Reviewing The Best Vacuum Sealers For Food!
Vacuum sealers become more popular in home kitchens in recent years as the technology becomes cheaper and, and the availability of these types of machines increases. You can buy anything on Amazon these days, including vacuum sealers for food. There's a huge range of brands, models, prices, and functions available. Many are actually quite inexpensive, yet they provide a surprising amount of power and versatility.
Others are pretty pricey, but don't do much more than versions that cost 1/2 as much. So which ones are best for what you need? Well, that's why I started this website! I wanted to review vacuum sealers so you can figure out which one will get you the most bang for your buck.
The basic concept of a vacuum sealer is incredibly simple. The machine offers a way to remove the air surrounding food (and other products). By doing so, you have the potential to make items last longer and to save money.
Vacuum sealers themselves come in all styles, sizes and brands. Some are inexpensive and basic, working well for people who only use the device periodically or have basic needs. Other options are much more complex, often providing extra control over the process or giving you more options. Some are small and portable, while others are pretty big, and only necessary if you are vacuum sealing a ton of food on a regular basis.
The most common idea about using vacuum sealers for food is increasing its shelf life. And, without a doubt, this is the key reason. But, there are also many other advantages of having a vacuum sealer along with additional reasons for using one. Let's take a look at some of the main reasons you'd want a sealer, and then we'll dig into one one is best for you.
You can also navigate the menu area to find which brand, price range, or style you're looking for and compare from there.
But let's take a look at the top reasons to buy a vacuum sealer for food.
Reason #1: To Increase The Shelf Life Of Food
So, let’s start off with the obvious approach, which is increasing how long food lasts. For many people, this is the key reason for choosing a vacuum sealer, especially if they have food that often gets wasted.
Vacuum sealers promise to resolve this issue and they do so by reducing the available air a food comes into contact with. Over time, the oxygen that surrounds food will tend to decrease quality and mean that products go bad faster. This is why food will go moldy in the fridge relatively quickly and even sooner if you forget to put it in the fridge.
Food going bad can be a major issue for many people, especially if you tend to make too many leftovers or ignore some of the food in your fridge. At the same time, the quality of food will often decrease as you store it, even if it does remain safe to eat.
In the case of moist foods (like steak), moisture tends to escape over time. This dries the food out and can lower the quality. If you’re freezing that food, the process can contribute to freezer burn.
Problems also occur with dry food. Here, the air plays a different role and means that the food ends up taking on moisture. The end result is situations like stale bread and chips.
Because of this, storing food can often end up ruining the taste and texture, even if you’re not keeping it for a long time.
Vacuum sealers for food can help fix both types of problems because you are removing the air from around food. That means no mold on moist food, and no moisture in dry food. You end up being able to store food for longer without losing quality. Vacuum sealed food often retains flavor better than foods stored in a conventional manner, so these appliances can be useful in the short term too!
At the same time, vacuum sealing helps to reduce the growth of bacteria, as many do not thrive in low oxygen environments. This is another reason why vacuum sealing food tends to make it last much longer if you are looking for long terms storage solutions.
Common estimates suggest that you can store food for up to 5 times as long with vacuum sealing compared to other approaches. For example, FoodSaver estimates that vacuum stored beef can be stored for 2 to 3 years in the freezer, versus around 6 months if not vacuum sealed.
The exact length of the time that you can store food varies considerably depending on what food you vacuum sealed, as well as how efficient your sealer was at removing all the air. There are many conversion tables to help you figure this out once you get started. You can find these online, or possibly included with your machine.
Reason #2: Saving Space In Your Fridge And Freezer
In addition to making food last longer, vacuum sealing can also make storage easier. After all, vacuum sealing removes air from bags and this reduces the amount of space that the bag takes up. I know for a fact that no matter how much you try to squish out the air by hand. there's always a little left. Plus, then you end up crushing your food! For steaks and meat that doesn't matter much but for more delicate items like veggies or bread, it could spell disaster.
But no matter what you're storing, vacuum sealing can allow you to fit more food in your fridge or in your freezer. That’s especially helpful for anybody that is trying to stockpiles a large amount of food. Preppers...I'm talking to you.
