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The Food Saver/Vacuum Sealer Topic: 2001-2010


Ronaldo Zacapa x
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I recently bought a FoodSaver V2830W to replace a Kenmore machine that I had been using for a while. It was on sale for $60 in a direct-mail email I got from the FS people, and I got a few free bag rolls thrown in for good measure. It lists for $170 but can be found easily for $100 or so. I got it primarily for one reason -- sealing liquids, especially stock -- but there are some features that I really like and didn't expect.

This is likely all obvious information for anyone with a machine that's a mid-range home model or better; if you've been toiling away with a starter machine like my Kenmore, this may help you see why an upgrade is worthwhile.

I got it out today for the first session, which included both dry (chopped pancetta in 4 oz portions) and moist (gumbo, rendered duck fat) items. The first thing that I learned was that this machine is activated by a lock on the side that secures the bag. (The Kenmore had to be pressed down to work -- no lock.) This is very useful for a bunch of reasons, most notably that it allows you to worry about something besides keeping the bag in place. The machine has both normal and fast seal speeds. I used fast for the pancetta and it was very speedy; the normal is useful for anything moist.

Unlike the Kenmore, which is basically impossible to use for wet stuff, this worked like a charm. You can simply trust the automatic button and walk away, or you can watch for the air to evacuate and the liquid to start leaching up and then hit the seal button. I think that the heating strip (wider than the Kenmore by 50% or so) gets much hotter, so that even if a bit of liquid makes it into the (removable and thus cleanable!) reservoir before the sealer starts, the heat seems to burn off the liquid. I double-sealed just to be sure and did the duck fat manually, but I have far more confidence that these seals will stick than I have in the past.

One thing that can take some adjusting is the height of the bag or machine front. I had to prop up one or the other up, especially with the wet ingredients, but that was easy enough with the lock and auto settings.

In short, I'm thrilled.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I recently bought a FoodSaver V2830W to replace a Kenmore machine that I had been using for a while. It was on sale for $60 [...]

In short, I'm thrilled.

Chris - thanks. I searched around, and found that code L8FAV28 at checkout from the jardenstore.com website knocks it down from 99.99 to 59.99. I followed this link from amazon:

http://www.foodsaver.com/Product.aspx?id=s&cid=0&pid=443

Mine is on it's way, $60 is hard to beat!

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  • 1 month later...

I haven't seen it listed here, but I received the Rival Seal-A-Meal for Christmas. I've got no complaints, so far. You can use any bag roll, and size the bag as you want. There's a drip tray for your wetter foods, such as some leftover homemade Nam Sod that I wanted to keep. And it has the auxiliary port, which I haven't used.

Best use so far: I had extra chopped onions stinking up my fridge. Vacuum-sealed, and the stench is gone.

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Good, standard 3-layer bags. Good service.  I'd prefer the bags with the strip of mesh, rather than the whole sheet, but I'm happy with them.

Sorry to ask newbie questions:

- What do you mean by 3-layer bags?

- What is that thing with the strip of mesh?

- How do these compare to the tilia bags?

Sorry, I don't know the technical details but dougal's answer sounds good. :smile:

My machine will only work with bags that have either a strip of mesh running down the middle of one side, or a whole sheet of mesh. The ones with a whole sheet or the "3-ply" bags have a top outer plastic sheet, a mesh sheet, and a bottom outer plastic sheet. The others have ta strip of mesh that runs down the middle of one of the outer sheets and both edges of the strip are securely attached to the outer sheet.

My issue is purely with filling the bags. It's much easier to pack items into a 2-layer bag than a 3-layer bag because that inner mesh sheet can get in the way.

I just received a 2,500 bags this week - but when I'm ready to re-order in a few months, I think I'll be replacing my machine with a vacuum chamber that uses much cheaper bags. I use mine in a commercial kitchen and the difference in pricing means that I should be able to pay off the chamber machine within 1 to 1 1/2 years.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Does anyone have any experience with the newish Ziploc system? I got a starter kit just a few days ago. I consists of a small hand pump and the bags are just regular ziplocs, but they have a flap that acts as a valve.

