Vacuum Sealers- Do they Save Money?

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!

Vacuum Sealers

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!

vacuum-sealers-do-they-save-money

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).

b101-marinating-meat

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.

b101-vacuum-seal-marinate-meat

3 What can I seal?

We vacuum seal just about everything, Homemade Convenience mixes, sauces, marinades, homemade condiments, Meat, cheeses, fruits, vegetables, even homemade emergency kits.

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.

b101-vacuum-seal-veggies-camping

**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).

b101-vacuum-sealer-savings

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:

Homemade Apple Crisp Kits

Practical Uses:

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

What do you do with yours?

About Liss 4095 Articles
Melissa Burnell, known to her friends and fans as "Liss," grew up in Southern Maine, now residing in sunny South Carolina. As a busy Wife, Mother of two sons, an avid photographer, and self-employed entrepreneur, Liss understands the value of both time and money.

28 Comments

  1. thanks for the tip on folding the paper towel to keep the meat juice from getting sucked into the motor and well! sometimes the juice prevents it from sealing well and then we have to resituate the meat and start again, this will save a lot of hassle and frustration. thank you!

    :preggers:

  2. you can reseal an opened bag of cereal or chips. after opening the bag, simply place the opened edge in the sealer and press seal. i’ve had my foodsaver for years, use it regularly and would replace it immediately if it should quit working.

  3. i love my foodsaver! i picked it up at a garage sale a couple of years ago for $3..Can’t believe they didn’t like it!! I’ve bought several canisters at thrift shops, and I recently ordered the jar sealers from the FoodSaver website.

    I’ve found that Goodwill is an especially good source for supplies…I just got 4 brand new boxes of bags for $1 each.
    I use mine for meats, mixes, sealing pasta, sugar, flour, spices and leftovers.
    And Lukers…thanks for posting about sealing cereal and chips. I was wondering if that would work, but didn’t want to risk messing up my sealer.

  4. i love my foodsaver! i’ve had it for several years and use it for everything! it’s great not only for meats and veggies but i seal my dehydrated foods too!

  5. could anyone venture advice on choosing a foodsaver model? which model do you have, and would you recommend it to others? i am seeing a huge difference in pricing with different models, but am not sure which one is a good option!

    • Could anyone venture advice on choosing a FoodSaver model? Which model do you have, and would you recommend it to others? I am seeing a huge difference in pricing with different models, but am not sure which one is a good option!

      Beth J It’s going to be 100% personal preference.

      I’ve had these for about 20 years (it’s the one thing I would never be without in my home). I decided to buy one with all the bells and whistles a while back and lo and behold, I didn’t like the bells and whistles! I gave that one to my Sis and I went back to a simple model.

      It doesn’t store rolls, it doesn’t cut bags for me. It just seals stuff up GREAT and that’s what I want it to do. I do recommend the wider one so you can decide if you want to use the 8″ or 11″ materials.
      I also recommend the jar sealers for both wide and regular mouth mason jars.

      They are worth their weight in gold. I use them more than I do the canisters.

    • Could anyone venture advice on choosing a FoodSaver model? Which model do you have, and would you recommend it to others? I am seeing a huge difference in pricing with different models, but am not sure which one is a good option!

      I can’t provide model numbers, but I have two. I have the upright one in my kitchen. I don’t have a lot of counter space, so this is a good design for me.

      I have one of the ‘flat’ models in the motorhome. It fits nicely into a drawer and has the attachments so that it does the same types of sealing as the other models.

      I usually use the precut bags most of the time – there is a wonderful variety of sizes and designs. I keep rolls on hand, too.

      If you aren’t sure, buy the budget priced model (sign up on their web-site to be notified of special sales) and give it a try. You and always buy another model, when they go on sale. :deals:

  6. i use my foodsaver to really stretch the savings i get by buying meats in bulk from zaycon foods. nothing like putting away six months’ worth of chicken, bacon, ground beef, hot dogs or other items at a time in sizes your family can use.

  7. i love my foodsaver! i just ordered the attachment to seal mason jars. it will extend the life of a grab a n d go salads as well as homemade fruit cocktails.

    when we head to the mountains it’s the perfect way to take along prepared pancake mix, or mama’s snack mix!

