Food Storage Updated May 2, 2012 Updated August 16, 2012 Updated December 1, 2012 Updated February 27, 2013 Updated December 22, 2014 On this page I will show you how I use (used) my Vacuum SealerI will try to keep this up to date.August 16, 2012 I am looking into a new supplier and will post the results later,. December 1, 2012 NEW SUPPLIER FOUND Here s a link if you want to try them yourself Vacuum Bags 05/01/2011 UPDATE ON SORBENT SYSTEMS BAGS, SEE BELOW Read before purchasing from SorbentSystems Vacuum sealers are truly a must have when barbecuing. You can freeze into meal sized portions. I have used a vacuum sealer for 15 years or so, I am on my 3rd Food Saver Sealer. I just picked up the V3485 was $199.00, but they had a 50% off and free ship promotion What I will sometimes do is seal in different portions of the same food, so for example if you seal all that pork butt you just made in serving portions of 2 and serving portions of 4, you will have the option of reheating just enough food if you want to eat solo or with the family. Here is where I used to get my bags Sorbent Systems. Food Saver has pretty neat Stand Up Steamer Bags, however I find Food Saver bags to rich for my blood, unless you catch a good sale. I am not endorsing Food Saver or Vacuum Sealers Unlimited, that is just what I am currently using and they both work well. Some Quick Tips. Partially Freeze - If the item you are vacuum sealing has a lot of liquid in it, you can place it in the bag, opened and place in the freezer for a couple hours, remove from refrigerator then seal it. If you seal warm, you may pull the moisture out of the bag and this can be messy. Partially Freeze - Soft Foods, the same thing applies to soft food, something like pulled pork, you don't want to crush the meat so do a Partial Freeze before sealing. Moisture Barrier - Another trick I have learned is to use a paper towel the length of the opening of the bag and fold it up so it is about 1/2" wide then place it at the top of the bag about an inch below where you plan to seal it, as an example a 10" wide bag (inside measurement) would have a strip 10" x 1/2" at 1 inch below the seal area. The bag will start to seal before the moisture gets past this "make shift barrier". Some of the newer models have "Auto Liquid Detection". Another method is to make the bag extra long (tail) and when sealing, drape the food end over the edge of the table, if the vacuum sealer starts to pull the liquid, hit the manual seal button. Sealing - Make sure to give yourself a lot of extra head space when sealing items that may be opened and sealed several times, like bulk cheeses and such. Double seal - I seal twice, once to get the air out then a 2nd seal above that one or directly on top, plenty of times I have had a poor seal and after a week or so in the fridge its full of air, however, this is a rarer occurrence in the newer model, the seal is much thicker, but I still double seal most of the time. Also rotate sealed foods and inspect for broken seals. Protect from sharp foods - When sealing something like soft pretzels, make sure to partially freeze then place in a paper bag then into the vacuum bag, this will prevent the salt from cutting through the bag, the same goes for dehydrated foods like spaghetti or pastas that may puncture Date and Label - This is very important, make sure to date and label the food accurately. Reheat - To reheat, thaw in refrigerator overnight, boil some water then reduce heat to a simmer or turn off burner completely, place the bag in the water 15 minutes or so. Make sure to use bags that can be placed in boiling water. You can reheat from frozen but reheating time will be longer. The Sorbent bags I used to get are not made to place in boiling water, technically speaking. The Food Saver Bags are designed for Simmering and Microwave use as well as Vacuum Sealers Unlimited. Open / Reseal - If it is something like lunch meat or cheese and you only want a few pieces, make sure to open the bag closest to the seal then you can reseal.There are also Ziploc Vacuum bags on the market that are great for making dehydrated meals for Back packing. Reuse - I will sometime wash and reuse my bags, and they are dishwasher safe, This is fine for cooked foods but I wouldn't advise this with raw foods unless you plan to reuse the bags for garbage. 12/13/10 UPDATE ON SORBENT SYSTEMS (IMPAK) BAGS IMPAK IS HAVING TROUBLE WITH THEIR CHANNEL BAGS NOT WORKING PROPERLY AND WILL ISSUE FULL REFUNDS IN THE FORM OF A CHECK, THEY ARE AWARE OF THE PROBLEM AND ARE WORKING ON IT. I will repost when they have resolved the issue. Update 05/01/2011 Ok here's the deal, after 5 months of contacting these people and dozens of non returned phone calls and multiple promises I finally received my refund and of course, they neglected to reimburse me for the $24.63 I paid in shipping. Total was $188.83 and I received $164.20. I would steer clear of this company until they get their act together. IMPAK Corporation 2460 E. 57th Street Los Angeles,CA 90058 (323) 277-4700 ext 113 (323) 389-2200 EFAX www.sorbentsystems.com 2010 (outdated info, but gives you an idea of "Cost Comparison", If I have time I will update this with