Anybody use those food saving vacuum sealers?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Gregg Shiu, Jan 4, 2004.

  1. Gregg Shiu

    Gregg Shiu Second Unit

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    I've been meaning to pick up one of these for my mom for quite some time, but they're fairly expensive considering it's like triple digits for a machine that sucks out air from bags. In a family like ours, if it does what it's supposed to do, the sealer might be helpful for all the stuff we want to keep in our freezer without getting freezer burn. A couple of my friends swear by them, but I'd like to hear some of your guys' opinions and experiences using them. I'm most likely thinking of getting the Tilia Foodsaver, since a friend at Best Buy would be able to get it with a discount, so any information on that specific model would be super.
     
  2. Adam Bluhm

    Adam Bluhm Supporting Actor

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    My mother has one of those. I'm not sure which model, but it's the one that was all over tv.

    It's not a bad machine... if it would seal everytime. She has to try two to three times on occasion to get the thing to seal properly. Just from overlooking it also appears to be a pain in the butt to get the thing to recognize that you've pressed it all the way down.

    She uses it to send packages to my brother when he was in Germany with The National Guard. She also sent a package to my friend serving in the Navy. When she gets everything sealed they said it was received very fresh. Sometimes the problem is sealing it in the first place..
     
  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Gregg... we just got one for Christmas. We haven't had a chance to use it yet, but it's a Black & Decker I believe. Much cheaper than the original "Euro-sealer" or whatever it was called. And.. according to the box, uses the same bags.

    Actually, just before Christmas, my wife and I were joking how we didn't need one. Whenever we freeze bagels or whatever, we put them into the ziplock, zip the bag so there is only a small opening, and then suck the air out of the bag with our lungs and quickly zip shut. Don't laugh... it works. [​IMG] You just can't do it with powdered doughnuts. [​IMG]
     
  4. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I use a Tilia Foodsaver. Works just as advertised. Bags are fairly expensive, accessories are way overpriced ($39 for three containers). I use it to freeze meats and leftovers, as a container for coffee and to seal wine bottles. Tried a less expensive brand and it was terrible, did not seal correctly and the vacuum was lousy. If you are going to get one, get the Tilia.
     
  5. Gary Seven

    Gary Seven Grand Poo Pah

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    I got one. Like the one on the TV infomercials. Works great. No complaints. Food does last much longer.

    A nice added benefit is for marinating. Mine came with some cannisters and a retangular marinating container. The marinating feature really works great. Flavors the food like I've never tasted before.

    The bags are not that expensive if you buy the ones on a roll. I got mine at BJ's and they carry these bags there as well.

    No regrets buying this machine.
     
  6. Craig Robertson

    Craig Robertson Supporting Actor

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    i recently picked up the Tilia Foodsaver Pro 2. they make several different models and it's their top o' the line. i've used a couple different kinds made by a couple different mfrs and would recommend the Pro 2 over anything else i've used. i paid $190 on ebay and the seller was local so i just picked it up. the bags can be had a lot cheaper on ebay than locally.
    the Pro 2 is available packaged two ways. one is the sportsmans pack and the other is the home pack. the home pack comes with a couple of extra canisters that the sportsmans does not.
     
  7. Gregg Shiu

    Gregg Shiu Second Unit

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    Thanks for all the responses, sounds like it should be a smart buy. My biggest concern was whether or not I'd really be saving money considering I'd have to buy their more expensive special brand of vacuum sealing bags, even if my food lasts longer. However, it's good to know I can just get those on ebay or something. Gary, thanks for the information about marinating, that should come in handy.


    Heh, Dave, are you sure that helpful tidbit doesn't belong in Nick's thread over here [​IMG]

    Seriously, glad for hearing all the input. If there's anything else anyone knows about hidden costs or stuff that's super important to know about the machine down the line, I'd appreciate if you continue posting!
     
  8. Ralph Summa

    Ralph Summa Supporting Actor

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    Did you see the woman on Tech TV that used one of these things to make bra implants that hold booze? They even had a tube coming out of them for easy access. She actually received a patent for what she named the "Boobie Flask".

    Her sole motive was to get booze into concerts and sporting events.

    I would have to say that they machines work well if she's stuffing sealed booze in her bra!

    Wish I had more time on my hands.
     
  9. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    Geez Dave, I thought I was the only one that did that. [​IMG]
     
  10. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Executive Producer

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    Why do I get the feeling you're speaking from personal experience. [​IMG]
     
  11. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Cinematographer

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    Resurrecting an old thread to ask another question about these things. I've been looking at getting one, but I'd like to know how well they work for freezing and defrosting meat.

    What I'm wondering is whether the seals on the bags are completely watertight, so that you can defrost meat by soaking the frozen bags in cool water. I've done this with commercially vacuum sealed meat before, but would like to try it with the better steaks that I can buy from our butcher.

