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Reynolds Handi-Vac

sheilal Oct 29, 2007 06:39 AM

Just saw this advertised this weekend. It's a small, hand-held gadget that sucks air out of specialty ziplock bags. Has anyone tried this? Anyone have a comparison to the Tilia FoodSaver? I've been toying with the idea of getting a FoodSaver, but have been balking at the high cost of it. If I can get similar results from a $10 appliance (vs. the FoodSaver $100+ price), I'd definitely be interested.

  1. leanneabe Oct 29, 2007 07:27 PM

    I must have missed your post earlier... I posted about this same device. We actually bought one this weekend with the $2.50 coupon. Sharper Image sells a Frisper that operates on the same idea (ziploc bag, "resealable") but is still $80.

    For about $15, we bought the Handi-Vac and a box of quart and gallon bags. Tonight we sealed up some pita bread and it certainly sucked out enough air, much like a FoodSaver. I don't know how well the seal will hold up over a month, but right now it looks good.

    As for who would buy this, a lot of people buy food in bulk and store it in the freezer for months at a time. We buy steaks from Costco, but we certainly don't eat all of them within a week. It's just more cost effective than buying a steak from the store every time we want one. Vacuum sealers are also good for freezing berries or resealing frozen veggies, to help keep the ice crystals from forming. The less air comes into contact, the slower it decays, so even vacuum sealing fish to store in the fridge for a few days helps.

    If you have the luxury of grocery shopping every few days, then a vacuum sealer is obviously not for you. But some of us like to keep the freezer stocked with leftover meals or just basic proteins to throw together a last minute meal. If this $10 device can preserve the food even a little better than plastic wrap, meaning we don't have to spend hundreds of dollars, then that's a good thing.

    1 Reply
    1. re: leanneabe
      coney with everything Nov 1, 2007 11:39 AM

      Have you used this on lettuce? I'm curious as to whether delicate leaves would be crushed when the air is sucked out.

    2. sheilal Nov 2, 2007 05:59 AM

      Hey guys, I bought this last night and gave it a whirl. It works really well! I vacuumed some soft rolls (these go bad so quickly) and some lettuce. I sucked the air out just enough to gently caress the plastic around the goods. I didn't want to crush anything. The hand-held device allows total control of the amount of air you remove. I also vac'ed some pork chops which I threw in the freezer. I checked this morning on the seals and they seem to be holding up. I'm still holding my breath on the freezer stuff though. You all know how ziploc bag seals can open up in the freezer. I think its a worthy $10 investment. Much better than spending 100+ for the Tilia Food Saver. The bags aren't that expensive either. I got 12 gallon size and 20 (I think) quart size for $2.57 each at Walmart. I plan to reuse as many as possible.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sheilal
        sheilal Nov 2, 2007 10:36 AM

        Oh, an by the way guys, I'm going to seal up half an avocado tonight (after I eat the other half on a buffalo mozzerella, proscuitto & avocado ciabatta sandwich). I'll let you know if it makes it 'til tomorrow evening before it turns brown.

        1. re: sheilal
          JonParker Nov 2, 2007 12:41 PM

          For produce, I've had really good luck with Evertfresh or other similar storage bags. They basically absorb ethylene gas and keep your fruits and veggies fresh several times longer than regular baggies or plastic wrap. You just stick the produce into the bag and tie it off with a twist tie.

          Someone also makes ethylene absorbing discs that you toss in your veggie crisper, but I haven't actually used those.

          1. re: sheilal
            sheilal Nov 5, 2007 04:33 AM

            Good news to report - the avocado half has not turned brown yet. It's been 2 days and I must say I'm really impressed with the Handi-Vac. Who would have thought a hand-held device costing $10 would work so well?? I know I sound like a commercial for the thing. Hmmmmm, maybe I should contact Reynolds for a testimonial. I could use some new bags already . . .

        2. leanneabe Nov 6, 2007 09:11 AM

          I have to say, the green onions I sealed up a week ago are still looking green and firm (not brown at the edges). I can see this being very useful for cheese storage, too.

