Vacuum food storage devices

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by 65284, Nov 23, 2004.

  1. 65284

    65284 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Has any one here use one of the vacuum foodsaver devices? They sound great in the infomercials. But do they realy work well, they certainly are not cheap, and what about the price of the special bags? When everything is factored in are they worthwhile? Talia seems to be the "name" brand, any others worth considering?
     
  2. GREEN_ALIEN

    GREEN_ALIEN Sunny, Wet, Tornadoey SD!

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    DW uses a FOODSAVER VAC1075 and just loves it. We picked it up at Costco for 80 bucks or so and it has more than payed for itself. The bags for it cost about 40 a box and they seem to last quite well, we are still on the first box and it gets used pretty much daily. Cut you bags long so you can take a bit of frozen food out then reseal. Some people do wash the bags well and reuse them.
     

  3. ckncrazy

    ckncrazy Well-Known Member

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    I use mine for garden pickings and venison. it saves me a ton in deer processing costs.
     
  4. Irish Pixie

    Irish Pixie Well-Known Member

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    We have a FoodSaver 750 and love it. I use it a lot of garden produce, bulk purchased meat...just about everything.

    Well worth the money.

    Stacy in NY
     
  5. anniew

    anniew keep it simple and honest Supporter

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    I use freezer zip-locks and a straw and suck real hard...almost
    as good as an expensive device.
    Ann
     
  6. I agree with anneiw although I wouldn't suck on a straw. I stick my meat in a freezer bag (no ziplock type) and then roll the meat up real tight. This squeazzes the air out. I then place the bag on a sheet of freezer paper and roll it up tight, fold the ends, and tape shut. Much, much cheaper than any vacuum device and works just as great. I've had deer and pork wrapped up for 2 years and have never had any problems with freezer burn.

    To save even more money you might try buying that Reynolds plastic film for rolling your meat in. Also, see if your local grocer can order you a 1100 ft. roll of freezer paper. It only cost about $30 which is a big savings compared to buying the same amount in the little boxes on the grocer shelf.
     
  7. poppy

    poppy Guest

    I agree. The Amish place we get our beef from wraps it in plastic wrap and then in butcher paper. We have used it well over a year old with no problems.
     
  8. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    I use a Black & Decker FreshGuard VS200. Bought it from Wal-Mart, and it works with most brands of bags. I love it, no more freezer burn, and the lower priced other branded bags work just great. We usually divide everything we buy in bulk into smaller portion sizes so we don't have to open and reseal.

    Bob
     
  9. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I love mine. I no longer throw away packages of unidentifiable frozen food. The bags aren't cheap, but I think it's well worth the cost.
     
  10. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I must resist the temptation to be bad.....must resist...must resist. There I'm okay.

    We have a Food Saver and love it. We used to do the straw thing, but the machine gets out way more air. When we first use a bag we cut it a little big and then wash and reuse it several times, only throwing it away when it becomes too small for practical use. It is much quicker than double wrapping in plastic and butcher paper and the cost of doing that has got to approach the cost of foodsaver bags.

    The machine has proved quite durable also, we got ours about five years ago. Not only has it done the yearly garden produce, deer, and fish. It also made a trip with me to Alaska three years ago and was used to vac-seal about 500lbs of halibut filets. We're still eating that fish and it tastes as great as fresh.
     
  11. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    LOL.

    I'm going to be another voice against these thing. Maybe it is that I was trying to freeze the wrong things, but we tried fruit, meat, and tomatoes. The fruit was crushed beyond recognition (blueberries). The meat required that we put a piece of paper towelling in there to absorb the juices... this struck me as seriously unsantitary. I am not the sort of person who buys sterile paper towells! I store towells under the sink. I have mice under the sink. And they want me to tuck a...

    GROSS.

    And the tomatoes had to be pre-frozen before being frozen in the vacuum bags. In fact, they recommended "pre-freezing" a lot of stuff.

    Anyhow, we gave it the old college try and then I packed it back up and took it back to Costco. About a week later, a friend of ours who was equally frustrated with the thing gifted hers upon us because she knew we had a large garden and might be able to use it.

    I in turn palmed it off on someone else... who also ended up not using it!

    I think they're more trouble than they're worth. We use ziplocks, plastic storage containers, plastic wrap, and freezer paper. All of which are cheaper and easier than the vacuum system.

    But if you get one, buy it from some place that will let you return it, no questions asked, in case it doesn't perform the way you expected. We had about $110 into the thing at Costco, never openned the box of extra bags, but obviously had openned and tried the machine. But they took it back with no problem after we outlined our complaints. And, I might add... stopped demonstrating the thing at our local Costco. The demonstration made it look quick and slick and probably sold a lot of units, which were, like ours, returned when they didn't perform like that under real world conditions.
     
  12. LisaBug

    LisaBug Well-Known Member

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    There's alot of things I freeze before sealing and to me it's worth it. I did twice baked potatoes one year without freezing, ended up with a solid mass of taters. Usually I freeze meat at least partially before sealing and don't end up with meat juices coming up the bag. Strawberries get frozen this way and some sausage. Ziplocks seem to leak at thawing where the vacuum sealer bags don't. Makes life alot nicer for me! One of our favorite things to do is porketta season a venison roast, seal it up, let it sit in the fridge a couple days and freeze. It's amazing how the flavor goes right through the roast and it's all ready to toss in the oven.

