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The Food Saver/Vacuum Sealer Topic: 2001-2010


Ronaldo Zacapa x
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I have recently done what andiesenji did, replace a foodsaver with a BCU pro.

I have posted previously on this thread about my foodsaver. Inherited from my parents ... it is probably 25 years old. It did one bag this year of peas from our garden, and then wouldn't produce a vacuum. The pump runs, but there is probably a loose seal somewhere that I couldn't find. I had lusted after those BCU pro's and I can justify it for the amount of hops that I pack each year, so I said a eulogy for my moms foodsaver and got out my mastercard.

slkinsey severely understates the matter. The difference between these machines is akin to the difference between an 8bit sinclair and the computer you're reading this with.

I hate to sound like a shill, I loved my food saver, and got a lot of great use out of it. But this is a whole 'nother world. It is a proper machine. Like the difference between a tonka and the real thing. There are multiple posts on this thread of people who have experienced poor reliability on consumer grade devices like the foodsaver. I can now honestly say that anyone considering buying a sealer should spend the extra money.

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You're not a shill. If the quality jump is what you describe, it makes sense for many members. As a Food Saver owner, I'm eager to hear the specific differences.

I consider the quality jump to be equivalent to the difference between a Chevrolet and a Mercedes. (I've owned both.)

It does have a large footprint. I like the manual seal feature because I can start the cycle and hitting the manual seal button will immediately seal the package so I can vac seal delicate stuff that I don't want to crush. This was impossible with my old unit.

I practiced on bread - which is shown in the video on the site - to get the process correct. I successfully vac sealed a bag of meringues. Perfect results. Ditto potato chips and corn chips.

I "marinated" a pork roast perfectly, with none of the mess I got with my old unit.

The expense is significant but I have never minded paying for quality. When I added up all I spent on the earlier units, I spent quite a bit more on appliances that did okay but certainly not as easy to use as this one.

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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As a Food Saver owner, I'm eager to hear the specific differences.

I haven't played with the machine yet as much as Andiesenji has, I've only packed the shelling peas from our garden. So my joy with this machine is just due to it's obvious quality. It feels right.

It is obvious to me that I can now do liquids. My old Foodsaver was so old that it was one of the original models that you had to slip the bag over a little nozzle. There was no way to do liquids at all. I haven't used a newer Foodsaver, so my exuberance might have been tempered if my old machine were more modern.

One specific difference from my old machine is the seal on the bag. The element on the BCU pro produces a seal that is about half centimetre wide. Not sure about newer foodsavers, but my old one made a seal about one millimetre wide, and these somewhat frequently failed.

The old adage here applies, it's rarely worth it to skimp on quality when you're buying a tool. My 25 year old foodsaver is the exception. The BCU is solidly constructed, simple & foolproof to operate and engineered well.

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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.

My experience with their customer service was less than satisfactory....

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

After my experience with their customer service policies, I have vowed to never purchase anything from them again.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just a quick note I thought of last week when I was filling bags; it's pretty obvious and I've been doing it for a while but I didn't find it here. I'm clearly a dork because I manage to drip, spill or otherwise dump stuff at the top of the bag even when I'm using my trusty canning funnel.

So, I fold over the top 2" of the bag from inside to outside to make a cuff. Then, when I add stuff that smears along the top edge, I'm actually smearing below the top edge of the bag itself. When it's filled, I just fold it back up and seal.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, I just ordered the Pro Vacuum Sealer and am requesting, please, guidance in ordering freezer bags.

I will use it to freeze: Porter house and Rib-bone in steaks, dough balls and discs, am not sure about liquids but probably so, and I'm not sure what else at this point.

Thanks

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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Just a quick note I thought of last week when I was filling bags; it's pretty obvious and I've been doing it for a while but I didn't find it here. I'm clearly a dork because I manage to drip, spill or otherwise dump stuff at the top of the bag even when I'm using my trusty canning funnel.

So, I fold over the top 2" of the bag from inside to outside to make a cuff. Then, when I add stuff that smears along the top edge, I'm actually smearing below the top edge of the bag itself. When it's filled, I just fold it back up and seal.

Dude, that is genius.

A vacuum sealer is definitely on my Christmas list (I just informed DH of same), and when I get one, I am completely certain that I will need this essential tip. Because if it can be dripped on something, I will drip it.

Thank you.

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The thing I only realized a few weeks ago that I could do with my vacuum sealer is resealing almost any commercial product that comes in a plastic heat sealed bag. Like tonight I made a risotto with a cup of carnaroli and vacuum sealed the rest of the rice in its original bag. I don't know why I figured those things must need some more heavy duty heat sealer than my Rival Seal-A-Meal, but they're just plastic, and the vacuum sealer makes a much better, neater seal than a clip or a rubber band.