With my limited experimenting, I don't believe a professional vacuum could pull out more air. Now, will the vacuum last....

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the newish Ziploc system. . . consists of a small hand pump

Thank you for posting this - I like the idea a lot - no batteries! I've found that when the HandiVac stops pulling a vacuum it sounds exactly the same, so it takes a while for me to realize the batteries need changing.

Please let us know if it holds the vacuum - I don't see why it wouldn't.

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the newish Ziploc system. . . consists of a small hand pump

Thank you for posting this - I like the idea a lot - no batteries! I've found that when the HandiVac stops pulling a vacuum it sounds exactly the same, so it takes a while for me to realize the batteries need changing.

Please let us know if it holds the vacuum - I don't see why it wouldn't.

I did a bag of small pork chops a few days ago. So far, it is still a tight seal.

I got the bags at Target and all they had were the quart ones. I think they were about $.25 per bag.

And, I just opened the bag, took our a pork chop and resealed the bad!

Edited by Nawlins (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

A bit back, dividend asked:

I have the same model foodsaver with the wet setting, but I can't fathom how you would get the bag set up so it doesn't gush liquid into the machine.  Do you elevate the machine from the bag?  I may just be having a blond moment, but can you explain how this works?

Marlene explained that she didn't get a gush at all. I've been experimenting with my FoodSaver V2830W a bit, specifically in re this liquid question, and I've definitely had a gusher or two. I mentioned above,

One thing that can take some adjusting is the height of the bag or machine front. I had to prop up one or the other up, especially with the wet ingredients, but that was easy enough with the lock and auto settings.

I was putting up some stock the other day and took a shot to illustrate:

gallery_19804_437_239700.jpg

There may be other methods out there for handling liquids, but this is the one I've currently found is the best. Basically, gravity helps to keep the liquid where you want it until the last moment, and forces air bubbles to rise to the bag's edge.

  1. Seal and cut the bags so that you'll have about 4" of room at the top.
  2. Stack fat books under your unit so that the height of the liquid in the bags you'll be using reaches the mouth of the machine (up to the line marking the last 4").
  3. Fill the bag with liquid leaving that 4" at the top.
  4. Rest the bag in front of the machine and place bag edge into the machine, get as many air bubbles out as you can, and lock the bag into place.
  5. Using the normal and moist settings, turn on the machine, but have your finger on the seal button. As soon as you see moisture moving through the textured grid, press seal.

It takes some practice -- or, at least, it did for me -- but now it's pretty straightforward. And, boy, is it nice to have flat, stackable 4c freezer bags of stock!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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It does take a bit of practice, and you will get some waste in terms of the amount of bag you need to use. I didn't get gush mostly because I was willing to waste some bag

Elevating the food saver is a good idea. I'd been doing the opposite, and supporting the bag off the counter which works as well, but I think elevating the saver makes more sense. I'll try it that way. My machine combines a vacumn and seal together, and it seems to work so that I don't have to time hitting the seal button.

For those who are a bit challenged with this method, until you get enough practice, there's always the option of ladling say two cups of stock into one of the small ziplocks, then vacumnsealing the ziplock inside the food saver bag. A bit more work, but you can still lay your bags flat in the freezer, and hey, they're double wrapped so to speak.

I bag in 1 and 2 cup quantities because that is what I use most often.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Hi - I've used a FoodSaver for 6 or 8 years; it clearly earns its use of valuable counter space, and gets used a dozen times a day. Daily leftovers go into canisters or vacuum boxes - no more refrigerator taste, no more saran-covered bowls tipping over in the frigo, no more (or much less) flavor degradation from oxidation. That includes stuff like cut onions and garlic, which I always threw out before - the flavor degenerates quickly, and the odor spreads to places I don't want it, like my cheese. (I use the smallest roll bags for that - the gaskets of the canisters do accept a bit of smell, and I don't know what I'll want to put in them next. I cut the bag long enough to use it 4 or so times.)

