When storing both dried and cooked foods for extended periods of time, nothing beats having a dependable vacuum sealer on hand.
When I was a Personal Chef, I would cook one- to two-weeks' worth of meals for my clients that would store away in either their refrigerator or freezer. When it was time to eat, they would just heat and serve.
And this works very well for dried foods, too. Beans and grains that might last up to six months in your pantry will last far longer if you seal them - up to several years or more!
I realize you might think that was an exaggeration, but imagine this...
You come home from a long day at work, and you're just too exhausted to cook anything up.
That can be a thing of the past. If you have a few good recipes, you can whip them up on a day off, portion everything, then seal them up. They will last in the freezer for up to 3 months! Just defrost in the fridge for 24 hours for the best in food safety.
Or looking to save a lot of money on grocery bills? Buy beans and whole grains in bulk (waaaaaay cheaper in big bags). Seal them away in 4-5 cup increments. Then you can "go to the store" (your cupboard or storage closet) and pull out a bag whenever you need one.
The secret behind food sealing is keeping your food away from the four spoilers which are Oxygen, Moisture, Heat, and Light. Once you have sealed out the oxygen and humidity, merely store your foods away from heat and light.
It's that simple.
Sealing foods in this manner means your prepared food stays fresh 5 times longer. That means freshly cooked beans, for example, which usually last no more than 3-5 days before they start to go bad, can last all sealed up for 2-3 weeks.
If you'd like to explore vacuum sealing, you need a dependable sealer that will be easy to use -- in fact, I recommend you go a step further and get more than just a super basic sealer - you'll be happy you did.
Some features I always recommend looking for are two specific buttons, one which is a Vacuum/Sealing button which sucks out the oxygen and then automatically seals...
...and one button that is just a Seal. This way you can not only make "bags" from a long roll (much cheaper to do it that way), but if you're sealing something more delicate (like cake or kale chips), you can tell the machine to start sealing when you can see your food would get completely squished if it kept going. So that manual "override" is really handy.The sealer we currently use is no longer available, but we've done the research and found another great option for you!
This FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealer is a hard-working little machine.
One thing I really love about this particular sealer is that it adjusts the speed of the vacuum depending on whether you're sealing dry food or food with liquid in it. Smart.
"Is the plastic in the vacuum sealer BPA free? Because I am wondering about boiling the bags with the food in them."
-- Debbie, South Kempsey, State/Prov: New South Wales, Australia
Hi Debbie! According to the website of the makers of the FoodSaver® bags...
"Sunbeam Products, Inc. is diligent in our efforts to ensure that our products are compliant with all industry standards, including the regulations set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada. None of our FoodSaver® branded bags, rolls or canisters contains Bisphenol A."
THAT SAID, if you are uncomfortable with it, you can always just seal your stuff up, then remove it from the bags before heating. That works just as well. xo! Sass
One question I had myself (and which many people ask me) is: Can food sealer bags be recycled?
And the answer is: Sort of!
You CAN reuse the bags. Just wash them in hot soapy water, and air dry. You will notice the bag will get smaller and smaller since you need to cut it open each time. So if you plan on re-using them, best to start with a larger bag than you need the first time.
You can find the Foodsaver® vacuum bags in places like Target. Or order your bags/rolls online at Amazon.com.
But as far as placing your used sealer bags in the recyling bin? Nope, they are not recyclable so toss them in the garbage, don't add to your plastics recycling. (Thanks to Craig T. for pointing this out to us!)
Yes, there is a way to seal food without the plastic bags. Costs a little more at the outset, but I'm sure over the long term it would be a savings for you.
Look at the image of the FoodSaver above. Do you see that round hole in the bottom right-hand corner? That's an accessory port where a special hose gets plugged into. This special hose automatically comes with this model of the FoodSaver, but if you lost yours you can purchase a hose here.
You attach the other end of the hose into the specially-made canisters and containers made by FoodSaver, and you can suck the air out just as you would with the bags. And then you can reuse the containers.
The only thing is? It is hit or miss with the containers. Some of them work beautifully. And some crack or lose their seal. Also, the containers are also made of plastic, but they are usually BPA-free.
The one you would likely be most happy with is the Foodsaver Quick Marinator because it's a nice size, the container is well made, and you can use it to seal anything -- in other words, it's not just a marinator.
I have also heard good things about the smaller Deli Containers.
Hope you have found this article about vacuum sealers helpful.
Thanks for visiting. :)
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