Author Topic: Vacuum sealing tips and methods  (Read 7413 times)

Thox Spuddy

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Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« on: January 22, 2011, 11:32:51 AM »
There are a lot of vac-seal ideas spread throughout numerous topics, so perhaps we can pull them together here to find easier. I think learning how to effectively vac-seal is crucial to successful food storage. New abbreviation: VSZ, for vacuum seal & hand-pump zipper-lock.

Here is the way I VSZ items like chopped up cabbage. The problem is that as you vacuum the liquid pulls up and prevents a good seal. It also clumps altogether and you end up with a ball, that doesn't freeze rapidly easily and takes up more room than necessary in the freezer. I put the cabbage into the bag and fold over the top to where it will have enough room to VSZ. I then squish the stuff to spread evenly throughout the bag and with the top still folded over I freeze it. The next day you can VSZ it and put it back in the freezer.



« Last Edit: November 14, 2011, 04:54:34 PM by LvsChant »

Thox Spuddy

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 08:09:36 PM »
#2 - When you lock down the lid when you're not using it remove the gasket so that it doesn't remain in a compressed state all the time.

#3 - Never mentioned here are the freeze & steam bags. I used on of these tonight heating up nettle greens in the microwave. I might try these with scrambled eggs. For camping they would be quite handy as you could take them out of the cooler and toss them into a pot of boiling water.

Offline Nicodemus

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 08:22:59 PM »
This could be a handy goto thread for vacuum sealing. I'm looking forward to seeing some tips and tricks.


Offline Ken325

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2011, 03:18:35 AM »
Any advice for sealing dried vegetables?  I keep getting small holes in the package because dried veggies have sharp points that poke a hole in the bag. The obvious answer is to add some type of padding but I wanted to see what other people do.

Offline Stein

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 03:10:53 PM »
For pointy things, i either bag them in a ziploc (left open), double bag them in Foodsaver bags, or put them in a paper bag before sealing.

Thox Spuddy

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 08:10:44 PM »
As others suggested elsewhere on this forum, it might be a good idea to just use vacuum sealed mason jars via the adapter. I really think this is a problem too big for us and should be addressed by @Foodsaver. They need to come up with a bag that is puncture proof.


Offline LvsChant

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 10:58:54 PM »
I'll bet that dehydrating folks like us are in the minority, as far as foodsaver customers go... I avoid the problem by using only mylar or jars for the dried stuff... except for the occasional small amount sealed up for scout campouts, etc.

Thox: Instructions that came with my foodsaver said to never store the unit with the lid locked down. Your idea of removing the gasket probably does the same thing... removes the compression on that part.

Offline Herbalpagan

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2011, 06:11:51 AM »
I vacuum seal a lot of the "pokey stuff".  Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.  Now, I only partially vacuum seal them so they don't poke through or get crushed.  I figure as long as I get most of the air out and seal it, it's better than not and it's put in my regular rotation for quicker use.  However, I agree with the poster that said Food Saver should address that issue.
I also want to let you all know that you should put checking the food saver site on your schedule of things to do twice a month...last month they had some canisters on sale reg. $14.99 down to $4.50.  They also sometimes have coupons for bags. One thing I have heard is that Cabella's have vecuum bags cheaper, so you might want to check that out.
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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2011, 07:32:23 AM »
I wonder if it wouldn't be helpfull to put a couple of thin sheets of plastic (Like the modeling sheets you get at the hobby store) on either side the bag before sealing.  add a little to the cost but they would be reusable, washable.  Soft enough to bend but hard enough to not get out of shape.

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Thox Spuddy

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2011, 03:20:17 PM »
I wonder if it wouldn't be helpfull to put a couple of thin sheets of plastic (Like the modeling sheets you get at the hobby store) on either side the bag before sealing.  add a little to the cost but they would be reusable, washable.  Soft enough to bend but hard enough to not get out of shape.

I thought of butcher paper, freezer paper, but what a pain to stuff that in the bag.

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2011, 03:44:50 PM »
I thought of butcher paper, freezer paper, but what a pain to stuff that in the bag.

You could fold either paper in half, cut one side so that it fits easily into the vacuum bag, tape up the sides, make it into a bag of sorts, slide it into the vacuum bag and then fill. It might not be such a hassle that way.