Vacuum sealing also helps with space because you can break up large bags of food without decreasing shelf life. This is particularly true for food in the fridge, as many items will only last for a few days or a week once their packet has been opened.Often, creating multiple smaller bags gives you an advantage as these are easier to fit into small spaces, like puzzle pieces.
A beautifully organized freezer with neatly divided packages of meat you can just grab whenever convenient is something to really apprecaite.
Reason #3: As A Way To Save Money
The ability to make food last longer also means that you can save a lot of money by buying in bulk. Buying bulk grocery items is typically less expensive than regular shopping, especially if you keep an eye out for good specials.
For example, meat is often much cheaper if you buy it in bulk. The same is true for many types of beans and grains. For that matter, simply buying whole chickens and breaking them down yourself is often cheaper than buying individual cuts of meat. By "cutting out" the middle man and doing a bit of work yourself, manufacturers don't have to package, brand, stock, and sell small amount. You save them work, and they pass on the savings.
Additionally, getting more at a time may give you extra options about where you purchase your food from. For example, some catering companies are beginning to sell to consumers and there are other options on the market as well. These alternatives may be cheaper again or you might end up with better quality food for the same price. Imagine buying food for a 25-person party, then freezing and storing it for the next couple months!
That means you can get pre-cooked, delicious, restaurant quality meals at a discount. Remember, a vacuum sealer will keep your food fresh longer, preserving the flavor too!
At the same time, vacuum sealing can help you save money by decreasing your waste. This is particularly true for leftovers. Without vacuum sealing, you normally have to consume leftovers within a few days or freeze them and risk freezer burn.
That situation often leads to food waste, especially as eating leftovers in a few days won’t always an option. Who wants to eat the same things 3 days in a row just because you can't let them sit around and go bad?The holidays is a perfect example of where using vacuum sealers for food can save you money. Just think about all the extra food that hangs about after Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Instead of turkey sandwiches every day for a week, you can seal, freeze, and enjoy them once a week for the next two months. That also means you won't be buying lunch at work, saving you money over time.
Reason #4: Can Also Be A Time Saving Device
Using a vacuum sealer to save time is another reason people love having this appliance in their home. One reason is that you’re typically doing less shopping. After all, buying in bulk means that you don’t have to shop nearly as often.
At the same time, vacuum sealing can majorly help with meal prepping, which also helps you to save time. Certainly, anything that reduces your time at the end of the busy day is going to be a desirable approach.
For example, you could do one BIG shopping trip per month, then a small one each week, just running to the store to pick up a few items or getting them on the way home from work. This is a lot more convenient than having a weekly grocery shopping trip. That would take a half a day each weekend when I was a kid!
The time you spend cooking each day could be reduced too. Instead of taking 30 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to cook, and 30 minutes to clean, you can reheat your meals and have fresh tasting, delicious food every day of the week, with minimal prepping. Then, you can do your more time-intensive coking on the weekend when you can relax and open a bottle of wine while you cook.
Meal Prepping With A Vacuum Sealer
Prep work tends to be the most time-consuming aspects of making food and can also be frustrating. Vacuum sealers let you reduce a significant amount of work, giving you the chance to do your cooking in bulk, and enjoy the results over a long period of time.
One such approach is to make bags that contain the ingredients you need for a given meal, already cut. So, if you were planning on having a stir fry, you might have one bag of the right vegetables and proportions that you’ve already prepared, along with another bag of chopped meat.
Doing so saves you time on the night, as all you have to do is open the bags and cook.
For that matter, you can save time overall because you might end up preparing the ingredients for many nights at once. It’s easy to see how this could be efficient. You can do a bunch of prep over the weekend when you have extra time, then be less stressed during the week when you have work, school, kids, events, etc.
Once again, this also offers you the ability to save money and keep food longer. For example, you can buy vegetables in bulk without having to worry about them going bad before you can use them.
An extension of this idea is vacuum sealing already cooked meals. For example, you could vacuum seal steak or cooked chicken. Doing so would make for easy lunches and dinners and would be healthier than most frozen dinner options. It's pretty cool making your own TV dinners!
And don't forget, pre-portioned meals is a great way to lose weight. Rather than cooking a meal and eating all of it just because its there, limiting yourself to whats in the vacuum bag is great for portion control. Even if you are a body builder and trying to gain weight, this offers you a great option for tracking macronutrients and not deviating from your intended calorie/carb/protein intake.