    The other thing I was wondering is whether or not freezing meat in the sealed bags affects the quality/taste at all. I know that thawed steaks usually aren't as flavourful, and tend to get discoloured when frozen-does the vacuum seal help avert this?

    Finally, how many "bags" go you get out of a roll for these things, and how likely are you to be able to reuse the bags (as they claim)?

    Thanks for any info!
     
  12. DaveBB

    DaveBB Supporting Actor

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    I'd also like to chime in and see what users of vacuum sealers find when sealing cheese? I always seem to be throwing out partial blocks of cheese that have gone moldy after being opened. How long can you keep cheese sealed?
     
  13. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    I have the Black & Decker sealer and I'd say it works great for some things and terrible for others.

    It has trouble getting a good seal with anything that has a lot of water/juice content. Some meats would fall under this category... ham seemed to work pretty well. Things like parsley or cilantro work great because you usually only need a small amount but can only buy a bushell full.


    I do notice things don't get that freezer taste to them when sealed.

    Overall, I'd say it works well with more dry stuff (coffee beans, parsley.. etc..) and not so well with wet stuff (some meats, wet veggies.. etc)
     
  14. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    My Foodsaver has a setting for an extra long seal cycle that eliminates the bad seal on meats. It basically evaporates the film of water/juice at the seal point by adding more heat. It also has a "seal only" cycle for chips and frozen veggies, works great.
     
  15. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    Here's my experience with the middle model of FoodSaver:

    "My biggest concern was whether or not I'd really be saving money considering I'd have to buy their more expensive special brand of vacuum sealing bags, even if my food lasts longer"

    The bags can be washed: by hand or in the dishwasher. Over and over and over.

    "What I'm wondering is whether the seals on the bags are completely watertight, so that you can defrost meat by soaking the frozen bags in cool water. I've done this with commercially vacuum sealed meat before, but would like to try it with the better steaks that I can buy from our butcher"

    My unit has sealed perfectly and completely waterproof. Like Dave said, you need to be a bit cautious with really juicy stuff ... but I think allowing it to drain well, and allowing a large enough bag, should help with this.

    "I'd also like to chime in and see what users of vacuum sealers find when sealing cheese? I always seem to be throwing out partial blocks of cheese that have gone moldy after being opened. How long can you keep cheese sealed?"

    Fantastic for cheese. It will keep months and months and months.

    The bag expense thing can be overcome by good shopping. I picked up a 3-roll 8" bag special on an Amazon Friday sale (they frequently put FoodSaver items on the Friday Sale) for $10, which was like a $25 savings.
     
  16. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Supporting Actor

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    Love our Tilia Foodsaver.

    We buy rolls rather than individual bags. Cut off about 6 inches or more extra so that we can reuse (you sacrifice about an inch every time you open a bag). Bag are dishwasherable, but turn them inside out so that the dirty side gets most of the spray. We segregate bags that have held meat, even though cleaned, just in case.

    Frozen food tastes better, is colored better, and defosts more easily by immersion in water.

    We buy the big blocks of cheese at Costco and separate them into quarters. Seal three of them in vaccuum bags, store the remainder in a Zip-lock, never have moldy cheese.

    I am truly impressed with the vaccuum cork for wine bottles. I am a bit of a sissy as a drinker, so we rarely finish all of a bottle of wine at one sitting. Wine, especially white wine, oxydizes rapidly and tastes bad. Vaccuum sealing with special cork extends the life of the wine quite nicely.
     
  17. Kirk Gunn

    Kirk Gunn Screenwriter

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    Geez - didn't know After Hours had turned into an infomercial.... [​IMG]

    Since all my esteemed colleagues are happy, now I'm intrigued. What are the best models and where can you get the best prices ?

    Thanks
     
  18. Elinor

    Elinor Supporting Actor

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    I have the 360 model from QVC. They may still have it, it was a "while supplies last" price (usually a discontinued model at great savings).

    This is a model that you have to hold one button down through the process, there are other models (more expensive) that are hands-free, I believe. I don't mind the button. There are some models that you have to literally press the whole lid part down the whole time, I'd want to avoid those (they are the lowest cost).

    Hands-free is pretty slick, but I couldn't pass up the price on the model I got.
     
  19. Philip_T

    Philip_T Supporting Actor

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    Geez, I didn't even think to re-use those bags. I'll have to try that from now on. Also, nice tip on shopping around for replacement bags. I paid like $30 for my last set.

    Kirk,
    I got mine at Costco. It is the Tilia FoodSaver Vac V1085 Elite IIRC and goes for around $130. They were having a sale when we got ours for around $115. We use it all the time to stock up on meats for our freezer. Works great.
     
  20. Tony Whalen

    Tony Whalen Producer

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    I'm just waiting for Ron Popiel to show up and start hawking "Spray-On Hair". [​IMG]
     

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