Best Airtight Freezer Vacs: It’s Your Turn!

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Sometimes I receive really great questions from readers that I think everyone could benefit from learning about. :) This question from reader Dawn is one of those and I’d love to hear what you all think!

Here is Dawn’s question:

I was wondering what your thoughts were regarding airtight freezer vacs. What products really work to keep a good airtight seal on the food and bags? I use a Ziploc hand pump and also Reynolds Handi Vac pump and some bags seem to lose their airtight quality while in freezer. I know Costco has some product, but it looks awfully bulky….any thoughts? Thanks!

Which products have you tried and loved or tried and hated? Head down to the comment section and share your thoughts with all of us!


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Comments

  1. amanda says

    I agree with Madeline! We LOVE our food saver!

    Another tip to help with the juice issue she explained, I vacuum and seal the bag, then wipe out the exposed bag part on top, then seal it once more. The second seal is piece of mind for me that none of the juice compromised the first seal. We have ground beef that has been in our freezer for going on 4 weeks and the meat is still red!

    I got ours at Bed Bath and Beyond and used a 20% off coupon. Good luck!

  2. Dawn says

    Madeline-

    Wow…I’ve read and reread your very thorough info re the Foodsaver vacuum…thanks so much!! I will reinvestigate the Costco model and look on Amazon as well! I’m really spoiled, though, with the hand vacs in terms of nothing bulky…but yes, these “handbags” do occasionally lose their vacuum when placed in the fridge!! Blessings on your day, and thank you again for great info!!

    Dawn

  3. Madeline says

    Dawn,
    We purchase our meat in bulk when the sales are on and use our Foodsaver to package and freeze them. I really think this saves us a ton of money and time, just because we aren’t shopping for meat every week. Plus, it gives us the added bonus of never worrying about freezerburn on our meat. In my opinion, if meat is vacuum-sealed and frozen it is indistinguishable in taste from fresh.

    The first FoodSaver we purchased was from Costco, and was perfect for what we were using it for. We had a good 5-7 years of use before we had trouble with it. I am convinced, though, that it would have lasted longer if we had been using it properly all along. (More on that later.) Also, this model took up a lot of counter space, so we kept it in a closet and only pulled it out when we needed to.

    When we bought our second FoodSaver, we splurged and bought the upgraded model where everything is automatic and it takes up less counter space. I really like the versatility of this model, and it looks great on our counter. The only thing I dislike about it is that you don’t have control over when it starts vacuum-sealing the bags. It can get a bit tricky if you cut the bag a little too short because you have to put the bag in a slot far enough for the machine to “feel” the bag and then it starts the whole process automatically. I liked having a lid to lift up because I could make it seal the bag whether it was a little short or not. (I’ll admit to cutting it short on purpose to save more $.)

    Now, on to the proper way to vacuum seal meat. This is important because you can potentially pull the “juice” out of the meat while the machine is pulling the air out, which can cause a lot of problems: improperly sealed bags (rare, in my experience), not as tasty meat, and worst of all, a disgustingly dirty machine. The first FoodSaver instruction manual suggested putting a piece of paper towel inside the bag along the edge you are sealing. We tried that a few times, but who likes paper towel stuck to their meat? So we gave up on that and went with just losing a little juice and cleaning the machine thoroughly after each time we used it. When we bought the second FoodSaver, they had the answer to the problem I wish I had thought of. Pre-freezing the meat! It’s sounds wrong, but it’s not. It actually makes the process a lot easier, and if you do it right, there is no difference in the taste.

    So, take out a cookie sheet and put a layer of wax paper on it. Then take out your packages of meat and separate them either into the groupings you want to freeze it in, or into individual pieces, and put them on the wax paper. (We have a small household, so we either freeze chicken breasts, for example, in groups of two or individually.) Then put them in the freezer this way for approximately 20 minutes (just enough time to keep the juices from running), then take them out, put them in the bags and start sealing! You can also put them in the bags first then into the freezer, and then seal the bags after 20 minutes, but I find it works better if the bags are already at room temperature.

    The other cost to consider: When you use a FoodSaver machine, you MUST use FoodSaver bags in the machine. FoodSaver bags cost a lot more than your average plastic ziploc bags, but they are designed to be sealed and to protect the food inside. So, EVERY time I see a deal of FoodSaver bags, I stock up. I recommend the rolls rather than the actual bags, because that way I can control how much of the plastic I use, but the bags work very well, too. They even sell bags now that you can cook with. (Their bags are also BPA free.)

    Over the years I’ve used our FoodSaver to do more than just freeze meat. I’ve used it to vacuum seal and freeze multiple bags of coffee after a particularly good deal; to store homemade baby food already frozen into ice cubes; to store minced ginger frozen into icecubes (because what else are you supposed to do with the rest of that root anyway?); to store brown sugar (it will NOT dry out if you seal it into a FoodSaver canister!), to quickly marinate meat (the new machine came with a marinating canister); and to store pre-made meals (they last a lot longer vacuum sealed).

    While I can’t say how well other brands work, I can say that we’ve made very good use of our FoodSaver, and it’s become a necessary item in our quest to save money, and to eat tastier meals. Check out their website for sales and Amazon, too, before you buy the Costco model. They have a lot of different options available, and occasionally you’ll find an even better deal there than through Costco. Good luck!

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