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I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
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Saturday, January 13, 2007

FoodSaver® VS2480 Advanced Design Vacuum Sealer

Dazey Seal-A-Meal® came on the market in the 1960's. While it did not vacuum seal foods, it was and is still a very effective way to seal foods in bags. The bags were boilable increasing the convience for busy cooks. I have one of these sealers that is still in use. Food sealers evolved to include vacuuming capabilities. The food is placed in special bags then the air is removed eliminating freezer burn and extending storage times. If I recall correctly, the original Tilia was first marketed on television. On the heels of the popularity of these appliances several companies came out with less expensive vacuum sealers. I have a DCI that is one such vacuum sealer. It does a nice job sealing and a reasonable job of vacuuming. It is still in use but more for sealing than vacuuming. With the y2K scare the popularity of the food sealers gained momentum as people stored more foods. However, I think two of the main factors driving the renewed popularity of the vacuum sealers is the increasing cost of food coupled with the decreasing cost of the vacuum sealers. Uncertain job security and recent natural disasters have certainly played as factors in the increasing popularity of these appliances. At such low prices, the pay back for a vacuum sealer can easily be as short as a month! It is one of the most important appliances I have in my kitchen.

FoodSaver® VS2480 Advanced Design

An appliance has to really impress me in terms of quality, design and function before I will endorse it. I bought a different brand of vacuum sealer in August but less than three months, the drip tray cracked and it decided to function only sporatically so I took it back. I now have a FoodSaver® Advanced Design VS2480 purchased from Sam's Club for $108.99 US. It came with the vacuum appliance, two canisters (one shown), an attachment hose and the larger of the mason jar sealers. I bought the standard mason jar sealer separately for $8.98 at a kitchen outlet. I also bought three additional canisters in various sizes and have three of different brand. This FoodSaver® is very easy to use. I use the roll bag material, pre-made bags, canisters and mason jars.

Vacuum Sealed Bags

Pictured here is left-over turkey and stuffing from Thanksgiving. These packs were froze to be enjoyed later for a quick to put together meal. The re-heated turkey can be seen in the previous entry on pantry cooking.

Specialized channel bags are used for the FoodSaver® appliance. The channels are designed to aid with the quick removal of air. To vacuum seal in bags, simply place the food in the bag leaving 3-inches of space at the top. Place the top in the sealing channel then shut and lock the lid of the vacuum sealer. Press vacuum and seal. The motor will shut off when the vacuum in achieved. Remove the bag when the seal indicator light goes off. Once vacuum sealed the food is then ready for the freezer, refrigerator or pantry shelf depending on the food. When vacuum sealing soups or liquids freeze first then seal. Moist foods like meats and fish should be flash froze first then vacuum sealed.

Now one of the biggest complaints most users have with the bags is the cost. There are three ways to reduce this cost. First are the canisters specifically made for the vacuum appliance or you can modify the adapter to be used with other brands. From other comments the canisters are a case of you either love them or hate them. I love them for short term storage in the refrigerator but where they really excell is for saving dried and crushable foods like left-over homemade bread. Since homemade bread is preservative free it simply doesn't keep well but in a canister it will keep two to three days longer. That can be a real plus! Second, the mason jar sealers are worth their weight in gold as far as saving money on bags. Mason jars can be bought used at yard sales or resale stores and can be used over and over as can the lids. The best thing about sealing dried foods in mason jars aside of the fresh aspect is this keeps insects and rodents out of your food. The final way you can save on the bags is to buy online through other sources than the manufacturer's website. I found bags on an eBay store that ended up being excellent bags and considerably cheaper. The for me works out to be 10¢ less per bag when factoring in the shipping bringing the cost very close to that of the brand name zipper freezer bags. While I have no affiliation with this store other than being a very happy repeat customer so recommend them when I can.

Cheese Vacuum Sealed

We have been experimenting with cheeses. Now cheeses can be relatively expensive so vacuum sealing just makes sense. Freshness and flavour are preserved considerably longer than using other methods. This eliminates hard spots, molding and cross contamination of flavours.

This is one application where I will open and use some of the cheese then reseal the bag. While the bags are washable and re-useable unless used for meats and poultry, I seldom do this. Most of the bags I use are for freezing meats, poultry and cheeses.

