Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Hand-held vacuum food saver


Anna N
 Share

Recommended Posts

some things need to breath more than others. Mushrooms will still get slimy in a sealed bag. I have some green onions that are going on 3 weeks that show little deterioration. Most if not all of the cheese sold in grocery stores is sealed in plastic so I would assume that if you could reseal without air that would be better than just placed in a zip lock bag.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks to all of you, I found it on sale for $6 at the local store in a starter kit with bags. I bought a set of gallon bags and bought the family deal at the local butcher. I thought the darn little thing worked great. I found you have to press hard on the valve then lift a little and it sealed in no time. We are definitely giving them to everybody.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So I've had mine for a couple weeks now, and I still love it, and I'm still on the first set of batteries (this is after sealing and resealing probably over a hundred cycles in the gallon bags). The ability to package up a large batch of, say, sausages into a single bag, freeze them, then take one out and re-seal it, vacuum and all, is fantastic. They are also more compact than storing things in tupperware, so I actually have more room in my freezer now. They also came along at a perfect time for me: this month I am very busy and had to make a lot of our meals ahead: they're all vacu-sealed in the freezer, ready to go. I still want a food saver to try some serious sous vide, but for my purposes, this thing is great.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Glad you chimed in Chris.

Does anyone know if these bags can be safely sous vide?

I am working on a sous vide rig with a hotplate and stirring bar from our chem supply sister company, but I have my doubts on these bags. Has anybody called Reynolds by any chance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife called Reynolds and the rep said no, absolutely not. They are not designed to be heated. Of course, the box says they are microwave safe... I, however, am never one to take manufacturer's reps at their word, so I tried it anyway. First, I took a bag and filled it with food colored water. I put that in a sous vide bath at 180 deg. F (I think... check the sous vide thread, it's in there). After 10 hours there was no leakage from the bag, so that told me they could withstand the punishment without completely disolving. But, since I'm kinda paranoid about leaching plastic into my food, I took one of their slow cooker bags and used it to line the inside of the vacuum bag. I did sous vide chicken breast this way with no trouble at all.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My wife called Reynolds and the rep said no, absolutely not. They are not designed to be heated. Of course, the box says they are microwave safe... I, however, am never one to take manufacturer's reps at their word, so I tried it anyway. First, I took a bag and filled it with food colored water. I put that in a sous vide bath at 180 deg. F (I think... check the sous vide thread, it's in there). After 10 hours there was no leakage from the bag, so that told me they could withstand the punishment without completely disolving. But, since I'm kinda paranoid about leaching plastic into my food, I took one of their slow cooker bags and used it to line the inside of the vacuum bag. I did sous vide chicken breast this way with no trouble at all.

Oh well, thanks for doing the leg work. Still a great tool as we buy in bulk at the butcher shop.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got one about a week ago. Since we're a household of two, I often freeze in smaller portions. This thing works great so far so maybe I can stop having such a problem with freezer burn.

I find it works best if most of the air is pushed out before sealing the bag.

Got mine at Wal Mart after two tries. I guess they were selling fast.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am victorious! I now have in my hot little hands - Hand-held vacuum food saver! Bought on my behalf across the border in Seattle by a friend - Heavens! not just a friend - but my new best friend. It is EXACTLY as I hoped. I've been experimenting and so far, I'm thrilled with the results. I vacuumed some crackers from an opened box and actually heard some of them beginning to snap under the pressure. I've sealed parmesan cheese and the fridge is now beginning cringe each time I open the the door.

Food - brace yourselves ... I'm armed and I mean business!

Rover

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I really like this gizmo for keeping bread fresh. I learned the hard way that if you just shove a fresh, cooled loaf into the bag and seal it, the hard crust makes tiny holes in the bag. Not good. But when wrapped in a paper towel or in a paper bag first, the bag doesn't get perforated, and the bread stays unbelievably fresh. Also, I've had great luck with freezing snickerdoodles this way (they never stay frozen very long!). I am so tickled that I got these for a lot of people on my Christmas list.

Kay

Edited by Special K (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

can anyone tell me more about using a manual Vacuvin (the wine saver thing) with these bags? Does it attach directly, or is there some sort of adapter. It would be nice to try out the bags without even needing to buy the electric vacuum pump.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah well... I emailed them first thing this morning about Canadian sources and am still waiting for a response!

Did they ever get back to you? I picked one up at a Target in North Dakota, and I'm wondering how I'm going to get more bags when I run out. . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah well... I emailed them first thing this morning about Canadian sources and am still waiting for a response!

Did they ever get back to you? I picked one up at a Target in North Dakota, and I'm wondering how I'm going to get more bags when I run out. . .

No, they never did and so far I have not heard of a single person who has found a Canadian store that carries the gadget or the bags.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

can anyone tell me more about using a manual Vacuvin (the wine saver thing) with these bags? Does it attach directly, or is there some sort of adapter.  It would be nice to try out the bags without even needing to buy the electric vacuum pump.

