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Vacuum Food Sealers

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by KYBOB, Oct 2, 2005.

  1. Thinking about purchasing a food sealer. Have heard from several people that they are better for freezing fish than putting fillets in water. Have been told that the meat will not freezer burn and will keep a lot longer. Is this true? Anyone had any experience with this? Which unit is the best? Are the extra bags very expensive?
    Will mainly be using food sealer to freeze fish fillets. Any tricks to using them? Do fillets need to be dry before putting them in the bags to be sealed?
  2. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

    I've been having some discussions w/ people on these for keeping Shad/Skips in. They sounds like its a good way to go.

  3. Hetfieldinn

    Hetfieldinn Staff Member

    I use my Foodsaver (that's the brand name) for venison and sweetcorn. All fish goes into freezer grade ziplocks with water. I've eaten walleye and perch that has been frozen in bags/water for three years and it was as fresh as the day I caught it. If I used the Foodsaver for all my fish, I'd have about a thousand dollars a year in the bags.

    If you do get a vacuum unit for meat and fish, you need to put whatever you are going to vacuum in the freezer for an hour or two so the juices freeze. Otherwise, you'll suck all of the water into the vacuum unit.
  4. H2O Mellon

    H2O Mellon Hangin' With My Gnomies

  5. stcroixjoe

    stcroixjoe (stcroixjoe)

    I just saw a vacuum sealer on sale at big lots for $30.00 no clue if it's any good just a thought
  6. UFM82

    UFM82 The one others want to be

    I'd wanted a vacuum sealer for a while when I finally convinced my wife to get me one for Christmas last year. She found a basic Kenmore model at Sears. This one had locks on the lid that you engaged and then pushed a button to vacuum/seal the bag. At first I thought it was cool but quickly found out that it was a pain to use. You couldn't let the locks go and still get a good seal- they would unlock too quickly and let the air back in. Then the sealing strip wouldn't activate and I would have to start all over. I buy food in bulk and freeze it- this unit wore my fingers out. Finally I took it with me to Louisiana for a fishing trip and used it to package fish for the flight home. Because of the poor design and the poor quality, half of the packages leaked. Despite my best efforts I couldn't get the thing to seal. It would seal the entire bag except for one tiny spot, every time.

    I finally got disgusted and took the thing back to Sears. I now knew what I was looking for and the hunt began. I lucked out and found a combo kit at Kohls that was a unit plus some bonus items. The brand is a FoodSaver. They are the leader in vacuum sealers I think. They offer a ton of versions and the features I have are what I think should be minimum. Mine has:
    1) Built-in bag cutter. This is very handy for getting a straight across cut.

    2) Hands-free operation. Once the vacuum starts, the hood is held down by itself. That leaves your hands free to support the food. MUCH better than the Kenmore design that required keeping your fingers on the unit.

    3) 3 vacuum levels- These aren't as important but it's nice to be able to adapt. The full vacuum will crush delicate stuff- the light vacuum won't.

    4) Instant Seal- This feature is a MUST!!! Try one without it and you'll quickly see what I mean.

    5) I don't think the bag storage tray in the machine is all that important but it's easier to make bags from the rolls that way.

    The Kenmore unit I had was very basic and had none of these features. It was a real pain. I found the unit I have now on sale at Kohls back in June- it was regularly $189.00 and was on sale for $99. Plus it came with a 4 piece vacuum canister set. I wasn't overly concerned about the canisters when I bought the kit but they are GREAT! I use them all the time. Watch for them to go on sale- plus E-bay is a great place to find them as well.

    One thing I have found about the sealers is how useful they are for special needs. I can peel and slice my onions and potatoes ahead of time, vacuum pack them and keep them in the cooler for days when camping and they don't turn brown. I packaged meat and pastas for my last trip away and I don't have to worry about the packages leaking. Fruit stays good forever in the canisters when the fruit is cut up- cheese is the same way.

    I sound like a commercial but they are great items. I love mine and would replace it in a heartbeat if it goes down.


    Stick with a FoodSaver/Tilia brand- they know what they're doing. Plan to spend at least $100. It's worth it.
  7. I have the same unit which I ordered off a TV show for $89 and it works great. I have sealed vegetables, fruit, meat, fish and whole shad without any problems. The bags are a bit expensive but can be used again if you take the time to wash them completely. I plan on processing some shiners soon.
  8. Ufm & Shortdrift are right,Walmart $99.Just got a new one last week.
  9. Doctor

    Doctor CJ Cat Attack Pack

    I'm running the Foodsaver 870 unit, very good unit no problems, agree with Craig about what you need in a sealer, I only use mine for bait processsing nothing else, if your vacuuming skips you have to really watch them well because there fins will punch a hole in the bag, Shad it doesn't matter. HAve vacuumed well over 400 Skipjacks and 200 Shad with the unit, as long as your not in a rush the unit has plenty of time to cool down between vacuums and should last a long time, that and watching that you don't get juices into the unit. Skipjack and Shad slime will do a number on them.

    Whats nice about using it for bait as long as it is kept cold the bait can be thawed and frozen time after time as long as it is still sealed in the bag, I have Shad that are in excellent shape and have been thawed and frozen several times and don't get mushy, after you open the bag then there toast can't be frozen again........Doc
  10. Instead of pre-freezing the fillets, fold a paper towel to about 1" wide and place it just inside the bag before sealing. This catches the blood & fluids as you seal the bag.
  11. Hooch

    Hooch Fare Thee Well!

    The big advantage to using the food sealer is your filets are flat and you can get a whole seasons worth of fillets in your freezer. When you freeze the fillets in water, it takes up so much room in the freezer. Not a problem when you have a walk in Freezer, but if you don't buy the won't be disappointed.
  12. UFM82

    UFM82 The one others want to be

    I was going to say that but I had rambled on plenty already. :p I try to dab dry the stuff I'm going to package but if it insists on getting juicy, the towel bit works great. It's amazing to watch it happen- the meat/fish/whatever looks pretty dry- you start the vacuum and suddenly this wave of juice starts heading towards the vacuum chamber. The Kenmore would NOT seal at all if it got wet- it was done for. The FoodSaver will still seal even with some moisture on the bag. If it does suck some juice, it just goes in the drip tray- not in the pump so don't worry about that.

    I was going to package a bunch of skips this year if I could ever find any! :mad:


    P.S.- there are several types of bags out there. Foodsaver, Kenmore, even Black and Decker has a brand. I've used all those three and the B&D and the FoodSaver bags are the best. The FoodSaver bags are very sturdy and can handle multiple uses.