Of course, vacuum sealing cooked food will work better for some choices than for others. In particular, the process is only relevant to foods that reheat and/or freeze well to begin with.
At the same time, you can’t normally vacuum seal delicate foods effectively. So, cooked vegetables would often turn to mush when you vacuum sealed them. Likewise, if you plan to freeze and reheat the food, the taste or texture could change as well.
In many cases, the answer is simply a bit of trial and error. After all, people do have different criteria about the food that they plan to eat. But there are also a lot of resources online where people have trail-blazed a path already, letting you know what works and what doesn't.
On a side note, some specific models do let you vacuum seal more than just bags. For example, there are some specialized jars and canisters that can be vacuum sealed with the right machine.
The process may not increase shelf life to the same extent as vacuum sealed bags. Still, it can be a good option for getting around any potential crushing of your food.
May Let You Quickly Marinate Food
Some vacuum sealer models also offer the ability to marinate food quickly. This is typically done through a specialized attachment and lets you marinate in a few minutes, rather than hours.
While this isn’t always an option it is another way to save time with a vacuum sealer. Additionally, it increases your versatility when it comes to cooking, which is always a good thing.
Reason #5: For Hunters and Fishermen
Vacuum sealers can be particularly important for anybody that hunts or fishes regularly. Especially if you're hunting big game, you will often end up with a large amount of food and vacuum sealing significantly increases how long you can store it for. The process also means that your meat will tend to take up less space, which is particularly relevant if you tend to hunt often.
It also makes it convenient to give out to your buddies because you know they'll be asking for it!
Beyond all of this, vacuum sealing can simply be a more practical and less messy way to store meat, in the short-term or in the long-term. Doing so also lets you get around having to find bags or containers of the right size.
Additionally, there are some vacuum sealers on the market that are specifically designed for this purpose. These tend to be effective at making many consecutive seals. Being able to do so is perfect if you have a considerable amount of meat to process at any time. Some sealers are only able to handle a certain amount of work in a short period of time, so make sure the brand/model you buy is able to handle the type of work you plan to put it through.
Typically, vacuum sealers are designed as kitchen appliances and most function best in that environment. Still, there are some models that are designed to be easily portable and can be used in the field, especially if you have access to a conventional power outlet. This is exactly why we do reviews on this site - so you can find the best machine for your needs.
Reason #6: Sous Vide Cooking
The final significant way to use vacuum sealers for food is sous vide cooking. Indeed, this the common reason that many people get started with vacuum sealers. Sous vide cooking is one of my passions, and this is actually how I got started doing research in vacuum sealers for food.
Essentially, sous vide means that you are cooking food in a water bath, where the food is placed in a sealed bag, then the bag place in the water. Removing the air helps to lock in flavor, as well as cause the bag to sink in the water bath instead of floating on the surface.
The key to sous vide is a lower temperature over a longer period of time. Instead of searing a steak for 20 minutes and hoping it turns out correctly in the middle, you set your water temp to 131ºF for an hour and you know it'll be done exactly how you want. You need either an immersion circulator or water oven to achieve this temperature and time perfection, but they are relatively cheap these days, costing just $100-$200 for a device you can use in your home.
Where does the vacuum sealer come in?
The term sous vide specifically refers to cooking "under vacuum". Although you can actually do it in zip lock bags and use water displacement to remove air form the bag, it's not a perfect method, and more for the casual cook. Many people that cook sous vide often and are particular about cooking precision prefer to own a quality vacuum sealer to cook their food. Plus, it means you can conveniently store meat in a freezer, then drop into the water bath and start cooking immediately.
Sous vide is appealing because it can produce some amazingly delicious food, including outcomes that you simply couldn’t get any other way. I absolutely love sous vide cooking myself and have discovered how easy it is to make restaurant quality steak at home.
Using proper vacuum sealing equipment and bags significantly reduces the chance of your bags leaking and means that you’re more likely to get consistent high-quality results. I have had ziploc bags break in my water bath, and it not only ruined meals, but meant I had to spend some time cleaning my immersion circulator from the gunk circulating through its systems.
I'm definitely excited to help you find the best vacuum sealer for cooking sous vide because it's something I hope to find myself, as I test and reviews these for my website.