Offline bigjoe1309

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2011, 04:05:42 PM »
usually just read, never contrib'd b4... could'nt help but notice the issue on this thread something i deal with alot,
been preppin food strorage for disaster for a couple months now.. found out the easiest way to accomplish was merely live like normal and begin packaging leftovers from daily meals by dehydrating and vac-sealing, this has proved to be an excellent method without alot of fanfare, found both machines on craig's list for a whopping total of $27 dollars,,,
after a couple of lost bags i discovered that a peice of wax paper folded up and used as an interior "envelope" worked great, provided enough extra thickness that "pointy" things like dried meats and such did not poke thru, and gives a great seal, also added a label from printer that has date and name of dish as well as re-hydrate instructions,
two months and i've developed a really well stocked food storage pantry that will "see" my family thru 90 days of interuption to the national food supply

pardon me if i don't know proper etiquet

Thox Spuddy

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2011, 04:44:10 PM »
bigjoe: that's a good idea about the printer labels, the label area of  vac bags doesn't leave much room for info. I often take a food label and put it inside the bag, but on a printer label you can put in the date and other info that wouldn't be on the food label. Leftovers are perfect for food storage/vac packing. We usually make big batches and the leftover goes for another meal and the storage.

Offline SoYouWillKnow

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2011, 11:39:49 AM »
I've used paper towels before - they seem to work quite well to cushion items like pasta, etc from puncturing the bags.

Offline ncjeeper

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2011, 12:39:19 PM »
A vacuum sealer is next on my list of things to buy, so for now Im just gaining helpful info from you guys and gals.

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Offline LICountryBoy

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #15 on: February 25, 2011, 01:33:53 PM »
When I seal stuff like the cabbage, I put it in a tupperware or some such container.
Freeze it then remove it from the container and put into a bag.
Same result, no liquids being sucked into the machine.

And a +1 to checking the website. I picked up a spare Fooddsaver for $24 in December. The bags it came with would have cost
close to $24. Also sign up for Kohl's emails. I've noticed they have food saver stuff and send a lot of coupons and deals which can
be used with the food saver stuff. Sometimes BJs has instant rebates on the bags also.

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Offline Slomad

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #16 on: March 05, 2011, 08:48:15 PM »
I was having the same problem with rice and even some beans puncturing my Food Saver bags after they were sealed. At Cabelas I came across some replacement bags in 11x16 rolls yesterday that claimed they were "stronger" than other bags. The box doesn't say how thick they are, but it does say that other bags emboss the little waffle like texture into the bags, which stretches the material and weakens it. These bags claim they are molded with the texture in, so there is no weakening of the material. They do feel heavier than the normal bags though. I figured I'd chance it and bought a box of two rolls and resealed two bags of pinto beans, a bag of dehydrated refried beans, and a bag of rice that all had managed to develop a pinpoint hole somewhere and lose vacuum not once--but twice. I figured these would be a good test. I repackaged them all in the new bags this morning and left them out, and so far so good. Not one had punctured. Before with the other bags most would develop a hole either within a few minutes or after handling them a bit. So far no problems with these. Maybe they'll break down the road, and if so I'll report back. For now, if anyone else wants to try them, they're these bags:

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Home-Cabin/Food-Processing/Vacuum-Sealers|/pc/104798880/c/104723280/sc/104668380/Zip-Vac-Vacuum-Bags-mdash-Rolls/939467.uts?WTz_l=SBC%3BBRprd713888%3Bcat104668380

On the bags themselves they say "ZipVac" but they're not the zipper style bags, but just normal rolls of the foodsaver style bags. The box design sort of looks like this (but without the cutter rolls dispenser, and in 11x16--this was the only picture I could find):




Offline Outdoorfury

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2011, 10:11:41 AM »
IMHO...

1. The pointy food probelm is solved with ziplock bags. I have had one out a hundred not work correctly and that was with a bag of rice. Don't double the vac bag as they are expensive.
2. Do not go cheap on the vacuum sealer. If you plan on doing this get quality. Mine has a setting for dry food and for moist food. The moist food setting helps make a solid seal.
3. leave a little extra space in the vac bag as it helps the sealing process. if you cut it too short it has problems sealing.
4. I would not throw an 02 absorber in as i hear they can rupture a bag.
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Offline tamo42

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2011, 10:56:37 AM »
Here's a tip I recently figured out.