Sealed Mason Jar

A vast majority of my dried foods, herbs and spices are sealed in mason jars. The glass eliminates rodent problems! This is a standard mouth mason jar that has been vacuum sealed to keep the bay leaves fresh. To seal, one end of the attachment hose is placed into the standard mason jar sealer and the other end is attached into the port on the vacuum sealer. If you look near the top you will see the end in the vacuum sealer port. The food is placed in the mason jar and the lid is centred. Then the standard mason jar sealer is placed over the lid with a slight push down and the vacuum sealer is turned on at the canister setting. The motor stops automatically when all air is removed from the canister creating a vacuum. Remove the attachment hose from the jar sealer. You will hear a slight air release but that is fine. Remove the jar sealer and the mason jar lid is now sealed tight. Place a ring on the lid and store.

Note: Vacuum sealing mason jars is not a substitute for heat canning methods. Vacuum sealing mason jars is meant for dried food or refrigerator storage.

Canisters

Canisters have a special top similar to the mason jar sealer. Simply place the food in the canister leaving at least 1-inch headspace. Place the lid on the canister. Attach one end of the attachment hose in the port of the lid and the other end in the attachment port on the appliance. Lock then press canister. The motor will stop when the canister is vacuum sealed. Remove the attachment hose from the lid and store the food. To unseal press the grey release button. They can be resealed if needed. The canisters are ideal for crushables like cereals, crackers, cookies and bread. The canister are for refrigerator or cabinet use only. The bottoms are top rack dishwasher safe but lids should be wiped only with a damp wash cloth.

The recommendation is to keep the FoodSaver® on your counter for easy use. However, this is not practical in smaller kitchens. This is an appliance that will see daily use, often many times throughout the day so having it in a place easily accessible is a benefit. Mine sits on top of a small chest freezer when not in use. Another good space for this appliance when not in use in smaller kitchens is on top of the refrigerator. At any rate, you will not regret keeping FoodSaver® within easy reach!


7 food lovers commented:

Jazmin said...

I just got a Rival Seal a Meal for Christmas and we're still getting the hang of using it. However, as we like buying in bulk and freezing, it's already been put to good use re-wrapping up roasts that got found on sale. I'm glad to see some more ways to use the sealer!

jaynes ave said...

Hi,
I just stumbled upon your blog while surfing the web looking for some help. I just got this same FoodSaver with the mason jar sealing attachment and I love it! However, I don't know of a way, other than the dangerous prying butter knife method, to get the jar lid off once it's sealed. The FoodSaver does such a great job of creating a tight seal, but how does one get the lid off without spilling the contents all over? Any tips?

Thanks!

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Jaynes. Thanks for visiting my blog. I pop the lids off using a spoon against the side of the lid then giving a slight tug.

weaving one said...

I also use a spoon, but first I look for the top thread where it ends closest to the flat on top of the jar. Then I place the spoon against the flat, and bracing it against the end of the top thread, twist it, which levers the flat edge up enough to break the seal, and usually without bending the flat out of shape. When someone uses a pop bottle opener, it works well, but it tends to bend the jar flat out of shape. I like to reuse them for dry storage, or for storing milk from my micro dairy in the fridge. Sometimes they reseal when we put warm milk in a jar in the fridge.

Anonymous said...

I use the blunt end of the old fashioned pry can openers. Remember the ones with the pointy end (canned milk) and the blunt end?

It also doesn't leave a mark or damage the seal. I've used the lids for hot canning.

Jeanne

Garden Gnome said...

Hi Jeanne and thanks for visiting. I think that type of can opener is called a key but I could be wrong. My experience has been that a spoon does the least amount of damage. Of course once a lid has been used for canning it should not be re-used for canning but is good for vacuum sealing and dry storage.

Peggy said...

I too, just stumbled on this blog while looking for sealing bags. My question is: Can I use bags for the Rival Seal a Meal with my very vintage 1970s Dazey Seal a Meal? I have used it off and on for years and just ran out of rolls of bags! It is not a vacuum sealer but I like it and would like to find bags that will work with my little machine. Thank you.