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Anyone have a vacuum food storage system

LittleMissMuffin's picture

We are looking into getting a vacuum-type food storage system. We are seeing prices that range from $59.99 to $299 in primarily three brands - Rival, Food Saver, and Tilia. What model do you have? Do you wish you'd bought a different model? What's the best brand and what's the best feature on the model you have? Finally, would you recommend buying one of these?

Gretchen's picture

(post #62678, reply #1 of 28)

Tilia is FoodSaver.  There are many testimonials here for it, maybe principally mine!  Since you haven't heard it from me, I always say I have saved enough on cheese alone to pay for all my FoodSavers.


I currently have (again) the plain pipe rack one--it just vacuums and seals. It may be available on Amazon for about $50.  I have had the one with all the bells and whistles that you can use with containers.  Mine did not ever perform very well on that, and finally gave up on all vacuuming. I need to see if I can get it fixed.


I love love love mine. You can buy things in bulk and repackage in smaller packages.  There are some tricks to making the best use of the bags which many of us can help with if you get one. The bags are reuseable.  Replacement bags can be bought at WalMart.


Gretchen
Gretchen
LittleMissMuffin's picture

(post #62678, reply #5 of 28)

I am looking for one that uses the bags, not canisters. We're having our own sausage made and the butcher wanted 40 cetns a pound to vacuum pack it. No thanks.


Is the one you love use the bags or the roll of bags so you can choose your own size?


 

Jillsifer's picture

(post #62678, reply #6 of 28)

I'm not Gretchen but the basic FoodSaver model allows you to use either the roll or the bag.


I'm kind of longing for the bigger, fancier one so I can do, say, enchiladas or something ahead of time and freeze them.


 


 

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

Gretchen's picture

(post #62678, reply #7 of 28)

I'm not really differentiating between "roll" and "bag".  I make a "bag" from a "roll".  I think it is Aberwacky that likes to use the pre-made bags.


Yes, I reuse my bag after opening to use some cheese. I start out with a larger bag than I know I'll need so  I can re-seal it. I would never have thought about using the canister for cheese.


Jill, you can do a partial seal without crushing your enchiladas.  Put them in a foil pan, for example, and pull the vacuum almost done. Then switch quickly to "seal only", still holding the lid down tightly.  If yours doesn't have the "seal only" feature, you can pulse the vacuum and it will "fool" it without pulling it tight.


Someone mentioned needing to freeze meat before sealing. Jean first suggested putting the meat in a plastic bag first and then vacuuming it. This keeps the inside of the vacuum bag cleaner and also doesn't let the juices suck out.  There are just some little tricks to various things that you learn as you go along.


Gretchen
Gretchen
Jillsifer's picture

(post #62678, reply #8 of 28)

Oh, WOW! I'm trying it this weekend. Thank you!

 


 

Christmas is the season for kindling the fire of hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.

-- Washington Irving

mer's picture

(post #62678, reply #9 of 28)

I love mine.  It isn't quite fool proof but close.  I bought mine at Costco and got all the canisters etc.  I've never used them.  LOL.  Also it came with many rolls and bags.  I've hated the rolls.  The rolls are cheaper, but they dont' seem to seal as well for me.  It could be user error, but that's fine by me. 


Also I agree with the above post regarding sealing liquids.  Freeze first, then seal.


Mine is FoodSaver. 


Edited 1/20/2006 3:19 pm ET by MER

Aberwacky's picture

(post #62678, reply #10 of 28)

I use the cannisters for powdery things that benefit from a lack of air, like dry mustard (I make a bunch around the holidays for gifts), whole grain flours, etc.


They work very well for that.  Also great for brown sugar--stays nice and soft.


Leigh


 


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DJ's picture

(post #62678, reply #12 of 28)

 


 Since it is just two of us, I use the canisters to store oyster crackers(were always stale because they last a while), and other snacks, such as pretzels, chips. etc.


Keeps them fresh and crisp.

If you eat pasta and antipasta, are you still hungry?

soccermom's picture

(post #62678, reply #2 of 28)

I have a Food Saver; it was on sale at Costco. I do like it but I find it frustrating sometimes. I don't have space on my counter, so it's a hassle pulling it out, and I can't always get a proper vacuum seal the first or second time. It is also difficult to seal wet things so I have to freeze them and then vacuum seal, or place in a ziplock and then seal, which seems a bit overkill.


The canisters are good, especially for cheese. I reuse the bags, thanks to someone here.


I'm glad I have one but it isn't quite as foolproof as I'd hoped. Or I'm just more of a fool. :)


 


 

 

 

Gretchen's picture

(post #62678, reply #3 of 28)

I just seal my cheese in bags. The canisters are supposed to be good for keeping fruits or herbs for a long time.  Mine NEVER worked adequately. That is the reason I went back to the very basic one like the first one I ever had--when I think that was all they made--long years ago.

Gretchen

Gretchen
soccermom's picture

(post #62678, reply #4 of 28)

That's interesting about your canisters. I need the cheese, especially a huge chunk of parmesan, stored for longer periods than fruit. DDs will get through fruit very quickly, and I just keep buying more herbs.


I don't have any problems with the canisters, except a complaint that they are round and therefore take up too much space in my fridge. Do you reuse the cheese bag after opening it?