Vacuum Sealers Unlimited - Foodsaver) Bags - Sorbent System Bags are much cheaper, averaging about 0.17- 0.29 cents per bag depending on the quantity ordered, whereas the Foodsaver Bags are 0.60 - 0.92 cents per bag best price. If you are not going to use the bags for reheating, get the Sorbent Bags, If you are going to use the bags for reheating, get the Foodsaver Bags. If you do both, order both bags and only use the Food Saver Bags for foods that will be reheated in a microwave or boiling water, however, I have been using the Sorbent bags for near ten years and although Sorbent Systems does not recommend their bags in boiling water or microwave, I have yet to have a problem. Breakdown of bags Sorbent - 500 Bags (8" X 11.5" 3.5 MIL) [Quart] channel bags ($85.70) 0.17 each Tilia Foodsaver - 160 Bags (?" X ?" ? MIL) [Quart] channel bags ($11.99 x 8 = $95.92) 0.60 each (This is the price after the 30% discounted price for bulk orders) $0.43 difference per bag So you will spend $10.22 less and get 340 more bags ordering from Sorbent Systems. Sorbent - 300 Bags (10" X 14.5" 3.5 MIL) [Gallon] channel bags ($85.70) 0.29 each Tilia Foodsaver - 104 Bags (?" X ?" ? MIL) [Gallon] channel bags ($11.99 x 8 = $95.92) 0.92 each (This is the price after the 30% discounted price for bulk orders) $0.63 difference per bag So you will spend $10.22 less and get 196 more bags ordering from Sorbent Systems. Seems like a no brainer to me, but don't take my word for it, do your own homework and see for yourself. I also believe that Sorbent Systems makes bags and rolls for the Foodsaver and I am not sure if the specs on their bags are any different than the ones labeled Sorbent Systems, this I can not verify for sure. Tilia Foodsaver also offers a 40 pack of Quart food savers bags at $19.99 but there is no option to get discounts at bulk, so it's better to order the smaller pack size in bulk to get the discount. December 1st, 2012 I had recently ordered some bags from Vacuum Sealers Unlimited and will post my results on their product in the near future. February 27, 2013 So far so good using the Vacuum Sealers Unlimited Bags, I have used a few with no problems and Just ordered their Quart Sized Ziploc Vacuum Sealer Bags for using for BackPacking and Camping trips December 18, 2014 Vacuum Sealers Unlimited Bags are excellent, been using for backpacking foods, clothing storage for canoeing, and of course storing food. Pulled Pork. I suggest partially freeze this before sealing. Rib bits for Chili and Beans "Smoked Onions" Sometimes I will fill up the smoker with veggies and stuff to use for future cooks. Ribs; These ribs were Smoked, sealed, frozen and reheated a week later In a steamer pan and were perfect. Chukie,Sloppy Joe Chuckie and Pork Loin Pulled Pork, Chicken Cordon Bleu Fattie and Chicken Spinoccoli Fattie Manday 2014 Pulled Pork (large chunks can be pulled later or served in chunks), Ribs, Turkey/Bison Chili, Supreme Pizza Fattie, Reheating some pulled pork, very low heat Sous Vide Cooking Chicken Wings Venison Roast Top Round London Broil Chuck Roast Cured Foods Canadian Bacon, cured, sliced and packaged for the freezer. Corned Beef, in the Sous Vide. Buck Board Bacon, cured, cold smoked and packaged for the freezer. Nuts and Cheese Smoked Cheese Smoked Nuts, I do not seal these tight, keeps fresher and don't go stale. Camp Food Boil in Bag Omelet in a Bag, camping food. Boil in Bag Cheeseburger, Camping Food. Boil in Bag, Sausage and Peppers, Camping Food. Picnics and marinating Easy Picnic or party ready foods. Other Uses Clothing for Canoeing Dehydrated Meals Dehydrated meals for Backpacking Some more tips; Freeze broth or sauces at the bottom of a bag add your meat, pasta or whatever you like, then seal. Soft pretzels can be sealed but freeze them first then place in a paper bag then vacuum seal, if you seal without a paper bag, the salt will sometimes cut the bag, losing the seal. Bags larger than your sealer can be used, seal a corner on an angle. Remember to seal in various portions. Use bags to freeze ice cubes for freezer packs for the kids lunch boxes, or to place in your pitcher of beer or iced tea on a hot day. For dehydrated foods with sharp edges, place in a paper bag sleeve or two then seal to avoid punctures. I do not recommend this as standard practice, but if you are in a situation where the bag will not vacuum but rather seals before all the air is removed, you can place a small wrinkle in the bag in the clamp area then when all the air is vacuumed out, press the manual seal button, then seal once more above the seal. I was stuck with a bunch of bad bags but needed to seal 20 lbs. of sliced cheese, 30 lbs. of lunch meat and 15 lbs. of bacon. The Mold Technique, (Don't use all your freezer containers for storage) Place food in a plastic storage container and freeze Remove the next day run hot water on bottom of the container, pop out food and seal in Vac Seal bag. I do this a lot with soups in Tupperware to free up my Tupperware. Square containers are best for stacking I like to keep it no more than 2" thick, it freezes, seals, stacks and reheats much easier. There are just too many ideas to put in one place, but you get the idea.