Vacuum Sealers have been around for years, and we often get asked if it’s worth the money to purchase one. So, we thought we’d answer some of your top questions on the subject!
First of all, there really isn’t much of a learning curve to using a food saver vacuum sealer. There are several different brands of vacuum sealers available on the market and over the past 20 years, we’ve tried 4 different ones (mainly because I have a tendency to wear one out about every 4-5 years. The one we’ve always gone back to is FoodSaver – and it really is!
Using the Foodsaver vacuum sealer we are able to take advantage of sales on meat and produce when they are in season. Meat sales occur several different times per year and you can literally cut your grocery bill in HALF by purchasing meat during these sale times and vacuum sealing them to maintain freshness.
Vacuum Sealer FAQ
1. How do you use this for dry items such as cake mixes & MYO convenience foods; Can you use the bags or do you have to invest in the special jars?
2. Will the contents of the bag get sucked up into the well when I try to seal the bag?
3. What can I seal?
4. The meat I am sealing is quite fresh and the juice keeps getting sucked up, how can I prevent this?
5. What is the best way to clean the vacuum bags for reuse?
6. I have the vacuum sealer with the attachment to seal Mason Jars (both wide mouth and small-mouthed). The smallmouth jars will not seal. Do I have to do something special to the jars when I seal them, or just put the lid on?
7. I am sealing jar mixes and the dry ingredients keep flying into the well.. what can I do??
8. Is this a substitute for refrigeration?
9. Bottom Line- do they save money?
If you have a question that is not addressed in the following FAQ, please feel free to comment below and ask!
Vacuum Sealer Questions Answered:
1 How do you use this for dry items such as cake mixes & MYO convenience foods; Can you use the bags or do you have to invest in the special Foodsaver jars?
Simply measure the ingredients of your recipe into the vacuum sealer bag. (fold the top down about 1 1/2 inches prior to filling so the contents of your bag doesn’t get on it. This helps ensure an even seal).
Foodsaver brand now offers a jar top that will fit over the top of a mason jar, and seal dry or wet ingredients. Using this method of sealing, we are able to preserve freshly cut fruits and vegetables for 7-10 days easily without any spoilage.
Check out Secrets for Making Fruits and Vegetables last 7-10 days here.
2 Will the contents of the bag get sucked up into the well when I try to seal the bag?
No. Prior to using the bag, simply fold the top down about an inch for dry goods, 2 inches for sauces, etc. Fill your bag, then unfold the top prior to sealing. This prevents the contents from being sucked into the well. Do not worry that you are wasting the bag, the bags are washable and reusable.
3 What can I seal?
For camping trips, we make “breakfast bags” by filling the bags with eggs (out of the shell, of course), chopped diced onions, and bell peppers. Once the ingredients are combined, place them flat in the cooler. They take up less room than bringing fresh shelled eggs and save time and clean-up during cooking.
**One note about sealing shredded cheese …. it seals so well that it often becomes a solid chunk that you have to break up with your hands before using.
4 The meat I am sealing is quite fresh and the juice keeps getting sucked up, how can I prevent this?
Fold a paper towel the width of the bag your using. Place it inside the lip of the bag (above the meat), it will absorb the excess juice preventing it from entering the well.
This method is similar to the method that experienced butchers use. (Butchers often place a pad under meat products prior to packaging.) Simply discard the paper towel upon opening.
5 What is the best way to clean the Vacuum Bags for Reuse?
The best way to clean a food saver bag, if using a dishwasher, is to turn it inside out, place a small bowl inside the bag to hold it down on a dishwasher rack, and then run it through the cycle.
After washing in the dishwasher, remove, rinse well under the faucet and turn right side out. Allow to dry before storing.
6 I have the vacuum sealer with the attachment to seal Mason Jars (both wide mouth and small-mouthed). The small mouth jars will not seal. Do I have to do something special to the jars when I seal them, or just put the lid on?
To seal your jar, put a second lid on top of the lid you are trying to seal (in other words stack two lids together.) It will seal perfectly.
Alternatively, FoodSaver has now come out with a jar topper which slips on over the top of the mason jar and fixes this issue (which occurred in earlier models of their product).
7 I am sealing Jar Mixes and the dry ingredients keep flying into the well.. what can I do??
One of several things, you can cut a ring of wax paper and place it on the top of your jar to prevent your dry ingredients from being sucked into the well, or you can place a coffee filter down over the top of the jar prior to sealing. Both work well
8 Is this a substitute for refrigeration?
NO, Absolutely Not. While this does remove the air and severely slows down the breakdown of fresh foods, this is not a substitute for refrigeration in any way. If you are sealing a product or food that normally requires refrigeration or freezing, you must STILL put it in the fridge or freezer, respectively.
9 Bottom Line… Does using a vacuum sealer save money?
Hands down without a question, YES. Having the ability to take advantage of sales cycles and purchase items that are in season, then freeze them whilst maintaining high quality & flavor has without a doubt the most money-saving gadget in our home over the past 20 years.
What else can you do with it?
Make Recipes for Ready-to-Go Smoothies:
Make your own smoothies with your favorite seasonal fresh fruits or choose from our Ready-to-Go Smoothie combinations below.
- Blue Straw: Blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple.
- Mango Tango: Mangoes, blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple.
- Banana Split: Bananas, Strawberries, and pineapple.
- Berry Banana: Blackberries, banana, pineapple.
For perfect blender smoothies, combine 1-1/2 cups frozen fruit, broken into small chunks, with 3/4 cup of your choice of fruit juice or milk, and 1/2 cup plain or flavored yogurt. Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Make Crockpot Dump Recipes:
Fill a baggie with all the ingredients needed to make a meal, seal, and freeze. The night before remove the bag from the freezer and in the morning, before you go to work, dump the “ready meal” into the slow cooker and turn it on. When you get home from work, dinner will be hot and ready!
Make Your Own Meal Kits:
Make your own First Aid Kits for the boat, for camping, or to keep in the car for emergencies.
Vacuum seal individual snack bags for traveling