Wine bottles get the nifty vacuum plugs, and the quality stays much higher with the bottle evacuated than simply corked, until I drink the rest 2 or 3 days later. Works for cooking oils, also, whether or not they go in the reefer.

Raw meat lasts "forever;" they say that 2 years is OK. I've never let it go that long, but taking advantage of promo prices on pork shoulder, or stocking up on organ meats which aren't always available, for that matter, is a no-brainer. It's always a bit of a plan-ahead situation to get some crepinette, so I get lots, pack it up 3 to a bag with waxed paper between the sheets, and grab it from the freezer for a fast defrost when I need some; I do the same with pork skin (couennes) for enriching stocks and stews. Marinating under vacuum is faster than at atmospheric pressure. When I smoke meats, which is also a big deal, in terms of setup and cleanup, I make three times what I'm going to eat immediately, bag it and freeze it. No freezer burn, ever. My own smoked duck breasts are my idea of a TV dinner :cool:

Stock: it takes all day, but doesn't take any more time to make 4 gallons than it does to make one. I use non-stick bread pans to freeze one quart quantities, which takes a couple of hours uncovered, pop the frozen block out of the bread pan, then into a FoodSaver bag it goes. I've got stock (and extra marinade ready to go, and finished soups, also) that's more than a year old, and I'll tell you, it beats the hell out of anything I can get from the store. (We are blessed with an excellent traiteur in Portland, and I can get good stock from him, but the stock I make is as good, and a lot cheaper.)

I've got a couple of very large canisters which I use as bread boxes for using bread one or two days after I get it from the bakery. There's a tradeoff there: the bread doesn't stale as fast, but you do lose the crunch of the crust.

In short, I think that it's about as useful as a good knife. I don't work for them (or anybody else, for that matter), but I'm very high on their system.

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Does anyone have any experience with the newish Ziploc system? I got a starter kit just a few days ago. I consists of a small hand pump and the bags are just regular ziplocs, but they have a flap that acts as a valve.

With my limited experimenting, I don't believe a professional vacuum could pull out more air. Now, will the vacuum last....

I recently picked one of these up.

Getting a good price on brisket and pork chops, I purchased enough for two meals, sealed and froze half, and they worked like a charm.

I also prepped an immense amount of veggies for stir fry, sealed and refrigerated enough for another meal, and forgot about them for over a week, and they were as perfect as the day I cut them.

The downside is that the sealer itself takes a little finnegaling, it doesn't always want to start vaccuuming immediately, I have to play with it a bit.

But that could just be user error.

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I'm looking to buy a FoodSaver (finally!), but the company's website isn't very clear on the differences between the various models, and a phone call didn't provide much more information. I'm looking to package meats like homemade sausages and bacon for the freezer, as well as getting into sous vide cooking. (And yes, I recognize the limitations of an edge-based sealer versus a chamber sealer.) Can anyone offer any guidance on the differences between current models? Thanks!

Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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I'm looking to buy a FoodSaver (finally!), but the company's website isn't very clear on the differences between the various models, and a phone call didn't provide much more information. I'm looking to package meats like homemade sausages and bacon for the freezer, as well as getting into sous vide cooking. (And yes, I recognize the limitations of an edge-based sealer versus a chamber sealer.) Can anyone offer any guidance on the differences between current models? Thanks!

Matthew, If you see a trip to Brampton in your near future then a trip to their warehouse might be well worth it! They have new and refurbished models and some decent prices. I just got a model V825 for less than $60 (refurb).

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

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I have a Pro 2 model. I'd like the Pro 3 which has a removable trough so cleanup is easy if you get some liquid in there.

