Food sealer vacuum — does brand make a difference?

We just got a chest freezer, so we’ll be able to [del]continue our serial killing spree throughout the winter without waiting for the ground to thaw[/del] buy more than a couple chops at a time. We have the little ZipLock hand-held vacuum, which does a mild job of protecting things. But besides its slow pace, it doesn’t do that great of a job.

We’ve seen contraptions that range from twenty to thirty up to one to two hundred. Does brand make a difference? Any features we should look for? Avoid?

(And why pork chops, lamb chops, and even veal chops … but who says beef chops?)

I’ve been freezing food as a storage method since childhood. About 30 years now.

I use “freezer bags” these days and squish the excess air out manually before zipping the ziplock. The food lasts just fine. I am not convinced that you receive any real benefit from the mechanical air-suckers in a typical household situation.

My opinion is save your money and don’t buy one. I expect others will have more specific advice on specific devices, costs, and so forth.

I’ve been using one I bought at Sears some years ago. I don’t like the generic bags, though. Go with Food Saver bags and save yourself some headaches.

When we bought our upright freezer, it came with a mail-in offer for a free food sealer from Frigidaire. I’m sure it’s about the equivalent of a $60-70 model or so, not high-end but adequate. Things in plain zipper bags do get freezer burn in the freezer pretty quickly; I suspect it’s a by-product of the frost-free system, but that’s me. So, having the bag hug the food super-tightly, as with the vacuum sealer, helps a lot. I sort of waver between FoodSaver and Seal A Meal bags; neither one really seems better or cheaper than the other, and both work fine with my sealer.

It’s kinda fun, also, to use the “seal” bar without the vacuum to seal up other bags from your pantry, such as potato chip bags, bags of beans, rice, and such. I hate having to keep track of twist-ties and bag clips.

The Food Saver is worth the price, IMHO. The bags can be a little pricey, but can be reused if you use them for vegetables. I vac tons of food–it keeps really well. If you have prepared food (spaghetti,etc.) just thaw it and put the bag in water, bring to a boil, and in 10 minutes or so you’re ready to eat.

Depends on how long you keep food frozen, really. Freezer bags are fine for short-term storage (six months or so), but vacuum-sealed food in quality (thick) bags can last for much longer. It came in handy when we froze salmon in large quantities, but I really don’t use it anymore.

I typically use frozen foods in 3-6 months (sometimes sooner), but have gone as long as a year. But you may be correct in that with my typical usage it makes little difference but for longer term storage it may matter more.

Just wrapping in a freezer bag typically yields a bit of burn for us, depending on how long things sit. Ground beef never has a problem, since we put it in quart freezer bags and it squooshes flat (as does freezing liquids) with no air pockets. But a turkey leg? a small roast? The head of Alfredo Garcia? The Ziplock hand-held gizmo really does make (an imperfect) difference, and it sounds like the Foodsaver is a step up.

I’m also assuming there will be a speed difference – whether in regular bagging, wrapping in freezer paper (ugh can that take a long time), or with the Ziplock doohickey.

Plus … gadget. Nothing like a justifiable kitchen gadget.

I probably use my FoodSaver for this more than anything else. That and vacuum sealing cheese.

I don’t have any deep freezers or anything, but have you tried Press and Seal Wrap? They have a heavy duty freezer one. I’ve found random chicken breasts in the back of my freezer that are like a year old, but still looking pretty darned edible, thanks to Press and Seal.

Plus, the stuff is just awesome. One time, I filled a 16 ounce class with red Gatorade, then Press and Sealed the top. I shook that bad boy all over the place- even upside down right over my head. Not even a single drop leaked out and I shook very violently, just to test it.

Just beware of botulism.

I came in to say the FoodSaver has paid for itself 100x over on cheese alone. If you buy the bags in roll form, and leave yourself enough space you can use the same “bag” over and over until the cheese is gone.