eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltimaDork
5/21/24 5:45 p.m.

Now that I am cooking a ton more, I'd like to to be able to buy meats and freeze some of them for later.  It's just myself and my wife, so usually I try to cook everything in a package, and plan leftovers over the next few days around what is cooked, but that can get old.  It'd be nice to just cook up the portions I want, and freeze what's left, without ending up with freezer burn.  I used to have some sort of hand pumped sealer, I think sold by Glad years ago, but it was discontinued, and the bags were proprietary.  Is there anything inexpensive like that on the market today?  Or is there a better solution?  I'm pretty much starting from zero knowledge on this one.

EvanB
EvanB GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/21/24 6:42 p.m.

I just go to the thrift store and buy one for  $5-10 when I need to. My last one lasted for 6 years until the vacuum pump quit, it took checking the thrift store for a couple weeks but got another one for $5 and it's working fine.

Just the basic vac and seal, no attachments or anything. I would like one of the fancier models but don't see enough benefit to shell out the extra money.

wae
wae UltimaDork
5/21/24 6:52 p.m.

We've had a couple...  The Foodsaver brand one was okay, but it has a drip tray sensor that likes to go bad and it requires way more "margin" between the edge of the bag and where it will seal than I'd like.  Plus it was always going into a cool down mode, which slowed down my mass meat packaging (giggity).

Deb found one on bidfta with the brand name of nutrichef and I like it more.  Instead of pushing the bag into a cavity, you open it up clamshell-style, place the bag, then close it and seal.

Another option is to use a zip top bag, put the food in, submerge it right to the edge of the top, and then zip it shut.  I only do that when I'm going to sous vide and am out of vac bag material, though.

Speaking of which...  If you take your meat - let's say two chicken thighs for example - and season it up, then vacuum seal it and freeze it you've got an almost zero work meal later.  Get a sous vide cooker and something that can hold enough water.  Then anytime during the day you fill the sous vide, get it to temp, drop the seasoned, frozen meat package (giddity) in there and just walk away.  Chicken takes about 2.5-3 hours from frozen and will last for 5 hours before the texture gets weird.  You can start it when it's convenient for you and you won't overcook it.  I also will take various sides and bag individual and family portions to freeze and I can put them in there as well.  Frozen meals, but they're good for you and they don't taste like ass.

procainestart
procainestart SuperDork
5/21/24 8:01 p.m.

FWIW, knife-maker Zwilling makes a system (Fresh & Save), which my wife has and really likes, that includes vacuum bags and either plastic or glass containers; it can also do wine bottles. No, it's not cheap; yes, it's proprietary (hence, FWIW).

 

Couple things we learned: the glass containers are better than plastic, which can apparently deform. It's nice to be able to put a bunch of leftovers into a container, vacuum, done. As long as the bags aren't super-gross, we'll clean and re-use them. They have a QR code system + an app, if you're into that kind of thing. (I'm sure they're selling your data to anyone who wants it.) My biggest disappointment: putting fruit in a vacuum doesn't keep it from ripening, and it does so in a bad way -- ripe-looking bananas and strawberries tasted like E36 M3.

RevRico
RevRico GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/21/24 8:23 p.m.

I have two. 

One is the big food saver brand one from Sam's club with the accessory port. It's currently 9 years old. About 5 years in it started missing a spot on the heat sealer, and the pump occasionally stops halfway.

For the wedding in 21, we got a Potane brand. No frills. It's quieter and faster than the food saver brand, smaller and easier to store as well. 

I buy bags from Amazon because they're dirt cheap. 11" wide expandable and not expandable, come on 25 foot rolls, 2 to a box, for $20.

 

As for use, I use it all the time. Just broke down 10lbs f ground meat into 1lb packs the other day for the freezer. Any meat we buy really as we've only been shopping once a month lately. Bulk meats from Sam's club or cost co, frozen fruit into smoothy sized packs, speed seasoning meat is another good option a lot of people skip over. Pies, baked goods with crush protection, anything that is going on the freezer, it really really extends lifetime in the freezer. 

I wouldn't recommend freezing salted meat, but if your seasoning isn't very salt heavy, give it a try. 

Sous vide is another frequent use. Hell I've brined hams in food saver bags. I actually like to use it when packing for vacation. I've actually taken it with me on vacation. Clothes shrink down to nothing when you suck the air out, leaves lots of room for extra stuff or for flying without a checked bag. 

I don't use the accessory port very often. I have the things for Mason jar lids and rarely use it, I've used the ziplock style bags in the past but don't like them. I do want to get the marinade containers, but they're kinda pricey, they also seem the most useful accessory.

914Driver
914Driver MegaDork
5/22/24 7:09 a.m.

I didn't do a lot of homework before buying a Nesco VS-12. but I've used some.  Less expensive ones you have to hold the lid down while it seals and only pre-sized bags are available.  

Late Summer-early Fall, I make a rain barrel of spaghetti sauce and assorted soups and freeze it for those cold snowy nights when you don't feel like cooking.  This sealer's bags come in two widths, you seal one end, cut it to the length with the internal cutter, fill it up and suck all the air out and seal or do a lighter pull for something marinated or juicy.

What I like is you can seal the bottom of a bag while you're busy filling the one you just made, things move faster.

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/24 7:53 p.m.

I had a food saver brand that lasted 12 years.  It finally died, so I bought another food saver.  I like it.  No complaints.

I suggest getting the rolls of bags.  The pre-sized bags tend to end up being a lot of waste.  You'll likely find all kinds of uses for it.  I vacuum-bagged a childhood toy I wanted to preserve for my great-nephews, and I've also used the little hose attachment to vacuum some epoxy to get the bubbles out.

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