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The thing I only realized a few weeks ago that I could do with my vacuum sealer is resealing almost any commercial product that comes in a plastic heat sealed bag.  Like tonight I made a risotto with a cup of carnaroli and vacuum sealed the rest of the rice in its original bag.  I don't know why I figured those things must need some more heavy duty heat sealer than my Rival Seal-A-Meal, but they're just plastic, and the vacuum sealer makes a much better, neater seal than a clip or a rubber band.

Great idea.

I ordered 100 8x10 and 100 10x14 to start and will see how that works.

Edited by Aloha Steve (log)

edited for grammar & spelling. I do it 95% of my posts so I'll state it here. :)

"I have never developed indigestion from eating my words."-- Winston Churchill

Talk doesn't cook rice. ~ Chinese Proverb

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've just taken what seems to be a (UK) closeout bargain deal on a FoodSaver V2860.

Including delivery, it was only about £10 more than most of the what-brand offerings on eBay, and less than 1/3 of the (UK) cost of the meaty prosumer type of unit spoken of so highly in this thread.

I have upgraded from a year-old basic (auto-only) FoodSaver.

The V2860 provides

- a wider seal than my old basic model (looks very like 1/10")

- an optional 'moist' (hotter or longer?) sealing setting

- a 'pulse' vacuuming facility (push to pump, release to stop, repeat as required) and a 'just seal it' button. (There's full auto as well.)

- a pump with three speed settings

- and a roll-holder and cutter blade - which I now admit is actually worthwhile.

Being able to 'pulse' down the bag, and change to slow speed for the last few pulses, taking as much time and care as one cares to before committing to sealing, combined with the wide seal and 'moist' seal setting, really does work BRILLIANTLY for liquids and 'wet' stuff.

I'm delighted with the thing. I really can't imagine a home user could need more.

And at the closeout price, great value.

If they aren't long gone, well worth looking out for, I'd suggest.

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

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  • 6 months later...

Hi everyone, this is my first post. My recent research on this topic led me to this forum as a source of great information, so I wanted to share what I have learned so far and see if I can absorb any more wisdom. I am planning on buying the sous-vide supreme. One of my main concerns is the long-term durability of the vacuum sealer that they sell with it and the long-term cost of the bags you are supposed to buy for it.

Looking at reviews on Amazon and elsewhere, it seems that there are a lot of complaints about vacuum sealers not working after a while. So I am hesitant to get the normal consumer brands, or the relatively unknown one that comes with the sous-vide.

I have found a couple alternative brands that seem to have a good reputation: the Food-Vac or Best-Vac and the Sinbo.

The Sinbo has the cheapest bags, but it seems that I can only buy them in quantities of 1000.

The bags compatible with the Food Vac can be purchased relatively cheaply in quantities of 100.

From reading the forums here, some strongly recommend this commercial quality sealer. There is a great video of it in action. I have found a cheaper version for $350.

There is a vacuum sealer e-book I just found, but haven't looked at yet.

On storage, the way to save money is to use vacuum jar lids on mason jars. So my other concern is compatibility with food saver (or some other available brand) vacuum jar lids.

I am leaning towards buying the Food Vac. I am wondering if anyone else has experiences or comments on it, and if I can figure out if it is easy to use on vacuum sealed mason jars. Also I am wondering if there are any thoughts on the cheaper Cabela's commercial sealer, and if anyone has read the vacuum sealer e-book.

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I've had just about every consumer type of vac sealer on the market, including the "Foodsaver Pro" models that aren't all that great and in my experience don't last long.

Last year I got this one Pro 2300 and I love it. I have vac packed just about anything you could think of and it worked nicely every time.

I rarely use the jars as I like the bags. I got a great buy on Foodsaver bags and have been using them and they work just fine.

I also tried some of the Ziplock bags - got a sample in the mail - and they are okay but I like the others better.

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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  • 4 months later...

I've been getting out the FoodSaver quite a bit recently and have tweaked the method shown below:

gallery_19804_437_239700.jpg

  1. Seal and cut the bags so that you'll have about 4" of room at the top.
  2. Fold over 2" of the bag so that you create a cuff. This will be useful in case you spill a little liquid: keeping the cuff out of the interior allows the seal to stay drier.
  3. 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").
  4. Using a funnel (I use a Leifheit "filling funnel"), fill the bag with liquid up to about 2" from the top. (With the cuff, that means you're leaving 4" at the top.)
  5. 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.
  6. Using the normal and moist settings, turn on the machine, but have your finger on the seal button.
  7. As soon as you see moisture moving from the initial liquid level up through the textured grid of the bag, press the seal.
  8. After the seal is finished, make a second seal further up on the bag.