          So far, I'm happy enough with this $10 little product that I don't think we need to spend $100 for a larger appliance. I guess if you wait long enough, just about any "luxury appliance" will get mass marketed for a lower cost.

          http://threedogkitchen.com

          1. scubadoo97 Nov 7, 2007 03:39 PM

            I just got one today. Paid full price since I couldn't find any coupons and I was obsessed with buy one. Sealed a bunch of vegetables up this evening after working on an Asian stir fry. Worked like a charm and I don't see why you couldn't reuse these bags a little before replacing. Neat little toy

            9 Replies
            1. re: scubadoo97
              sheilal Nov 8, 2007 04:53 AM

              I've reused a couple of gallon-size bags so far. I turn them inside out & wash them. Then I place them over a tall glass or pitcher to dry. Even though they are thicker than normal ziploc bags, I don't think they'd make it through a dishwasher cycle :)

              1. re: sheilal
                s
                Shayna Madel Nov 8, 2007 05:06 AM

                I bet I would do what you have done and try reusing some of them, but the company site says that you can open and re-seal the bags, but not to re-use. It sounds like they are being very concerned about cross-contamination...

                1. re: Shayna Madel
                  sheilal Nov 8, 2007 06:09 AM

                  The company has to cover it's a$$ and also promote as much profitability as possible (e.g. sell more bags). But I feel that if I wash the bags in hot water and use an antibacterial dish detergent, it should be okay. After all, before dishwashers, that's how we all washed our dishes (and many still do). Also, we're such a consumable society. If I re-use the bags, that one less non-degradable bag that goes into a landfill. We need to be good stewards, of our money AND our environment.

                  1. re: Shayna Madel
                    scubadoo97 Nov 8, 2007 09:24 AM

                    Not too worried about X-contamination if I take a couple of cut peppers out of the bag and put some some green onions back in. I can't wait to try a sous vide recipe using these. I hear they stand up to the heat pretty good as well.

                    1. re: scubadoo97
                      s
                      Shayna Madel Nov 8, 2007 01:34 PM

                      Probably just part of the plan to get people to buy more bags, anyway!

                      1. re: scubadoo97
                        a
                        anniemax Nov 8, 2007 01:38 PM

                        But are they approved for use in cooking?- I know SousVide is usually done a lower temperatures, but it still pretty warm and typically for a longer period of time. Ziploc has a warning on their site about not using their bags for boil in bag omelets & such. Just because a plastic bag doesn't visible melt from the heat, whether microwave or from hot water, doesn't mean its safe to use in that manor. Personally, I would stick to bags that are made for cooking in, like the Food Saver bags that can be used to make boil in the bag type meals.

                        1. re: anniemax
                          scubadoo97 Nov 8, 2007 04:16 PM

                          Thanks. Good points about the heat safety.

                          1. re: scubadoo97
                            s
                            Shayna Madel Nov 8, 2007 04:28 PM

                            The handi-vac site says okay for defrosting. Also, says not to use liquids.

                      2. re: Shayna Madel
                        m
                        Mother of four Nov 8, 2007 03:13 PM

                        They say you can reuse the bag ten times, but only with the same thing you used it for the first time. No cross-contamination there!

                  2. m
                    Mother of four Nov 8, 2007 03:23 PM

                    I had a post on this titled MY new gadget, and I love it! Dated Oct.26th. I bought it, and I love it. It's small (fits in a drawer), does what it said it would do, only cost $9.99 with a $5 rebate coupon from Krogers which brings it down to $4.99. I wish I could have all that wonderful shopping avaible to me that the person from NYC has, but unfortunly most of us do not, plus I honestly do not want to spend all that time shopping everyday. So, try it, you might really like it, and if not, no big deal!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mother of four
                      leanneabe Nov 9, 2007 08:27 AM

                      Ah, you've finally hit on what was bothering me (I couldn't figure it out) - while most of us actually do have plenty of fresh groceries available to us on a daily basis, I certainly don't want to go shopping every day. I'd rather make a weekly run, store food in the fridge and freezer and be able to throw together a dinner just by rummaging through that and the pantry. Doesn't it make more sense to buy a bunch of, say, green onions and store them in a way that they'll stay fresh instead of picking up a small bit of onions every day??

