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Chamber Vacuum Sealers, 2011–2014


roygon
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I have been crazy busy as of late so I get 10 mins here and 15 mins there to test with it, so here are some observations.

I have never used a chamber sealer before so there is some learning curve I am findung.

When you put something in a bag, and, put the open flap over the sealer bar, there is nothing that physically holds it there.. So as the pump sucks air out of the chamber, the bag tends to drift toward the pump and away from the sealer bar (assuming light items). The lighter the food in question (i.e. tomatoes and watermelon), the more they "walk". It only becomes an issue if it walks far enough to pull the bag opening across the sealer bar so it will not seal.

Its really not a big deal just something I never considered. Easily rectified with a weight blocking the movement.

It made delicious Pickles in 18 hrs, that to me tasted like they could have been going for days/weeks and still crunchy.

Toasted Marshmellow Infusion - Toast 3 Marshmellows, add to bag with 1/2 cup milk (I used skim) Vac and leave overnight in fridge. Use as a base for whip cream, custard, or give to your 6 year old who will eagerly devour it in 3 seconds. I was curious if you would get the nuances of flavors and you definetley do.

Last night I threw some Milk and sliced Jalapenos and Poblanos into a bag and vacced. Ill be interested in how it works.

Mike

Edited by Msk (log)
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...

When you put something in a bag, and, put the open flap over the sealer bar, there is nothing that physically holds it there.. So as the pump sucks air out of the chamber, the bag tends to drift toward the pump and away from the sealer bar (assuming light items). The lighter the food in question (i.e. tomatoes and watermelon), the more they "walk". It only becomes an issue if it walks far enough to pull the bag opening across the sealer bar so it will not seal.

Its really not a big deal just something I never considered. Easily rectified with a weight blocking the movement.

...

My SVP-10 does that too. It has a fairly deep well which is curved. They supplied a bunch of heavy plastic inserts so you can adjust the depth. These can be tilted a bit to keep liquids from draining out, but then you get the bag-creep effect you described.

I just put a dish towel behind the bag to keep it in place. Seems to work pretty well.

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Im sure you could do that, but I would not want to prevent any air evacuation from the bag depending on where you put the clip. Just clip one side of the bag lip.

It does not seem to be a major impediment. The dish towel is a good idea. It has just prevented the one opportunity from trying to compress watermelon from being successful.

Being able to bag liquids is a blast!

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For those with problems about bag creep - do your machines have an adjustment which allows the gap between the sealing bar and the pressure bar (inside the lid) to be altered?

If so make it snug, but not tight and it will exert enough pressure to hold the bag in place without it moving around.

Cheers,

Peter.

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Darned you Chris and lstrelau! Darned you!

I couldn't wait for the answers and made a few calls for the VP112 but of course, was not very successful - until I called Conrad. He had two units left and was willing to provide the same price to me as he did to Chris. Now he only has one unit left! LOL!! <big grin on face>.

My wife allowed me to make the purchase based on the condition that I remove the Ronco Rotisserie "Set it and forget it" oven - I didn't see a problem with that so I should have my VP112 by Monday at the latest.

I told him about the great things folks were writing about his service on this forum and he was asking about SousVide in general and was thinking he may need to get one to see what the fuss is about. Cool! He said he saw a surge for these a few years ago (chamber vac) and now another surge. I let him know about the "Modernist Cuisine" which he had said he had heard of....."You mean the "tome"?" LOL...yes. Anyway, I'm sure the VP112 will work perfect for me, and even better if it can do some of the compression being talked about. Unfortunately the VP210 would most likely not make it past the "chosen one"'s decision making for what can/cannot be allowed in the kitchen. ;-)

Can't wait!

Todd in Chicago

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The VP112 here, and it's pretty amazing. A few notes.

  • I think that it's pulling at least a 98% vacuum if you run it at 60 seconds, the maximum. I definitely was able to get both room temp stock and alcohol to boil in less than 60 seconds, which means that it's over 97.4%.
  • Just to annoy me, they have replaced the dial that is in the online user's manual listing cm Hg to bar.
  • The answer to the watermelon compression question is "half-way." They definitely compressed, but this machine isn't going to be making watermelon meat.
  • At first I was folding the bag over the sealing bar, tucking it into the space between the bar and the chamber. That's a no-no: it blocks the release of air from the bag. Just lay the bag over the bar and it's fine.
  • The sealing bar isn't screwed in; it just sits on its posts. If the bar is jarred, it can sit unevenly, causing the sealing action to fail.
  • This thing seals liquids gloriously. I come to bury FoodSaver, not to praise it.
  • Watermelon cubes infused with Negroni are fine, fine things.

About to seal a few dozen other things.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The VP112 here, and it's pretty amazing. A few notes.

  • I think that it's pulling at least a 98% vacuum if you run it at 60 seconds, the maximum. I definitely was able to get both room temp stock and alcohol to boil in less than 60 seconds, which means that it's over 97.4%.
  • Just to annoy me, they have replaced the dial that is in the online user's manual listing cm Hg to bar.
  • The answer to the watermelon compression question is "half-way." They definitely compressed, but this machine isn't going to be making watermelon meat.
  • At first I was folding the bag over the sealing bar, tucking it into the space between the bar and the chamber. That's a no-no: it blocks the release of air from the bag. Just lay the bag over the bar and it's fine.
  • The sealing bar isn't screwed in; it just sits on its posts. If the bar is jarred, it can sit unevenly, causing the sealing action to fail.
  • This thing seals liquids gloriously. I come to bury FoodSaver, not to praise it.
  • Watermelon cubes infused with Negroni are fine, fine things.

