucking the air out of everything that wasn't nailed down. The next day, I bought more of the vacuum zip lock bags so that I could store things like cookies and frozen berries without having to worry about freezer burn anymore. You put the food in the zip closure bag, you use the hand held vacuum over the indicated circle on the bag, you hit the accessories button, it sucks the air out and you put the bag in the freezer or the cupboard, depending on what you have put in the bag, of course.

video


Then, the next time you open the bag to remove something, you zip it shut and use the hand held vacuum to suck the air back out again. Stale food and freezer burn be gone! I will save at least $5 a month in discarded moldy cheddar alone.
Win #1
no more stale cookies, moldy cheese or flat red wine


The next day, we tried our hand at cutting a custom bag and marinating a chunk of flank steak in the bag. It is really easy to cut the plastic on the roll and it's also really easy to seal it up. You just insert the bag into the bottom slot and the machine will catch it, suck it in, seal it and when the seal is complete, spit it back out. Easy peasy.

When you are sealing up a big that is full of liquid, you have to be careful and just vacuum it until the liquid starts to creep up towards the open end of the bag. The instructions suggests that when freezing soups and stews and other saucy foods that you should freeze it until it's pretty solid in a container and then seal it up in a bag to avoid this problem.

To seal up a bag that contains liquid, like our marinated meat, you can use the Pulse Vac button to control the sucking - kind of like pulsing with a food processor. We left the meat in the fridge overnight and grilled it the next day for dinner and it worked like a charm but we still prefer to be able to marinate without making a bag. That meant buying the marinating container so I ordered one of those online. Since I was ordering that anyway, I addedMORE ziplock bags and the regular mason jar attachment (the jar sealer didn't come with mine so I bought one). As far as cutting custom bags off of the roll, it's really easy to do and a great way to freeze meat and seafood, baked goods etc
Win #2



I tried the mason jar attachment and the first of my jars sealed beautifully but the second didn't. I am going to assume that the second jar might have had a small chip in the rim or something because it was the only jar that wouldn't seal. The other two jars of soup sealed up easily so I froze my soup right in the jars. I also used it to seal up all of my dry goods that I have stored in glass mason jars.
with small reservations due to one jar refusing to seal.
Win #3

We used the bottle sealer on a half empty bottle of red wine and I will absolutely buy a couple more of those. I do have a wine sealer sucker thing that you pump but this is much easier to use.
Win #4

my miso ribs marinating just minutes before I threw them in the crock pot

The last thing we tried was the marinating container. Instead of marinating my ribs in the fridge overnight and taking up valuable real estate in there, I used the marinating container in the morning and then cooked them like I always do. It's a 2.25 quart container, so it's perfect for us but it might not be big enough for larger families. You could absolutely marinate your food in a couple of batches though because it's a quick process, taking minutes instead of hours. The machine will make noise while it does it's thing for 30 seconds and then it rests for a few minutes, you get the loud sucking noise for 30 seconds, then quiet for a few minutes for three cycles.
This one was a big win for me for a few reasons:

 $19.99 for this - it feels really sturdy and doubles as a storage container as well

I don't like to waste the plastic bags so if I am not storing or freezing something, I would much prefer to have a reusable container like this to cut down on waste.

It is so much cleaner than marinating in plastic bags. I just poured some marinade in the container, added my ribs, tossed the ribs around in the marinade, pouring more on top and after, I took the ribs out, scraped the excess back into the container and then washed the container out. When I try to do all of the out of a plastic bag, I get marinade everywhere.

video

The end result was the same as it is if I marinate the meat overnight so I don't have to remember to get everything together before I go to bed. I am getting old and I fall asleep people. I love that I can do it in the morning (if I am slow cooking) or as part of my dinner prep on the day.

click here to check out my first recipe using the quick marinator

Win#5

I love this thing so much that I have rearranged my tiny counter to make room for it so that I can leave it out for easy access and I have been using it at least once or twice a day.
the handheld vacuum comes apart so you can insert it into the various lid attachments as well as on the zip lock bags

It's easy to figure out, easy to use, I really like the handheld vacuum. The only con to it is that it is loud. When it's actively vacuuming, it makes a racket but it's short lived and worth it.

So, in conclusion, even though I was given this product for free in order to try it out and review it, I would absolutely buy one if I was forced to give it back and I happily ordered and paid for the extra accessories and bags. One of the claims the company makes is that this system will save you up to $2700 a year and at first I kind of smirked at that lofty claim but I actually think I believe it now. I am sold.

 For someone like me, who loves to cook in big batches and freeze small, one serving sized portions for The Kid's lunches and who, until now, avoids saving money by buying meat, etc in bulk because I am afraid the food will go off before I get around to using all of it, this is a godsend. I am actually almost embarrassed that I didn't already own one of these things.

Oh, oh, oh I almost forgot the coolest thing of all! If you are potato chip people, and we are potato chip people, you can seal up your half eaten chip bags if they are the classic, mylar type bags! Not only are we chip people, but SOMEONE in this house likes to leave half eaten bags of chips lying around with the mouths wide open so that by the time I find them in the morning, they are stale and need to be thrown out, but, not anymore.

Just don't vacuum your chips bags or you will crush up all of your chips!