                      It really is a good product... we've opened and resealed bread and herbs at least 5 times and the bag still holds a good seal. No mold, nothing is wilting or getting brown... not much to complain about with this $10 gadget (we had a coupon, too). I would assume that as the Handi-Vac gets more available, you'll see more sales and coupons coming out for it.

                    2. m
                      Mother of four Nov 19, 2007 05:45 PM

                      Unreal! i cut an avacoda in half last week, used half and put the half in the sealed bag. I opened it today and it was as fresh as when I put it in last week! I love this gadget. It actually does what it is supposed to do for not a very large price. All right, the bags cost, but I have been washing them out and reusing them, which seems to work. I am sure going to give this out to many people as a gift.

                      1. c
                        cookingwithcharlie Nov 27, 2007 06:05 PM

                        I bought one last week. I am impressed. For things that I want to seal but acess on a regular basis it is great. I can take out a couple of slices of cheese and then reseal it. I have some spices that I use to make breakfast sausage that I seal as a group, when I make a pound of sausage I unseal the package, measure out the different spices and then reseal it. The seal seems to last. I have some chicken breast in the freezed so I curious how the seal will last. I would probably like a Tila foodsaver for longer term freezing and I would like to make boil in the bag meals with leftovers. The Reynolds will not support boiling in the bag. This topic help me make the decision to get one and I am glad I did.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: cookingwithcharlie
                          w
                          Windsor Dec 9, 2007 01:49 PM

                          Ok, after reading this thread I had to go buy one. We are heading out on a road trip in the morning and wound up slicing and dicing veggies for salads and wraps and even a stir fry for our final destination...all sealed up by my new favorite kitchen gadget In less than one hour prep time we have a few days of healthy road food. Packing up garbanzo beans,hummus,guacamole, salad dressings, spicy mustard, whole wheat wraps and pita bread. By the way, I paid $8.99 for the Handi-Vac and $2.89 for the bags at Target.

                          While packing up our salads I had a great idea for my Mother-in-law who lives alone. She is active, healthy and doing great in all areas but solo alone. She tends not to buy fresh produce as it "goes bad" before she gets around to eating it. I am thinking this little gadget will be great. I can do salad and veggie prep twice a week and take her over bags of mixed salad and veggies for her to use and reseal. With items already cleaned, chopped and mixed it just may be convenient enough for her to add a salad to her cracker and peanut butter or frozen entree dinner.

                          I think alot of folks I know will find this stuffed in their Christmas stockings.

                        2. c
                          Clarkafella Dec 31, 2007 08:14 AM

                          I must have missed this thread, but was in the store the other day, saw this gadget for the first time, and pulled out my wallet...

                          I love the damn thing! It is so easy to use, and easy to keep handy so I can use it more. The bags aren't too expensive, and everything just seems to work well! I really love it!

                          One caveat though- if you want to see how strong the suction is, do *not* hold it up against your cheek unless you like to adorn yourself with a dime sized hickeys- don't ask me how I know this...

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Clarkafella
                            m
                            Mother of four Dec 31, 2007 02:20 PM

                            I really can't believe you did that!!!!!

                          2. r
                            roberty Jan 16, 2008 05:10 PM

                            Thanks for this thread! I would like to have one. Where are you finding the coupons and the item? What stores?

                            roberty

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: roberty
                              c
                              Clarkafella Jan 16, 2008 05:35 PM

                              I found it and the coupon in Brookshire's, a regional grocery chain. But I also saw the machines in Kroger the other day- can't recall if they had any coupons there though...