About to seal a few dozen other things.

Thanks for the update!

Overall do you see any limitations of this or things you won't be able to do (that you are aware of obviously)?

I wonder if doing thing like adding bricks to the chamber (to lessen the amount of air you are starting with) does much.

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The owners manual suggests adding as many of the plates -- plastic slabs that adjust the height in the chamber -- for that purpose.

One additional note: if the vacuum is pulling slowly at first, you can press down on the cover and it kicks right in pdq. For max vacuum, you could do that from moment one.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Sorry Phaz - didn't mean to push your budget - good thing your wife is understanding - I am sort of in the same boat, if something new comes in something old is supposed to leave (but I keep finding new spots to put things so the atttition is not as successful as my partner would like. Just comandeered a new bookcase for the eventual arrival of MC.

Finally had a chance to buy a little watermelon - tried 4 bags, one each with:

white wine

tequila with a touch of salt and some ground chili

orange juice

syrup left over from preserved meyer lemons

They all look quite dense, definitely took on deeper colour.

But won't have time to taste them til tomorrow so hopefully that won't take too long.

The mangoes I compressed with lime juice the other day were very nice though.

Chris, my unit still has the cm/H rather than Bar's. Wonder why/when they change that?

I would say I reach a max of 64 cm/H by maybe 30 seconds but kept it going for 60, the liquid boils starting at about 25 seconds or so into the game.

Haven't had any problem with the bags sealing even when I tuck the end of the bag between the seal bar and the front edge of the chamber but then I don't stick it really far down I guess.

Have some duck legs curing in salt and spices now ready to cook SV on Friday morning for Friday night.

Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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Still in process of designing/rigging Ghetto Vac 5000.... coming soon.... hopefully!

Looking forward to it. I had occasion to drag out the ShopVac the other day. When I turned it on I was impressed by the power of the vacuum. Of course, this immediately made me ponder the ways in which it might be employed in the culinary arts.

Today I discovered GLAD Press'n Seal plastic wrap. I'm pretty sure a marriage is possible here, but a preliminary FoodSaver powered test revealed that some development of technique will be required.

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Wooohooo! My VP112 should arrive on Tuesday if all goes well. Conrad over at Homestead Harvest was great!

Does anyone know if the VP112 can make a second or even third seal on the bag? I mean, I know it can but without re-vacuuming? I've gotten into this strange habit of double/triple sealing things.

Cheers...

Todd in Chicago

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Thanks Chris....yeah that should be fine. I think the reason why I got into the "multiple seals" deal anyway was because I was worried about a small drop of liquid making a "loose seal" on my vacuum sealer. With the VP112, so long as care is taken to NOT get liquid on the seal area while putting the items in the bag, I should be golden! Thanks again....

Todd in Chicago

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I don't know anything about the machines you have but using the kind of bags common to chamber machines sealing is not a problem. Foodsaver type bags are temperamental and don't seal well if there is any food residue, but the non-channel type bags are much more forgiving. As I mentioned up-thread, my machine has one seal element and one cut-off element and I have never had a seal fail in 6 or 7 years.

Give your machine a go without double sealing - bag some rags if you don't want to risk some food, but I'm sure that the good sealing is as a result of the bag type, not the machine.

Cheers,

Peter.

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What Peter said appears true for me as well. I regularly double-sealed stuff with my FS machine and haven't felt the need to do it so far this time around. There's a flank steak about to hit 48 hours in the SV Supreme and it's doing just fine.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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If you want to make multiple seals with the VP112 all you do is push start and then push Stop and the seal bar will pop up and it will seal.

You can use up all your leftover foodsaver bag rolls to make your own bags. I did have to use max seal time for the heavier patterned foodsaver bags though

Llyn Strelau

Calgary, Alberta

Canada

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Has anyone found a place to purchase boilable bags in quantities less than 1000 (like 100, maybe)? I have occasionally seen 25-packs from VacMaster, but they come out to around $0.40 per bag (1000-packs are usually ~$0.08-0.015/bag).

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Would be interested to hear your impressions on the size of the unit - is it big enough to do most anything you would want?

Interesting you'd ask that. I decided this morning to make the brine and bag some short ribs for pastrami, and I ran into trouble. Turns out that even the biggest bag doesn't handle 4l of brine because you have to lay it down -- a decided disadvantage to a FoodSaver bag that can be as long as you'd like! I ended up parceling it into three bags -- a pita, let me tell you -- but all's good now.

But that's a pretty unusual situation. I really can't imagine anything I'd want to vacuum seal that would be too big for the chamber itself.

Thanks, lstrelau, for the double seal tip. I am going to get those FoodSaver rolls all ready to go this weekend!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris, I ran in to a similar situation with the same recipe but a different sealer. I ended up cutting the brine quantity in half and adjusting salt / spices accordingly. It was still a challenge getting everything into one bag.

I'm tempted to try a dry cure with adjusted salt / spices. The main reason I like brine though is I can inject the meat with 10 to 15% of its weight of brine and then let it soak.

I wonder if the reason for so much water was so the meat could be submerged, as in a bucket.

Larry

Larry Lofthouse

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Ok I have made a resolution to set aside some money every day for my chamber sealer fund. I decided I am going to go for the VP210 model as opposed to the VP112 and just wait a little longer to get it due to the price difference. My main concern with the VP112 is the depth of the unit (for sealing larger items) and the hinge unit while a space saving feature, looks like the achilles heel in the unit in terms of failure.

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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