  8. i like the idea of using a foodsaver, but i’m concerned about the re-usability of the bags. you say they can be washed, but it looks like foodsavers seal the bags by melting them, so you must cut them to open them — so the part you re-use is smaller than the original bag, right, and you have to throw away the old sealed part? or is this done some other way now?

    also, i wonder what kind of plastic is used to make the bags and whether there are any concerns about it leaching possibly harmful chemicals into the food (bpa, for example).

    my family produces very little trash (less than 1 kitchen bag every two weeks), and being able to save our own food this way might help us to produce even less trash, but only if the bags can be completely re-used.

    • I like the idea of using a FoodSaver, but I’m concerned about the re-usability of the bags. You say they can be washed, but it looks like FoodSavers seal the bags by melting them, so you must cut them to open them — so the part you re-use is smaller than the original bag, right, and you have to throw away the old sealed part? Or is this done some other way now?
      yes you cut a small part off the top each time you open it.

      but who eats everything all the same size all the time anyway? when the bag is getting too “short”, i just cut off a side and turn it into a long skinny bag. best bet is to buy the rolls instead of precut bags and make whatever size fits your needs.

      also, i wonder what kind of plastic is used to make the bags and whether there are any concerns about it leaching possibly harmful chemicals into the food (bpa, for example).
      i won’t go into why it’s a moot point on this thread, but food saver has a website where they can answer your questions. they do not contain bpa.

    • I like the idea of using a FoodSaver, but I’m concerned about the re-usability of the bags. You say they can be washed, but it looks like FoodSavers seal the bags by melting them, so you must cut them to open them — so the part you re-use is smaller than the original bag, right, and you have to throw away the old sealed part? Or is this done some other way now?

      Also, I wonder what kind of plastic is used to make the bags and whether there are any concerns about it leaching possibly harmful chemicals into the food (BPA, for example).

      My family produces very little trash (less than 1 kitchen bag every two weeks), and being able to save our own food this way might help us to produce even less trash, but only if the bags can be completely re-used.

      yes, of course you have to cut off the bag tops to open them, but the zip-loc brand makes a zipper-seal vacuum bag that is re-usable. if you want to re-use glass containers, get the two different-sized jar tops used for vacuuming and use them on canning jars. i prefer the bags for fresh food because i can prepare whole meals, even soups, put them in bags, seal and let it freeze completely flat on a baking sheet.

      then i can stack them like flat magazines in the freezer. i also dehydrate a lot of food and vacuum seal it in bags. i make my own garlic powder and onion powder, among many other things, in large batches and keep it in sealed jars, though, because i’m opening those frequently. simply re-seal the jars -over and over and over!

      make your own onion soup mix, and mushroom soup mix; your own bisquick-type mixes, and just keep those in a vac-sealed jar, and you will save big dollars over pre-made, expensive mix packets, but still have the convenience of a mix without all the artificial or chemical ingredients!
      Chop lettuce and place in in vac-sealed jars. It stays fresh and salad-ready for a week!

      Vac-seal anything that you need to keep dry and leak-proof when traveling, and even your clothing, so you can get much more in a suitcase! they have huge re-sealable bags for blankets, comforters, pillows, down coats, etc. in the closet supplies section of stores that are used with a vacuum cleaner hose.

      Instead of having to cook beans a long time for just one recipe, I cook a couple of pounds or more at a time, rinse and dehydrate them, and they become instant beans I can keep on a shelf. Black beans especially have to be pre-cooked and rinsed before you can use them in a soup or the broth becomes yucky, so I always have dried instant beans on hand for tortilla soup. Dehydrated, cooked and mashed pinto beans become instant refried beans with a little water added.

      Bags of dried foods are easier to store, take up less space, weigh a whole lot less than cans/jars, and keep food fresher.


  9. this may be a bit of a reach, but i’ve even used my foodsaver to seal my bed sheets in sets for winter/summer storage. ie: flannels get washed, dried, matched into sets and stored for the summer.
    for camping, i seal and freeze meats, cheese and even milk before packing the ice chest, so the ice will last longer.
    we’ve even sealed sets of clothing for each family member during travel. the elimination of air cuts down on the room needed in our luggage.
    my dad just about doubled over in laughter when i sucked his jacket down to a fraction of it’s normal size so he could fit more souvenirs into his suitcase after a recent visit.

  10. love my vacuum sealer. i bought a heavy duty sealer at a home show probably 10 years ago. I tried the FoodSaver and if you were doing lots of sealing I found that the heater bar just could not keep up and about 90% of my bags ended up leaking or gaining air.