 


 

 

 

Lee's picture

(post #62678, reply #11 of 28)

I bought the basic Food Saver model from Amazon ($49) and love it.  Ice crystals are a thing of the past, and I've not had anything develop freezer burn.  The literature claims that vacume sealed foods can be frozen or refrigerated longer with no loss of quality.  I haven't used it for anything that goes into the fridge, but I know others who post here do.  It came with several premade bags and 2 sizes of rolls, which helps to determine what you're most likely to need for your purposes.  I subsequently bought rolls at Costco.  The bags are quicker and easier to use, but the rolls give more flexibility as to size.  I recently sealed a whole brisket, an 8 rib rack of pork, chicken parts, and lamb chops and was able to customize the size of the bags.  The bags can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher and reused over and over until they're too small to hold anything (every time you open a bag, you lose an inch or so off the top).  I wrap meat and poultry in plastic wrap before sealing, which works well to prevent moisture from getting into the motor.  I highly recommend it.  

unbaked's picture

(post #62678, reply #13 of 28)

Honestly, mine was 'state of the art' when I bought it, the Pro II. I use it for sealing bags. I used the jar sealing and canisters for a while and honestly, they were only so-so.


If I had it to do over again, I'd go more basic.


Definitely buy your bags on Ebay :)

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

Gretchen's picture

(post #62678, reply #14 of 28)

I think WalMart might be competitive. I haven't looked at their prices lately but you can buy individual size rolls of bags.  And no shipping.  Someone mentioned Office Depot as a source also, whichseemed unusual.

Gretchen

Gretchen
mer's picture

(post #62678, reply #15 of 28)

One of the things I use the most is the sealing feature. I have saved a lot of money on cereal, rice, potato chips, tortilla chips etc.. It is so nice to be able to buy a big bag of chips and then reseal them so that they are still in great shape a month later. Don't think that you have to use the bought bags for everything. You can reseal all sorts of plastic bags. It really extends the life of so many things.

MadMom's picture

(post #62678, reply #16 of 28)

You beat me to it.  My younger DD probably uses hers more for that than she does for repacking food.  Great for resealing chips, crackers, etc., which might otherwise go stale and/or dry out.



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wisekaren's picture

(post #62678, reply #17 of 28)

Can you explain what "resealing" means? I've never used one of these things, but I'm starting to get intrigued...!
Karen

Gretchen's picture

(post #62678, reply #18 of 28)

On the FoodSavers made now (wasn't possible on my first one) there are two settings--"vacuum and seal"  and "seal".  You can use the seal setting to re-seal many different packagings--potato chips, crackers, etc. rather than using, say, a twist tie.


One other use that is a big savings for us, cooking for just two, is to vacuum reseal bacon.  Once opened, as everyone knows, bacon tends to go off fairly quickly. This saves it.
This is also the way I keep deli sliced meat fresh.


Gretchen


Edited 1/24/2006 7:19 am ET by Gretchen

Gretchen
wisekaren's picture

(post #62678, reply #19 of 28)

So...does it put a zip-lock type closure on it? Can you reseal again and again? I'm liking the sound of this feature!
Karen

Gretchen's picture

(post #62678, reply #20 of 28)

No the seal is heat/fused. You have to cut it open each time, either vacuumed or just sealed. That is one reason that if you think you will open a bag, use some of the product and then close it again (either vacuumed or not) you begin with a bag larger than what the product is.

Gretchen

Gretchen
wisekaren's picture

(post #62678, reply #21 of 28)

OK, so you wouldn't use it for something you eat every day or two -- more likely, say, if you buy a jumbo bag of chips and want to divide it into three smaller ones. I get it.
Karen


Edited 1/24/2006 9:45 am ET by wisekaren

mer's picture

(post #62678, reply #22 of 28)

Re-sealing the bags is a fantastic feature.  You will love it.

soccermom's picture

(post #62678, reply #23 of 28)

Yanno, I'm thinking I should actually read the manual. I had no idea I could do this with mine, which I've had since last summer. LOL.

 


 

 

 

mer's picture

(post #62678, reply #24 of 28)

it is silly, but i love re-packaging foods into my own fun-size packs.  For a camping trip, I packed about 1/4 c measures of M&Ms and nuts in these cute little packages.  It is nice to be able to have a few without the whole bag spilling out.

soccermom's picture

(post #62678, reply #25 of 28)

No, not silly at all; very useful.


Well, maybe a little silly that you think you can't finish a whole bag of M&Ms :)



 


 


Edited 1/24/2006 12:11 pm ET by Canuck

 

 

mer's picture

(post #62678, reply #27 of 28)

jsut an fyi, zip lock bags work pretty well with the foodsaver, but the heat is a bit too hot for them.  Be gentle when removing the plastic bag from the still hot sealing strip.  The thinner the plastic bag, the more chance of the sealed part stretching.  If you are careful and let the strip cool down a bit between uses, you will not have a problem.  I would not try to seal thin plastic produce bags.

soccermom's picture

(post #62678, reply #28 of 28)

Thanks, I'll try this.

 


 

 

 

Gretchen's picture

(post #62678, reply #26 of 28)

In our climate we seal chips somehow after every chip is taken out!! I don't repackage--and actally Idon't use the FoodSaver for this although I know you can.


Our kids live in Denver and fuss at me because I leave the bread wrapper open which leads to ossification in about 10 minutes.  However they leave the chips and cereal open in order to "crisp up".
They come here and I fuss at them--well, you get the idea.


Gretchen


Edited 1/24/2006 12:19 pm ET by Gretchen

Gretchen