I used the wine cork that comes with the Vacuvins as an "adapter" of sorts. It works OK, though for only $10 the Reynolds gizmo is worth every cent. I just put the wine cork on the bag valve, held it there by lightly pressing down on the bottom section of the vacuvin, while pumping the vacuvin with my other hand. Takes a bit of finesse...

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

can anyone tell me more about using a manual Vacuvin (the wine saver thing) with these bags? Does it attach directly, or is there some sort of adapter.  It would be nice to try out the bags without even needing to buy the electric vacuum pump.

I used the wine cork that comes with the Vacuvins as an "adapter" of sorts. It works OK, though for only $10 the Reynolds gizmo is worth every cent. I just put the wine cork on the bag valve, held it there by lightly pressing down on the bottom section of the vacuvin, while pumping the vacuvin with my other hand. Takes a bit of finesse...

Thanks, Chris. I think maybe I'll just pick up the starter pack with the vacuum tool.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a recent new owner of the system - I must endorse getting the starter package. I've been delighted with the performance and really pleased that the unit itself fits snugly and easily into a drawer.

I find it so convenient to use and powerful enough to snap crackers into pieces, so be careful about that!

I am also facing the same difficulties about getting the bags in Canada - my friends and acquaintances who cross the border on shopping trips are getting tired of my requests. I can't understand why Reynolds aren't more responsive to an obviously eager market here. They've not responded to any of my messages, either.

Rover

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in Australia, so there's pretty much no chance of being to buy a Handi-Vac over here. I've got a friend in the US sending me some stuff, and I was considering getting her to include a Starter Kit. However, I wonder if it would be worth it since I wouldn't be able to get any extra bags (short of having them sent over from America) locally. Is it possible to re-use the bags by simply washing them?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm in Australia, so there's pretty much no chance of being to buy a Handi-Vac over here. I've got a friend in the US sending me some stuff, and I was considering getting her to include a Starter Kit. However, I wonder if it would be worth it since I wouldn't be able to get any extra bags (short of having them sent over from America) locally. Is it possible to re-use the bags by simply washing them?

I feel your pain! I am sure they will eventually make it here (a stone's throw from the border with the US and eventually to Europe and Australia!). In the meantime here's my take on the re-usability of the bags:

If you have stored meat or anything potentially bacteria-making in them then NO! They cannot be successfully and safely cleaned. There is a double layer that is not leakproof within the bag and liquid seeps in there and cannot be really removed with any degree of confidence. If you are storing baked goods, breads, hard cheeses and similar then yes, they can be re-used (I pre-wrap cheese in plastic wrap before putting in the Reynolds bags). They are not indestructible, however, and will eventually develop pin-holes.

On the brighter side - they are very lightweight so if you have a friend or relative who will ship them to you AFTER removing all the excess packaging! then you should be able to stock up at a reasonable shipping cost.

I hope other owners will chip in with their opinions so you have a better take on this.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to comment
Share on other sites

^ I agree with the reusability of bags that haven't had anything bacteria-inducing in them. I've reused them for nuts and curry leaves. The one that held my Wallace and Gromit inspired Christmas Wensleydale, however, got tossed because some liquid got into that little pocket. I didn't want to risk it.

That's a great idea to wrap first then seal. I'll do that next time with cheese.

-L

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for the advice, Anna and lperry! I was thinking of getting the Handi-Vac so that I could buy meat in bulk. If I can't re-use bags for that purpose, then scratch that. I'll get the dang thing anyway - I'm sure I'll be able to put it to good use with other perishables.

Eventually, I'll get myself a Foodsaver. In the meantime, this'll do! :smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I performed an unscientific experiment with cheese that was a success.

On Dec. 30th, I had opened a one pound package of sharp cheddar cheese to use for a recipe and didn't use all of the cheese.

I put the remaining little block of cheese in one of the small sealer bags and used the hand-held vacuum to remove all of the air in the bag. I put the bag in my fridge and basically forgot about it.

Yesterday, 34 days after storing the cheese in the fridge, I opened the bag. There was not a speck of mold on the cheese. There was some salt leaching on the sides of the cheese but that was it. It was still good to use.

This little machine is a winner. :wub:

Is there any trick to getting the sealer to start sealing right away? I usually have to move the sealer around on the bag opening before it finally "takes" and starts sealing.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there any trick to getting the sealer to start sealing right away? I usually have to move the sealer around on the bag opening before it finally "takes" and starts sealing.

I thought maybe this was just me... I have the same trouble. For a while I thought I figured out the "trick" but it doesn't seem to work any more.

On another note, I finally managed to run the original set of batteries into the ground yesterday. I have had the thing since close to their release and have used it easily over 100 times, and maybe more like 200 times, on both bag sizes. I would say that the battery life is very good, but probably still worth using rechargeables if you already have a charger for other stuff.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...