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drago

The Food Saver/Vacuum Sealer Topic, 2011 to Present

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I want to be able to seal the original lids on the gallon jars.

Andie,

You may well be right. I have never seen the "universal jar sealer" because the website is defunct, but some of the descriptions I've seen of it refer to tape to seal a hole in the lid.

My search continues. I may have to invent what I need.

I got a Takaje vacuum sealer as a Christmas present; I think this might be the machine you are looking for.

http://www.takaje.it/?page_id=88

It comes with valves, which can be applied to jar lids, and the machine has an attachment for sucking the air out of the jars. They are also selling bottle plugs, and vacuum boxes, but I have no experience about those (yet).

It works very well, tough I have only been using if for a couple of weeks.

Hosting Team Note: See this extensive topic for discussion on the subject prior to 2011

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I'm glad you bumped this topic up. I got some info and forgot to post it.

One of my friends has a unit with the tubing attachment and bought a needle valve - he got it at a hobby store - which is like the things we used to use to inflate basketballs, etc.

It came with the fitting so he could attach it to the tubing and he just drills a tiny hole in the metal lids to admit the needle, surrounds the needle with the silicone sealer (food grade) vacuums it and withdraws the needle. He says that once the silicone has set, it is possible to open the jar, reseal and revacuum it without needing to add more sealant.

He says the sealant is made by Tundra.


Edited by andiesenji (log)

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Drago,

Thanks, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for. It does look neat, though.

Andie,

That sounds interesting. I'll have to look for that. So, does he just poke through the sealant the next time he wants to seal the jar?

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Drago,

Thanks, but that's not exactly what I'm looking for. It does look neat, though.

Andie,

That sounds interesting. I'll have to look for that. So, does he just poke through the sealant the next time he wants to seal the jar?

Yes, the silicone remains quite flexible so when the needle is withdrawn the vacuum in the jar sucks the soft silicone into the opening.

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I want to be able to seal the original lids on the gallon jars.

Andie,

You may well be right. I have never seen the "universal jar sealer" because the website is defunct, but some of the descriptions I've seen of it refer to tape to seal a hole in the lid.

My search continues. I may have to invent what I need.

I got a Takaje vacuum sealer as a Christmas present; I think this might be the machine you are looking for.

http://www.takaje.it/?page_id=88

It comes with valves, which can be applied to jar lids, and the machine has an attachment for sucking the air out of the jars. They are also selling bottle plugs, and vacuum boxes, but I have no experience about those (yet).

It works very well, tough I have only been using if for a couple of weeks.

Hi Drago, welcome to eGullet! And thanks for the link, very interesting machine. Can you regulate the vacuum via the built-in external-vacuum-tube, as shown in my post on sealing liquids?

Some links on the takaje homepage do not work, so here are some useful links:

Takaje catalog

Valves for jar lids

Vacuum box

Bags at a reasonable price (100 pcs./package)

Video showing machine and accessories

Regards

Pedro


Edited by PedroG (log)

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Hi Drago, welcome to eGullet! And thanks for the link, very interesting machine. Can you regulate the vacuum via the built-in external-vacuum-tube, as shown in my post on sealing liquids?

Regards

Pedro

I just tried bagging some water, and yes, your method works. Thanks for the tutorial. It is a bit tricky, as the tubing attachment must be lifted out from its holder to regulate the vacuum, but I am confident that with some practice one could get excellent results.

I have another idea concerning sous viding liquids - I wonder weather using a sealed and vacumed glass jar holding the liquid inside the cooker would work. The takaje valve would make this possible, and it would greatly simplify the sous viding of creme anglaise for instance, and the jar could be re used.

Also Pedro I have to thank you for suggesting a Weck canner for a possible vessel. Encouraged by you and Dougal's post about his experiences with his Lidl cooker

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=129877&view=findpost&p=1761768

I bought a Clatronic EKA 3338

http://www.idealo.de/preisvergleich/OffersOfProduct/2136208_-eka-3338-clatronic.html

which seems to be the same model, I have been using it in the last few days paired with a SousVideMagic 1500D, and the setup shows lots of promise indeed. I shall report about it in more detail in the sous vide equipment topic.

Regards:

drago

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Yes, the silicone remains quite flexible so when the needle is withdrawn the vacuum in the jar sucks the soft silicone into the opening.

Very cool. I will have to check it out.

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The Takaje site links to some videos of their system, including this one:

Zowie! It's been too long for me to do the math to figure out how much vacuum that's pulling to get the water to boil as (somewhat above) room temperature. (I think that when the metal lid goes on, some condensation forms on the inside of the jar, which tells me that they are starting with something like hot tap water, not actually "room temp") I'd be sporting a lot of protective gear to do that with a normal glass jar, but it's still impressive - looks like flash pickling would be possible with that setup.

