I've had a look but I can't find an answer to his question. Can you use any other bag than foodsaver bags in a foodsaver?
You can use any bag made for sous vide. I am not sure if they are cheaper, but they are boil-able.
Yes...a few methods explained in some videos.
The food saver ribbed texture lets the air draw, then seal.
A non-ribbed bag will not work but some tips to assist that are explained...
A bit fussy but in a pinch or to store some dry goods might be worth it.
For expensive cuts of meat i prefer the thick bags.
For grains, seeds, and some bulk spices, i might try one of the other methods that some have figured out.
Here is a link that might be useful: using non-ribbed bags...
I have not tried using non-foodsaver bags in the foodsaver, but I have tried cutting the large bags in half vertically and then tried seaming along the sides, and that did not work. The ribs appear to be directional, and therefore you cannot put the bags in sideways.
One thing I like is that foodsaver now makes rolls that are 8" wide in addition to the 11" wide rolls, and I find that there is less waste (of bag material) in the 8" wide bags for most of my uses. Kevin bought some replacement rolls at Target (multipack with both 8" and 11"), and so now that I have a lot of rolls, I am less worried about the cost of using them. The multipack has two 8" x 20' rolls and three 11" x 16' rolls and cost $37 at Target. That seems to make each bag that I make cost less than fifty cents, and I can use each bag at least twice - still more expensive than Ziplock, but very different in function. I can use Ziplock bags many times, but they generally still have air in them, unless I am filling them with liquid (such as stock).
I've done the vertical cut Lars mentioned, but sealed the cut side the way one does the bottom, and loaded/vacuumed through the top as usual. That works.
Agreed about the multi-roll packs. Less sticker shock, then you have an abundance and don't feel the bags are so precious. :)
BTW, the sealer should work fine on most plastic bags of some weight (I'd worry about the filmy ones melting), if you just want them closed. It's the vacuum that's at question.
Did you mean name brand Foodsaver bags? Because one of my local hardware stores carries a generic version stocked directly next to the Food Saver supplies that are little less expensive in a variety of sizes (bags and rolls). The name is escaping me right now and what I have on hand is the multi-pack rolls/bags from Costco in Food Saver brand but I have bought them and see no difference.
If someone had a large garden, meat in bulk or some reason to freeze mega bags of food, this site has been recommended as reliable for alternative bags on Harvest Forum
Here is a link that might be useful: Sweet Attack - vac bags
I had the same experience as plllog - I could seal the sides of the bags but not vacuum seal on the side. Now that 8" wide bags are available, I don't need to do that, however.
I have not seen generic versions, but I have read bad reviews on the ones that Walmart sells. If the cost is only slightly different, it would not be worth it to risk a generic brand. What really bothers me about Foodsaver is how much length is used to make the seal - more than an inch, it seems.
Lars, FS has had the 8 inch wide rolls for many years now. And the newer units use only about 1/2 inch for sealing.
If you are looking for savings on the FS brand of bags/rolls, go to the FS home page and sign up for emails. They will run sales periodically on bags/rolls as well as the machine. eBay also has a good number of vendors at discount pricing, some are FS and some are knock offs. Morz shows a site that has excellent pricing and service.
It must vary by model. Mine will make just a seal anywhere, but will only do the vacuum and seal with some 3" of lead. It's wasteful, but that's what it does, and I'm sorry if I try to save a quarter inch, because when the contents press against the jaws of the machine, they don't close as well, and I have to hold things just so.
I do the split bag for when I want 4"x4" (excluding the leader). That's useful for things like my hollandaise pucks or individual servings of things.
Thanks for all the information.
I have used the following bags from Amazon very successfully in my Foodsaver:
I am pretty darn impressed by the prices from Vacuum Sealers Unlimited. Haven't ordered from them (although I probably will soon), but some here have and reports are good.
If you are a member of Smoking Meats Forums you qualify for a 10% discount.
Here is a link that might be useful: Vacuum Sealers Unlimited
This post was edited by Bellsmom on Thu, Jul 10, 14 at 16:59
"-----If you are a member of Smoking Meats Forums you qualify for a 10% discount.----"
It is interesting that a whole bunch of self-proclaimed "hillbilly" and "redneck" smokers and BBQers are really into getting into sous vide cooking at that Forum. Many of them are buying sous vide cookers.
I dunno, DC. I know it's supposed to be high-falutin', but once you get past the gizmo that holds a constant temperature better than most appliances, it's pretty redneck. ;) Hey! Let's seal it in a bag and toss it in some water! It's not so different from those pre-microwave boil in the bag suppers. :) I mean, the results are different, but not the concept. It's not like they've embraced foams. :)