    I can now seal up major amounts of stuff for hours. Love the tip about the paper towel in the meat. I seal soups, stews, sauces and liquid stuff too.

    What I do is open the drawer below where I have the sealer so the bag is vertical and not flat on the counter. I watch closely for the liquid to start wicking up and when it is just barely reaching, switch to seal from vacuum. It leave a tiny bit of air, but good enough for me!

  11. i have had my foodsaver forever and i always freeze my meat before i seal it. i too would replace it immediately if anything happened to it.

  12. i remember when i got my foodsaver, about 18 years ago. I was watching an infomercial. My hub had gone on a trip and I was not happy about it so when he got home he asked what I did while he was gone.

    I said “I ordered a Foodsaver vacuum sealer! That’ll teach you to go away and leave me home by myself!” He was not mad and we had many good laughs over it.

    Seriously, I do like the thing.

    We had a trapping supply business here in Maine and my dearly departed hub took ownership of it to seal all kinds of foul smelling stuff for shipment all over the us and canada (he added kitty litter to help absorb the odors because the p.o., for some reason, didn’t like the smell of skunk! lol). after he passed away i got it back out and covered it with baking soda, especially in the well part, let it sit, wiped it down and it doesn’t stink anymore.

    i still use it to seal bags but mostly wide-mouth canning jars of stuff.

    since i am by myself now it makes even more sense to seal stuff instead of letting is spoil. i had a sealed jar of croutons with a note on top that said 2011. I opened it (in 2014), tried one, still good and still crunchy!

    I was impressed!!! i look for any attachements and canning jars at good-will when they are the “color of the week” which means they are 1/2 price. I recently found another jar sealing attachment and another canister, both for less than a dollar!

  13. i have had a foodsaver for at least the last 7 years, I keep waiting for it to die, but it works like a champ. I have mainly used it for meat, i buy in bulk and break down into smaller packages. I don’t know how someone could get by without one of these.

    I love it. I also buy bulk cheeses and break them down into smaller packages.

    Thanks to the comments above, I now know about the mason jar sealers, which I am going to order from Amazon. I have the sealing jars, but have never used them.

    I hate to store things that would stain the plastic in them, but with the jar sealers, i see great things in my future. 🙂

    I have heard about using it to store sheets and such for storage, but have never tried it. I guess I need to walk on the wilder side.

    LOL

  14. i never feel as though i can wash and re-use bags that have had meat, especially raw meat in them. also those bags created with the absorbent strip attached work very well for juicy contents. often, i will fill the bags, secure the tops, freeze and then seal.

  15. vacuum seal your vital documents like birth certificates. you can also seal photos and such in case of a natural disaster. this will protect them and if you seal all your vital docs together, you can grab and go if you ever have to evacuate.

  16. i love this appliance and use it for oh so much. i do however save money by using regular plastic bags for things i freeze and am going to use pretty quickly. cheaper for sure.

    i make and store jar mixes individually in plastic and then store in a large square labeled container in my pantry. so easy to make cookies,cakes,biscuits,bread mixes (in breadmaker,ready in am or for dinner),soups and sauces cheaply and quickly. we cook and freeze cooked meats and seal in plastic .

    again grab and use with added ingredients ,many times to crockpot. i also clean and seal in plastic ,vegetables and some fruits ,ready for salads and grab and go. anytime you remove the air from foods, it stays fresher and longer.

  17. ok im a bit confused with the folding down of the bags for dry goods, could you post some pics of this proceedure as i dont get it and no amount of explaining is going to make my brain get it….lol

    i got a vac780 on friday 2nd hand from a friend but it didnt come with the hose as she lost it, so on the hunt for that and canisters and rolls… cant wait until I find them all.

    Hubby bought a side of lamb for me on friday so I could play with my new toy and I love it and am really excited to get vaccing!

  18. For missing parts/tools/accessories, just as easy to order from Food Saver directly: FoodSaver® The #1 Vacuum Sealing System Sign up to be on their email list and/or like them on FB to get opportunities to buy bags, canisters etc. at a discount. By knowing their price on line, you will know if you are getting a better deal at Costco, or other superstores and markets that may carry them.

    I’m with you, I’d like to see this fold-over technique 🙂

    JoAnn

  19. i bought my foodsaver just this year and absolutely love it. it is quick, easy and convenient. i canned and froze from my garden this year.

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