Anyway, let me ask the question that I'm sure others have thought: How hard would it be to make your own chamber system?

I've never played with a chamber system myself, but they don't seem to be terribly complicated. When you're running one of them all day in a commercial operation, having a "load, push the button, fill the next bag, swap out bags, push button, repeat" control system makes a lot of sense. But for a home user, turning a vac pump on and off manually, triggering the sealer manually, and opening a valve to flood the chamber manually isn't so bad.

So, if I understand correctly, we're talking about the following components:

The chamber itself, where it would be nice to have a clear top, with a convenient hinged action, which must seal against the base of the chamber. (sheet polycarbonate?)

You'd need to be able to clean out the interior of the chamber to keep things sanitary. (Would a heavy gauge stainless steam pan potentially work for the body? Would that risk crumpling under too much vacuum? Because the lid/chamber would not be bolted together, if it failed, it should not do so "spectacularly" - any crumpling would pull the pan away from the lid, breaking the seal quickly.)

Inside the chamber, some "props" could be useful, particularly for bagging liquids - but these are not absolutely necessary.

Inside the chamber, a sealing bar, with a way to trigger it from outside the chamber. The wiring feeding the sealer would have to run through the wall of the chamber, and if the chamber is metal, not short out. (If the chamber is metal, then grounding the chamber would be a good idea.) Plus, a pressure resistant seal around the wire penetration would be good. (Perhaps a tight hole and some well cured silicone might be adequate?) Amazon shows a wide variety of moderately priced "impulse sealers" for under US$100. From the previous thread on "foodsaver" type systems, the wider the seal the better - the cheap impulse sealers list widths in the range of 2mm to 6mm - that doesn't sound so great. Activating the sealer externally might be as easy and locking the trigger and only plugging the unit in when the vacuum level in the chamber is correct.

The vacuum pump itself, along with tubing to the chamber, and a release valve. Basic pumps seem to run US$120 to US$200. Higher capacity pumps will evacuate the air from a larger chamber faster, of course. A stand-alone pump could have other uses, from vac sealing mason jars with a lid-adapter to supplying the vacuum for a rotary evaporator.... mwahahahahahahah!!! (oh, dear... was I twirling my handelbar moustache just then?)

Ideally, a gauge to display the "amount" of vacuum in the chamber would be good - it might be easy to mount it through the lid.

Does anyone know what level of vacuum a "standard" chamber vac pulls, or what level is needed for flash pickling or some of the Keller "Under Pressure" techniques?

Clearly I'm proposing a Franen-appliance hack, but compared with US$1000 and up, for a non-commercial system, this might work for exploring some actual sous vide techniques...

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In this video the water temperature must have been 60°C or above, as the Takaje Deluxe is specified to pull 80% vacuum (the Takaje T-43 Pro would pull 90%, it would boil at 46°C). See my table and a post in the main SV topic.

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In this video the water temperature must have been 60°C or above, as the Takaje Deluxe is specified to pull 80% vacuum (the Takaje T-43 Pro would pull 90%, it would boil at 46°C). See my table and a post in the main SV topic.

I wonder what sort of stand-alone pump would be required for the 99.9% vacuum that you find in the chamber vacs?

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Interesting that it's not retort-pouch compatible: anyone know why not?

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I am really regretting not just buying this in the first place and instead plunking down $400 for the weston pro-2300

My one concern is that you do have flexibility to do bigger bags with the side sealer (I can do a whole primal in mine).

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I am really regretting not just buying this in the first place and instead plunking down $400 for the weston pro-2300

My one concern is that you do have flexibility to do bigger bags with the side sealer (I can do a whole primal in mine).

That's the one thing I'll miss about my Weston. The 16 inch sealer bar is nice.

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I posted this in the other thread as well, but I think they are essentially selling a $150 decal that says Sous Vide Supreme

http://www.qualitymatters.com/VacMaster-Chamber-Vacuum-Sealer-VP112-by-ARY-p/qmar-vp112.htm

I tried to find the "other thread" but failed somehow. Does anyone have this unit? It seems to be considerably cheaper than any other chamber sealer out there which makes me nervous. I don't use my sealer all that often but it would be nice to seal wet things without much fuss.

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I've got a Weston Pro-2300 edge vacuum sealer. Although it has a manual seal button, I've never been able to get a good vacuum and seal for bags that have any significant volume of liquid (e.g.short ribs in a brine for pastrami). Either I would press the seal button too fast and not get a good vacuum, or I'd wait too long and liquid would enter the vacuum area and prevent the seal. Normally in a case like this, I would revert to the low-tech displacement technique using a ziploc bag and a container of water.