I wanted also to ask a question for FoodSaver users. I have been getting the flashing red light a lot lately and wonder what it means. Online all I can find is that it's an "error," but it doesn't say what the error is. Any ideas?

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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  • 3 weeks later...

Any comments on the currently available food saver models? I would like a pro sealer but i'm a few hundred $ short :)

My current model is not sealing that well anymore and the bags often end up leaking.

I like the size and form factor of the foodsaver gamesaver (narrow) but it's rather expensive at $300.

Do the newer models have a wider strip?

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I hope someone weighs in, as I'm wondering about the same issues.

Uptopic I mentioned the trick of folding over a 2-3" cuff before putting food into the bag. Today, I had to seal some pork chops that were smeared with bacon fat and quatre epices. So I tried turning the bag nearly inside out -- more like an 8-10" cuff with only a few inches of bag -- and using it as a sort of "glove" to grab the chops, one at a time. I then just folded it back up. Worked pretty well, I must say.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I hope someone weighs in, as I'm wondering about the same issues.

Uptopic I mentioned the trick of folding over a 2-3" cuff before putting food into the bag. Today, I had to seal some pork chops that were smeared with bacon fat and quatre epices. So I tried turning the bag nearly inside out -- more like an 8-10" cuff with only a few inches of bag -- and using it as a sort of "glove" to grab the chops, one at a time. I then just folded it back up. Worked pretty well, I must say.

That's a great trick for getting big chunks of stuff into the bags.

I use one of these extra large canning funnels for bagging stuff that has liquid or is in smaller chunks, etc.

The lips on the funnel are wide enough that I can clip the top edges of the bag onto them with binder clips - I have them in all sizes and use them all over the kitchen, as well as the rest of the house.

The clips are strong enough to hang bags so some of the stuff I bag for the freezer is hung from the top rack until frozen solid.

"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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...

Do the newer models have a wider strip?

My V2860 makes a seal that is about 1/10" wide - much wider than my old V475.

I don't believe that the V3000 series are any wider.

I described what I liked about the V2860 upthread.

I remain delighted.

If you ran across some old stock of that model at a decent price, I think you'd be pleased with it.

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

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I made tasso today to stock up for the winter's gumbo, jambalaya, etc. Usually, I store it in a bunch of little 4 oz bags, but I had an idea today I wanted to try out.

The plan was to address two problems. The first is that I often lose track of how many portions of something I have on hand, because there are a bunch of little bags strewn around my less-than-perfectly-organized freezer. The second is that making a bunch of little bags is pretty wasteful, and I've always wondered if there was a better way.

I think that there is. First, I made a really long bag.

4913940183_92a778383b.jpg

Then I slid a small bowl with 4 oz of diced tasso to the bottom, avoiding a moisture/grease trail.

4914544206_17a3a3a641.jpg

Next, I sealed the bag at the very top.

4914544428_7e7855fd0b.jpg

Then, I sealed the tasso into the bottom of the bag without cutting it. I just rolled up the end, slid it into the roll space in the machine, and sealed the bag as close to the tasso as I could.

4914544684_5fb233cc26.jpg

Now I had a sealed package, but to load another 4 oz of tasso I had to cut off the seal at the top of the bag. That's the waste in this process, about an inch per seal.

When I was done, I had a roll of 4 oz portions, all sealed individually but linked.

4914544952_d5196db66a.jpg

Based on a rough estimate, I saved about a couple of inches per 4 oz bag using this system, and all of my tasso is in one place. YMMV on the bag savings, but the benefit of having them all linked is pretty cool.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris, I don't quite understand what you mean when you talk about the inch of waste per seal. You say "to load another 4 oz of tasso I had to cut off the seal at the top of the bag" but I don't understand how the top of the bag is ending up sealed in the first place. Can you explain more?

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Sorry -- that wasn't very clear.

To vacuum and seal the tasso at the bottom of the very long bag, you have to insert the top of the bag into the vacuum slot. That means that the machine seals the bag about an inch below the top edge of the bag that's in the slot.

So now you have a massive bag that's sealed but with a ton of waste.

4914544428_7e7855fd0b.jpg

As it turns out, that waste isn't really waste if you keep adding things into the bag. To do that you have to create a new bottom for the bag AND create a new seal that's right next to the tasso. Thus the next seal.

4914544684_5fb233cc26.jpg

That seal doesn't require a vacuum, because you already did that. However, to add more tasso, the bag has to be opened again, which means cutting off that top seal.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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