    When we write the contents on the bags we do it on the part you'll cut off to open them. That way I don't have to figure out which it is, breakfast sausage or Italian or whatever.

    All the bags are washed and reused mutiple times. This year I bought one roll of the smaller size and should get one of the larger size.

    LisaBug
     
  13. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Guest

    I have a Tilia FoodSaver 750 and would have gotten a Pro if we'd had the money at the time. It's greatest use to me is with the jar sealing adapters. A large part of the family food storage is kept in vacuum sealed jars. The jars and the lids are reusable indefinitely if you take care not to damage them in use.

    The bag sealer is handy as well. When the local supermarkets put meat on their loss-leader sales we buy big, break it down into smaller portions and vacuum seal it in the bags. Bought the meat grinder attachment for my Bosch mixer and we now grind our own hamburger from the loss-leader roasts we buy. Two year old vacuum sealed roasts come out of the freezer and cook up just as nicely as fresh meat does.

    .....Alan.
     
  14. Caleob K.

    Caleob K. Member

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    My folks bought the Black and Decker from Wal-Mart. They just loved it, but 3 months of use and the sealer broke. The vacuum portion still works but the bag won't heat seal (the heating filiment is burnt out)

    Everything breaks, thats a givin. For me the test will be - does the company supply spare parts, and is the device even repairable. I hate disposable machines, and refuse to buy something that CANT be repaired.

    Anyway, while it worked it was amazing.
     
  15. edjewcollins

    edjewcollins Well-Known Member

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    Those foodsavers must have come a long way in the last 8 years! I have one, don't know the model cause at the time there was only 1 model! The thing is crap. Bought it primarily for wild game and had to send it back within a year for repairs. The heat sealer works but the suction well sucks! They show these commercials where it will crush beer cans and mine barely gets the air out. I wanted to use it to tenderized meat and it doesn't have enough vacuum. Also, the jar adaptors don't work.

    Ed
     
  16. BobBoyce

    BobBoyce Well-Known Member

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    For blueberries or other crushables, I prefreeze first, works like a charm.

    As far as breaking, any appliance that gets used is liable to break or malfunction eventually, especially from wear and tear.

    I worked for a few months at an appliance repair shop for a friend when he got backed up and needed help. Many would be suprised at the number of small appliances (mostly coffee makers) that would come through the door, just because of the lack of periodic cleaning or maintenance.

    Almost all manufacturers are extremely helpful in obtaining replacement parts, and a good dose of common sense can go a long way to helping someone replace defective or broken parts.

    For some though, common sense seems to be lacking, and those would be better off buying new replacements, or taking their appliances to a repair shop.

    If I can't repair something cost effectively, I'll scrap it for parts to make something worthwhile. DW gets upset with me all the time for dragging home all sorts of stuff from the community dumpsters. I strip what is useful and the leftovers go back to the dumpsters next trip.

    She doesn't gripe however when we need a power cord or some other odd part and I can dig one up in a few minutes, or fabricate a working replacement from scrounged parts, instead of having to make a special trip to town, or place an order.

    Bob
     
  17. edjewcollins

    edjewcollins Well-Known Member

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    BobBoyce I couldn't agree more about mantainance, but when some thing breaks after 3 uses it's just crap! I am very mechanically inclined and only give up on something if it isn't worth fixing. All that is irrelavent when a product is made badly in the first place :( I used the foodsaver 3 times and it broke. They did fix it and sent it back, but after I got it back suction was very poor. At some point you give up.

    Ed
     
  18. Quiver0f10

    Quiver0f10 Well-Known Member

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    My best friend just gave me one of these and I haven't used it on frozen food yet. But I buy my grains in bulk . So I emptied two 50 pound bags of flour and oats and sealed them all up. Didn't take that long and now I don't have to worry @ bugs or spills while we use up a smaller, open bag.
     
  19. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

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    I love mine! The bags are expensive, though, about $10 per roll, so I only use it for foods going into 'long-term storage'. If I know I'll be using something within the month, it goes in zip-locks. I'll re-use bags, but I think it costs too much to do the "open and re-seal" bit, to take just a little out of a bag. Fragile things like blueberries or raspberries would certainly be crushed if not pre-frozen. My model (I'd go see what kind it is, but I've made enough noise at 3:00 in the morning.) suggested paper towels over sharp bone ends to protect from punctures. I pretty much de-bone everything to save freezer space anyway, so that's not a problem.

    Aside from food,...it's great for other things. When Amy left for Africa, almost half her stuff was vacuum sealed...to compress it. She had to carry everything she took, and you can carry more weight if it's compact...so we compacted it! :D Hubby seals a lot of his stuff, too, when he's going where ever the Army sends him. He's always assured of dry socks!

    I'm not much of a kitchen gadget person, but I really like this one!
     
  20. MikeD

    MikeD Well-Known Member

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    Not that they aren't useful - as I've personally killed 3 FoodSavers to date - but for the money that you're spending on these "retail" units combined with the cost of bagging material you might want to look into small "commercial" units. Cost of the unit itself may be a bit high but you are not limited to using a specific brand of bagging material and can shop for the best prices and/or buy them in bulk.