The other day, I tried a new approach: I submerged a vacuum pouch containing the ribs/brine into the water bath, displacing all air. Then, with the Weston right up next to water bath I inserted the unsealed end of the pouch just over the seal bar, but not actually into the vacuum area. This let me use the Weston effectively as a impulse sealer. I got a high quality seal, no air in the pouch and no liquid in the Weston! I repeated a few times to get mulitple seals for a 72H sous vide session. Here's a shot of one of the bags at about 40H.

photo.jpg

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Sealing liquids or leftovers using an edge sealer

Modernist Cuisine 2•219 describes a trick to fill liquids into a vacuum bag, about like this:

gallery_65177_6916_74190.jpg

(in Nathan's picture the size of bag and container are more congruent)

I have described earlier how to seal liquids using an edge sealer.

Here is a video showing the trick:

Using a large bag and flattening the contents minimizes chilling / freezing / thawing / heating times:

gallery_65177_6916_72463.jpg

@Borgstrom:

The Weston Pro-2300 edge vacuum sealer seems to lack an auxiliary port for evacuating rigid containers; this makes sealing liquids a lot more tricky. Suppose you want the liquid in the bag to rise no more than 50mm, this is 50mm water column or 3.68mmHg or 0.0049 bar or roughly 0.5% vacuum. Edge sealers usually pull 80% vacuum, and I doubt you can set the vacuum limit as low as 0.5%. I am glad you found an alternative trick.

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@Borgstrom:

The Weston Pro-2300 edge vacuum sealer seems to lack an auxiliary port for evacuating rigid containers; this makes sealing liquids a lot more tricky.

It has two ports in the vacuum area - one for the vacuum suction, the other for the vacuum sensor. The vacuum suction port can be used for accessories - I have tried it a few times to do things like make aerated chocolate, but not for sealing liquids. I eventually got a cheap impulse sealer (about $40 online) to make my liquid sealing a bit easier. Some day I'll have to go all the way and get a chamber machine....

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Interesting that it's not retort-pouch compatible: anyone know why not?

Chris, I just came across your post, and see that no one has responded to it.

There are basically two problems with a retort pouch. The first is that such pouches don't have the waffle construction that is necessary to allow the air to escape, and for that reason they cannot be used on the outside of a chamber vacuum, or with an edge sealer. (I recently bought some 8" x 18" pouches used for whole fish filets. It wouldn't fit inside my Minipack MVS31X without doubling it over, or trimming it.)

Now, the Sous Vide Supreme machine isn't an edge sealer, so that shouldn't be a problem. But the other problem is that retort pouches are about 7mm thick, and typically have a gold-colored metallic foil to different them from bags intended for use at lower temperatures. For that reason, it takes a lot more heat, or a longer time, to get a good seal.

In my case, Doug at Doug Care Equipment recommended that I increase the seal time on my machine from the normal 2.5 seconds up to the full 4 seconds when using a retort pouch.

The first time I tried it, I was trying to seal a beef tongue with 500 ml of water, which really stretched the limits of my machine. I must have gotten some water on the seal area, because it didn't seal at all. So I wiped it dry and tried it again, and this time the seal held. (I had forgotten that I had some 10" x 13" 3 mil boilable bags, which was why I was using the retort pouch. I didn't really need to, since I wasn't going to be canning the meat.)

So although I don't have the Sous Vide Supreme/Vacmaster sealer, and haven't read the instruction manual, I suspect that it doesn't have a way to increase the seal time, or else the seal bar doesn't get hot enough to seal a retort pouch.

One other thing to consider is that the Vacmaster uses a dry pump, whereas the Minipack and Henkle units use an oil pump. There are pros and cons -- the dry pump is less likely to have a problem if a fluid starts boiling within the chamber as a result of pulling too hard a vacuum, but on the other hand, I suspect it will wear out more quickly than an oil pump.

I'm very happy with my unit, but it WAS expensive.

Bob

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One other thing to consider is that the Vacmaster uses a dry pump, whereas the Minipack and Henkle units use an oil pump. There are pros and cons -- the dry pump is less likely to have a problem if a fluid starts boiling within the chamber as a result of pulling too hard a vacuum, but on the other hand, I suspect it will wear out more quickly than an oil pump.

Just to clarify, there are many Vacmaster chamber sealers that have oil pumps (including mine - the VP215). They're more expensive than the dry pump versions (just over $1000), but still a *lot* cheaper than anything by Minipack or Henkle.

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What other options are available for less than $150? I am fine with commercial or consumer models.

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They following two seem to have pretty much the same features and be in the same price range (in the UK)

  • Food Saver Vacuum Sealer - approx £120
  • SousVide Supreme Vacuum Sealer - approx £100

I would welcome any advise in helping me choose one over the other. Is there anything to distinguish them in terms of ongoing costs for vacuum rolls/pouches etc?

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