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Food Savers/ Vacuum Sealers: Do you use them and are they worth the expense?

I'm really trying to be mindful of wasted food in our home, and have gotten to the point I cannot abide tossing unused items. Unfortunately, out lifestyle means dinner doesn't always get cooked as planned. So, I'm thinking of investing in a food saver to give me those extra days I sometimes need to get to use fresh produce and meat.

I'd love to hear from Hounders that use them, love them, and hate them. ;-)

Your perspective on these things is always so helpful!

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  1. I have a food saver. I used to do a lot of hunting and fishing, in a addition to shopping at Costco.

    Bags cost about 50cents each.

    Based on your posted needs, I recommend ziplock bags or storage containers. I don't see the economics of a food saver to give you those extra days.

    They are great for longer storage, buying in bulk, but for a couple of weeks or less, I use zip locks or storage containers.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alan408

      I usually only vacuum seal big ticket items like meats or seafood for long term storage in my chest freezer.

    2. Mine paid for itself in the first year. Not only do I save money by being less wasteful it allows me to take advantage of family packs, stock up sales, etc. I break it down in serving for our family and it keeps for months. And the bags are washable/reusable

      Also I buy less convenience foods like shredded cheese, bread crumbs, etc. I can buy big blocks of good quality cheese and shred it myself and freeze. Save breads to make my own crumbs.

      Being a working mom it's a life saver too. I do a lot of batch cooking/feed the freezer on the weekends. During the week I can grab a bag of meatballs/sauce, beef stew, chili, whatever and throw it in the crock pot. When I get home the main part of dinner is done.

      1. Foodsavers are great if you want to buy in bulk, portion and freeze for later use. For Christmas dinner this year I pulled a beef tenderloin roast that I had vacuum sealed and frozen last Christmas and it was still in excellent condition. It probably wouldn't be my first choice for short term storage, I'd probably just wrap in plastic wrap or use Ziploc bags for that.

        1. I've never considered FSing uncooked produce and don't think one would somehow. But for meats, you bet. ALL THE TIME. And I'll freeze 'better' meats that I wouldn't have before. With the air removed a steak is still bright red months later. Mine has certainly paid for itself.

          11 Replies
          1. re: c oliver

            My SIL swears by hers and seals all of her produce but keeps it in the refrigerator. She says she can keep most of her produce fresh for weeks. Now, I'm not saying that's always the case, but this is what she claims.

            I do like the idea of buying some meats in bulk.

            1. re: FoodChic

              She must not vacuum seal just seal? And if that's the case wouldn't zipping bags work just as well. I'm sure I'm missing something here.

              1. re: c oliver

                When I use Ziplocs, I press all the air out by hand before closing. Same difference.

                1. re: coll

                  We grind our own meat and when I freeze burgers I wrap each one VERY tightly in plastic wrap and then in a zipping bag. Works great.

                  1. re: c oliver

                    Keeping the air out is what it's all about. No matter how you accomplish it.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      If you have the freezer space, put each ground beef patty in a plastic sandwich bag, fold shut, and stack them in a metal coffee can---put the plastic lid on---freeze.

                      1. re: Querencia

                        We put a bunch of the tightly wrapped ones in gallon zipping bags.

                        Does coffee still come in cans?!? :)

                        1. re: c oliver

                          Usually 12 oz instead of the usual 16 oz. :/ So the burgers may have a smaller diameter.

                2. re: FoodChic

                  Strawberries, raspberries, etc keep perfectly for 3-4x as long as any other storage method when in the FS storage jars, especially the ripe local fruit as opposed to the supermarket "two tone" picked way too early. Important not to rinse them before storage.

                  1. re: axial

                    Or any type of sealed jar, for that matter.

                3. re: c oliver

                  I FS chicken all the time. I freeze them in portions. It's great.

                4. Just sold my "like new" Foodsaver plus tons of extra bags on eBay. There was quite the bidding war since I thought I'd have to let it go cheap, but not so!

                  I discovered that Ziplocks were a lot easier and a lot cheaper. I kept the tubs for saving compostable items in my kitchen, so it wasn't a total loss.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: coll

                    Hi, coll. Curious why you got rid of it.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      I was going through my kitchen cabinets before Thanksgiving, and was digging way too hard to find something, so I decided anything that hadn't been used in over a year or two would get put up for sale on eBay or Craigslist for the holidays. It's a little hobby of mine lately.