I'd just make sure what ever model you get that you can override the vacuum and seal when you want to.

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...

I'd just make sure what ever model you get that you can override the vacuum and seal when you want to.

I have a wide but basic V475.

It has the removable trough, and an accessory port for bottles, jars and canisters.

It auto-starts on pressing the top down, and there's a button to 'release' the lid which also acts as a 'cancel' button.

But that's it as far as features go.

I got a great bargain on it, but I'd like more control.

OK --- any control.

Like Kerry's "just seal it now" button.

So I could handle liquids.

Has anyone ever 'hacked' one of these things?

I'm thinking that mine seems to have a pressure switch that triggers the sealing process ONLY when the bag is pumped down to a set level.

It ought to be possible to put a pushbutton in parallel with that switch...

It might be that internally the same control board gets used for different models, and its only the switch I'm missing.

I haven't come across anyone posting about 'modding' a Foodsaver.

Or even found a service (take-apart) manual on line.

Anyone ever see anything that might be helpful to me?

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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  • 2 weeks later...

I saw these ziplock foodsealer bags on clearance at Target. I got 10 for 1.38. They're meant for the hand held vacuum device, but I wanted to try them with the foodsaver. They worked out fine. I brought back a bunch of corn tortillas from Cali and wanted to freeze them.

gallery_25969_665_754529.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

It's been less than a year since I bought this sealer and it's just about had it. Now I'm looking for a chamber sealer, but I have a couple of questions.

a. Anybody have/use a chamber and have any recommendations?

b. I have approx. 1200 bags left - these are the ones with the mesh layer - does anybody know if they'll work in the chamber machine?

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Quick tip from this morning's gumbo packaging session: a canning funnel like this square white one by Leifheit is a real boon when you're freezing up wet items. You stick it in to the bag, which you can scrunch up to keep the top edge dry, and then pour whatever into the funnel.

And a question. I've got a bunch of smoked pork hocks and pigs' feet that need sealing, and there are some sharp edges on 'em. Does anyone have any ideas for what to do? The edges have punctured the bags in the past and I don't know how to approach it. Thoughts?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 1 month later...

I have had vacuum sealers since they first appeared on the consumer market and over the years worked up to FoodSaver's "Pro" model - top of the line.

It worked fine for a bit over a year (one of the earlier ones lasted for 5 years of heavy-duty use) and then began acting up. First the sealer would not work every time - I had to repeat the cycle two or three times.

Then the three lights kept blinking and it would not signal "Ready."

My experience with their customer service was less than satisfactory and since I had gotten some use from it I decided not to waste any more time and simply buy a replacement.

Meanwhile, I received an email with the offer of a discount on the pro model but when I attempted to place the order the discount would not be credited.

I again called customer service and was told the offer had expired - although I was placing the order less than an hour after receiving the email.

I don't deal with companies who do not back up their warranties or their discount offers.

Instead I ordered the Pro Vacuum Sealer from BCU Plastics & Packaging in Temecula, CA.

I haven't read through this entire topic but I seem to recall an earlier post where someone mentioned this unit and I wondered if they have it and can post a note about their experiences with it.

Since I have already placed the order, this is rather a moot point but I would like to know how well the owner likes it and if it has any idiosyncrasies to watch for.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I have this unit and like it very much. It is a huge improvement over any of the FoodSaver machines, IMO. There are no idiosyncrasies of which I am aware. The one thing it will not do is automatically cut off when you are using canisters rather than bags. You have to hit the manual stop button.

One thing that's nice about the extra-large vacuum chamber and the clear top is that, when you are sealing bags that contain some liquid, you can look down into the chamber and hit the "manual seal" button just when you begin to see liquid bubbling out the end of the bag (although in my experience, this is right when the machine tends to go into sealing mode anyway). Using this technique and careful bag positioning, I have successfully removed all the air from bags containing mostly liquid.

--

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