We use one every year for deer season. It holds the meat very well through the year. I also use it when I butcher rabbits, but I have a tough time if I keep them whole. It has a tough time sucking all the air out of the cavity of the rabbit, so I try not to do too many whole ones and I use those first.
Vacuum-packed food will keep for two years in the freezer. It will eliminate any freezer burning, odors, and truly keep the food as fresh as the day it was packed. I've gone through 3 of them in 3 years with my small business. The Foodsaver was one I started with and had on hand when I started vacuum-sealing. It is okay for light work but has no fan and will over heat with too much packing. The biggest drawback is that the bags are very expensive, so imo, it isn't a great appliance in the home kitchen.
The second one made use of less expensive bags but had to be turned on and off after every use (not good when one seals 50 at a time). See "the Snorkel" at dougcare.com
My current one is a commercial model but not sure that the price tag will meet with most people's idea for an ocassional kitchen appliance.
There are many different models on e-bay for kitchen use. Check the cost of bags, availability of repair parts (even fuses), and how much they will seal before overheating. IMO, they are great machines. I'm lucky to have a commercial model that seals all the meat we process at home for our own use. It is an integral part of our home processing. Anything that will be in the freezer for more than two months is vacuum-packed.
If you're doing a lot of this sort of thing, spend more and buy the better quality ones. The cheaper ones just don't hold up over time. We have a Foodsaver Professional II. One button operation, works great. We seal coffee beans in the clear canisters after opening a new bag as well.
Can anyone vouch for less expensive bags? If so, what brands? My father-in-law gave us a foodsaver for Christmas in 2002. We've only used it maybe 10 times. Sealing up a meatloaf, for example, results in some of the juice being sucked out the top of the bag, as well as the air. I've had 2 bags with air in them when I got them out of the freezer. Really ticked me off.. and one of them was double sealed... after the first one, I started melting a second seal closer to the edge to try to back up the first - but still there was air in it. They were the name brand bags that he gave us with the foodsaver.
I used to buy meat that was vaccuum packed and it was good for a long long time. Never opened a package that was freezer burned.
The bags are pricey, though.... there are just two of us, and it would be great to make up food in advance and seal it into packages for 2, or divide meat up into packages for two.
I love mine, use it almost every day. I tried some cheaper bags--I think they were Black & Decker & they were trash! I save & reuse all I can, except ones that had meat or something greasey in them. The jar sealer is really useful for storing stuff in the refrigerator. I keep dry beans, rice, popcorn, etc. in half gallon jars & seal them--really works good.
If something is very juicy, you will have juice sucking out, especially when people cut the bags just a tad too short in an effort to save money. One way around this is to freeze first, then vacuum seal. Berries, for example, especially fragile ones like raspberries need to be quick-frozen by putting them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Then measure into portions, vacuum seal, and put back in the freezer.
One thing to think of. If you're doing 30-Day Gourmet or similar OAMC marathons, I would not bother with a vacuum sealer and instead spend the money on good square/rectangular freezer containers--reason being that you are in theory turning these meals around quickly. Save the bags for true long-term freezer storage.
Don't bother with the cheap bags--remember, as you move things around in the freezer, or drop them 8(, the bags have to be able to withstand such treatment. Boxes in the freezer have sharp corners that can and do slice bags, and you won't find out until you defrost the item.
WOWOWOWOW thank you everyone for your opinions !
i was wondering , because i had to make stew out of a nice roast, after i trimmedoff the freezer burn i got kind of mad, my hubby gets about 2 deer a year, and we hunt and fish , and long term storage, for 9 months or longer is what i was looking for, sounds like if i get one , as long as i dont get 50.00 cheapies , i should be ok
and looking on ebay is right up my aisle, sine i shope there fairly often for stuff, i bought my radio shack barn- baby monitor there
sounds like foodsaver II or one of the Tilia brands....
I have one of the less expensive sealers that I bought at a garage sale many years ago. I use it for just about everything solid (meat, fruit, vegis) and wouldn't be without it.
I gave up on the high price rolls of plastic and switched to generic storage bags a few years back. The generic bags (i.e ones you would close with twist ties) come in a bunch of different sizes and run < $0.02 each in bulk. I know, some of you are cringing right now but these really work. I'll admit that it takes some practice but in time I've found that I can get a good seal.
I also place the sealed bags inside zip lock bags to prevent freezer burn. I can usually get 5 lbs (5 - 1 lb packages) of ground in a single zip lock bag. The zip lock bags stay clean so they can be used many times over.
At my house we reuse the expensive bags, no matter what they contained. After use we wash them and then rinse them out with a bleach solution. Let them air dry and they are good to go.
I've come up with a good methods to make them seal better as well. After I place the food in the bag I wipe the inside area (where you will seal) with a towell to make sure it is dry and free of food particles. This helps quite a bit. I always get a good seal when doing this.
Also, I find that if you cut the bags a bit longer then they need to be they are easier to reuse. For example I like to smoke whole salmon filets. I stick the filet in the bag but make sure the bag is at least 6 or 7 inchs longer then it needs to be. Then I can reuse that bag for the next salmon filet as it will be long enough, even though I had to cut some to break the seal. If I had made the bag "just long enough" I wouldn't be able to stick another filet in it.
I've had bad experiences with the cheap bags (especially the Black & Decker). In my opinion, get the expensive bags, cut 'em long, and wash 'em good.
I reuse my bags after washing as well - and here's something I didn't see anyone else mention: Potato chip and corn chip bags will also work. You have to trim the little extra lip off them to get them to seal correctly, but they are a good source of cheap bags for the foodsaver. Ask your friends to hold on to their snack bags for you
They are also big enough to handle large cuts of meat, which is a nice bonus.
We grow and store a lot of berries at our house every summer. The vacuum sealer made a huge difference in quality and length of storage! We do deer and elk as well, sometimes you have to double bag with poultry. One of the best purchases we ever made. :haha:
Another way to keep liquid from getting sucked out (if there isn't too much), is to fold up a piece of napkin so it will go all the way across the inside of the bag, put it right against the food & seal. This works good for meat that isn't too juicey.
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