I’ve always been wary of lots of kitchen gadgets. First, they cost money and second, I never seem to have enough room for everything I’ve already got, let alone add another thing. I know I’m alone on this in many areas and some people would never do without their ________ (insert favorite gadget here: rice cooker? steam juicer? bread machine?), which is fine, too – each of us has to determine what works for us vs. cost, time, and such.
If you’ve read here awhile, you will know there are some gadgets I love like my Cuisinart food processor, my immersion blender, and even my microplane grater (see my sidebar “To Make Your Life Easier” if you’re interested in these). Cooking is just better with these items for me.
The one thing all these items have in common: the only cost involved is the purchase price.
Which is why I’ve never understood the vacuum sealer. You pay for a machine, then you have to continue to pay for special bags to use the machine. Yes, you will buy bags for freezing anyway, but using sales, coupons, and/or club stores I can usually get freezer bags for a lot less than the vacuum-sealer bags.
My brother-in-law loves his, and he’s one of the most frugal people I know. He says the food stays better in the freezer and lasts longer.
Maybe it does, but our food gets used up in 6-8 months anyway. The longest anything has been in the freezer is a year, and I guess we are just not sophisticated enough to taste a difference. Probably because the produce is usually used in soups and the fruit in smoothies at that point. It just wouldn’t pay for us to use this.
I’ve seen it used to preserve dried/smoked meat and fish to keep on a shelf and if you do a lot of that, I guess it makes sense, then.
But for regular produce and fruit (and even bread and baked goods), here is what I’ve used for years to get the most air out of the baggie:
A straw. I keep it in a drawer with the baggies and reuse it numerous times until it needs to be replaced.
I prepare the produce, close the bag, then open a little slit to insert the straw. I hold the opening on both sides of the straw, and use it to suck all the air out.
Then I just quickly pull the straw out and close the opening. I flatten the bag for easy storage and put in the freezer.
PLUS, I can reuse these bags which can’t be done with the vacuum sealer bags!
My brother-in-law laughed at me when I showed him this- what do you think?
Other frugal tips can be found over at LifeAsMom’s Frugal Fiday.