                              1. re: Clarkafella
                                r
                                roberty Jan 16, 2008 05:38 PM

                                Thanks for your reply! I'm in Northern California. Has anyone seen the things here?

                                roberty

                                1. re: roberty
                                  ChowFun_derek Jan 19, 2008 12:41 PM

                                  I got mine at Targets in Serramonte

                                2. re: Clarkafella
                                  optimal forager Jan 16, 2008 06:03 PM

                                  Anyone seen the coupons in the Chicago area? Thnx

                                3. re: roberty
                                  j
                                  Jimmy Buffet Jan 16, 2008 06:03 PM

                                  Look around stores also. I have seen the basic unit with three bags for as low as $7.99 (Food Lion)

                                  1. re: roberty
                                    meatn3 Jan 19, 2008 12:10 PM

                                    I've seen the coupons in the coupon/ad inserts in the Sunday newspaper. I haven't noticed, but I suspect any 7 sisters mags would have them too (Redbook, Ladies Home Journal, etc.).

                                  2. monkuboy Feb 3, 2008 11:58 AM

                                    Has anyone purchased these in Southern California? I went to a couple of WalMarts and they don't sell them. Many posts on CH and Amazon that I've seen say they bought theirs at WalMart.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: monkuboy
                                      ChowFun_derek Feb 3, 2008 08:56 PM

                                      Target in Northern Calif. is where I purchased mine...

                                    2. s
                                      Scarnucci Mar 30, 2008 08:25 AM

                                      DO NOT use this device if you are looking for long term freezer storage. I was very careful with sealing and not overfilling bags, and I would say that about 60%-70% of the bags leaked and filled with air over a few days time. I would re-seal them and of course, they would leak again. I investigated the vacu-seal point and the circular plastic piece around the valve was coming apart from the bag on nearly every one. As much as I hate paying out top dollar for the FoodSaver bags, you get what you pay for. The cheaper Reynolds Handi-Vac has cost me much more in terms of freezer burned meats.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Scarnucci
                                        scubadoo97 Mar 30, 2008 12:43 PM

                                        Interesting. I have 3 one gallon bags full of short ribs that have been in the freezer for over 3 months now and are still sealed tight. Must be a defective box of bags. I think a complaint to Reynolds is in order. Others have mentioned problems with leaky bags and I have to admit that I've had a few but the majority have been okay. Still the failure rate is larger than it should be.

                                        1. re: scubadoo97
                                          ChowFun_derek Mar 30, 2008 03:52 PM

                                          When I had a problem they happily sent me a coupon for a free box and a stamped self addressed envelope to send back the offending box...I guess to have their tech people test it...

                                      2. m
                                        mrb02334 Apr 24, 2008 09:57 AM

                                        I have one and the weak link are the bags. I'm finding a defect rate of between 50 and 100%.
                                        Reynolds needs to work on there bags. I'm taking mine back to get my money back.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: mrb02334
                                          j
                                          Jimmy Buffet Jul 19, 2008 07:03 PM

                                          I'm finding the defect rate on the bags to be a bit high also.

                                        2. n
                                          nan1130 Jul 19, 2008 10:27 AM

                                          I've been using the Reynolds Handi-Vac sustem for a bit, now. Works just fine. However, last month went on a trip..airplane. I put small items (socks, underware, etc) in bags and sucked the air out..it worked great for packing. I am sure if someone is a camper, this system would be wonderful to take along and keep clothes dry. Also, as a grandmother, however useful for small baby items. I'm giving this product an A.

                                          1. meatn3 Jul 19, 2008 07:10 PM

                                            The bags which came with my vacuum worked great. The newer bags I purchased have had some problems with a couple of them.

                                            I have still been having good luck washing and reusing the bags. Rinsing takes awhile since suds can get inside of the membrane. Drying takes awhile for the same reason. If I have something messy or oily (smoked salmon), I wrap it in wax paper first in order to reuse the bag in the future, the oily stuff makes the membrane too hard to clean.

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