Just the other day I was freezing some shrimp, and the liquid being pulled (technically pushed, but whatever) out prevented the seal from being created properly. I stuck a paper towel in between the shrimp and the sealing area, the paper towel absorbed the juices, and the seal formed perfectly.
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Offline Dawgus

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #19 on: April 26, 2011, 12:13:42 PM »
My wife sometimes likes a snack at work before lunch. Since we don't eat processed food, she makes big batches of homemade muffins. We just flash freeze them, then vac-seal individually. If you don't flash freeze, they'll squash down to nothing.  :D  They thaw really fast, so she just takes a frozen one and sets it aside on her desk.
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Offline Taylor3006

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #20 on: April 26, 2011, 12:39:42 PM »
I thought of butcher paper, freezer paper, but what a pain to stuff that in the bag.

I usually just put "pointy stuff" (ie dried apples) in paper lunch bags then vacuum seal them. Has always worked well for me. Hadn't thought of butcher paper, probably a cheaper alternative for sure. Would help block out light as well I imagine. BTW always check out yer local thrift shops, I picked up a Foodsaver 550 up for $8 and it works great. eBay has the best price on bags too, got a 50 foot roll of real Foodsaver bags for $26 shipped.
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Thox Spuddy

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #21 on: September 07, 2011, 10:53:11 PM »
With the problem with foods that need to be blanched and are therefore laden with moisture that prevents sealing I am now stuffing them into the vac bag and sealing the very tip of the bag and putting them in the freezer. The next day I open them up and then vac seal them. Just have to make sure you have enough room to do both.

I would like to see the mfg develop a way of vac sealing mini-bags for camping. 1, 2, 3 oz bags.

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #22 on: September 07, 2011, 11:32:54 PM »
With things that are too moist to effectively vac-seal, I like to pre-freeze it before vacuum sealing, too. I typically just put the food in question in a ziplock bag until it is at least partially frozen, then place in foodsaver bags and vac-seal. For fruits that might tend to clump up, I place them on a cookie sheet and freeze before bagging up (especially good for blueberries, strawberries, etc.).

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2011, 02:44:56 PM »
I use ziploc bags inside the vac bags for pokey things and things that I dont want to seal in single serving sizes. An example is when I seal nuts 5oz at a time. This is about the amount I use on a weekend hike and I also keep this much in my GHB (5oz). It also happens to be the amount that I will eat in a normal 1-2 week period. I buy almonds, raw and organic, in 5lb increments. They last a long time but need to be repackaged. I put 5oz in a ziploc, don't seal, place a small strip of paper towel in the ziploc. It creates a channel for the air and prevents the ziploc from sealing an not letting the air out. This way when I am hiking (or snacking) and open the vac bag I can reclose the ziploc so I can eat the rest later (during the hike, later in the week, etc).

I got the idea from this video about sealing first aid supplies: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_DbRH8uzOc&feature=related

Offline LvsChant

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2011, 05:07:02 PM »
Good tip on the paper towel, pennypincher. I will have to try that out.

Offline FrugalFannie

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2011, 09:52:38 PM »
Good tip on the paper towel, pennypincher. I will have to try that out.

Just use a small strip. I have the paper towels that are about 6 inches wide and I cut 1 inch strips for a 1x6 strip, fold in half the long way, stick into ziplock halfway and fold over. Creates a nice air channel for removing the air inside the ziploc.

Good luck.

Offline Ken325

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2011, 07:34:19 AM »
I recently sealed a bunch of beef jerky that had sharp pokey parts on it. I cut up paper plates and wrapped this around the jerky first.  This worked well and protected the vacuum bag from punctures.  This worked better than wax paper.

Offline Prepper7

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Re: Vacuum sealing tips and methods
« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2011, 12:33:05 AM »
I wonder if it wouldn't be helpfull to put a couple of thin sheets of plastic (Like the modeling sheets you get at the hobby store) on either side the bag before sealing.  add a little to the cost but they would be reusable, washable.  Soft enough to bend but hard enough to not get out of shape.

Nice idea.
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