Foodsaver 101 - help me please

loves2cook4sixOctober 20, 2010

I've had my foodsaver now for a few years and I am tired of wasting bags.

The principle of the vacuum packer is great but in practice I find mine underwhelming.

Today I plan on doing my once a month cook. Of course this requires freezing and I always use my FS.

I want to love my FS, really I do. Right now it only works for me with pre-frozen food that is double bagged.

My normal routine is to make everything in 1 Gallon Ziplock Freezer bags, squeeze out all the air, freeze them, then vacuum pack the frozen food. DH is having heart palpitations at all the gallon bags being wasted.

So how do you vacuum seal chicken in marinade? Or soup? Or any other WET foods. It seems to me that if I get ANYTHING in the seal area the bags don't seal properly, even a grain of sugar or a drop of water

I looked on youtube and most of the videos show vacuum sealing fresh food or leftovers. There doesn't seem to be any pre-freezing. If I try that, they end up looking like astronaut food.

If I try sealing wet foods, the liquid is sucked out the bag and then the bag won't seal. Even happens with fresh chicken breasts.

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I'll be interested to see the responses to this question.

I do it the same way you do, but I use regular storage bags rather than the freezer bags.
They are a bit cheaper.
And the FS bags are reusable, so I don't feel that is a waste.

For fresh meats, such as chicken breasts or pieces,
I put individual pieces in ziplock sandwich bags.
Then put those in a large FS bag and seal.
Or if too large for a sandwich bag, I wrap in Saran wrap.
Once in a great while some moisture will be pulled out of the inner wrapping and keep it from sealing.
But not often.
I do chicken pork chops, steaks, even chopped steak this way.
That way I can remove and thaw only what I need at the time.
The Food Saver bag can then be resealed and put back in the freezer.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:29AM
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Rusty, another question...Don't you loose a couple of inches off the bag everytime you open and reseal it?

And do you seal the inner bags?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:50AM
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Yes, you do lose a little off the FS bag each time you open & reseal.
That doesn't bother me,
I just use it for different things,
or different amounts the next time.
Until it gets too small.
I usually get anywhere from 3 to 5 uses from each bag.
I buy only the 11" freezer roll,
to make my bags to the size I want.
The 1st time I make a bag, I cut it a couple of inches longer than I need.
And I seal as close to the edge as possible.
Usually, I double seal.
(Seal a second time just outside the first seal.)

The inner bags are just cheapy store brand ziplock type bags.
I just zip them closed, leaving a very tiny bit 'unzipped'.
Just enough so they don't 'pop' when being sealed inside the FS bag.
I've also found that putting the zipped end of the inner bag facing away from the end of the FS bag I will be sealing, helps keep the moisture in the inner bag.
Does that make sense?
I'm not good at describing things.

It works pretty good most of the time.

Every once in awhile, I find one that loses it seal while in the freezer.
I haven't figured out yet just why that happens.
Or what I need to do different to prevent it.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 11:13AM
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I've tried using the FS with a clean paper towel tucked on top to stop moisture from getting to the sealing area.

But-the best way to seal up wet stuff is to freeze it first, then put it in the FS to seal up. I did this with pesto, frozen in ice cube trays, then popped out frozen and sealed up nice and tight. My friend freezes bread, then puts it in her FS for sealing. I do wet meats all the time, this way, and have done Thanksgiving left-overs, complete with gravy.

I freeze stuff on trays (covered) or in covered containers, or in other, reused bags until there is no loose liquid. Then pop it out, FS it, and wash the original container to reuse.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 1:01PM
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LC46, I'm pretty underwhelmed with my FoodSaver too, so I'm hoping you get some good hints.

Peppi did tell me to save those cheapie plastic bags that you get at the produce department when you buy individual fruits and vegetables, wash them and use them to put things into, then FoodSaver them.

Mine has pretty much been a wash so far on strawberries, peaches and soft fruits, it was a real PIA to spread all those fruits onto baking sheets, freeze them, package them and then package them again. I stuck mine in the cupboard and haven't bothered to take it back out.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 2:34PM
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jean sark (welcome!) got to my solution before I could post. Good summary. I find it easiest to pop frozen soups etc. out of plastic containers. Post more!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 3:15PM
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Jean hit is on the head. Freeze the soups or soft items in a container, reusable of course, pop them out, then wrap them in the flimsy produce plastic bags. Tie a knot, and snip a small air hole into the bag. Now put it in the FS bag and seal while frozen.

If you are doing solid items, like meats or veggies, just go with freezing them in the plastic, and them FS them.

If the items have sharp edges, like chop bones or even shrimp tails, wrap them in a paper towel. The can pop a hole and let air in. Maybe not right away, but later when they get jiggled around.

If you tend to move things around in your freeze, AKA the hunting expeditions, your bags could be getting small pin holes allowing air to get in. You may want to zip bag the FS items to protect them. Those bags will stay clean and can be re-used later.

When you are ready to defrost your item, take it out while still frozen and defrost in a container. Bags now clean up fast since leaks are avoided.

LC, if you need a lesson I can always come over.

Annie, skip the trays and just bag them up. Once frozen, you can still "flatten" berries and pack up. They sort of crumble up after being out for a few minutes. To help keep them flat, be sure to hold the bottom corners of the bag to fight the curl.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 5:04PM
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I've also done the freeze in plastic containers thing first. I still wasn't getting a good seal, and I realized it was the bags I was using. I was using generics.... once I switched to FS brand, I never again had a problem getting the machine to form a seal, even if the food/opening has moisture. I just wonder if the food saved is worth the expense of the bags!

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 6:26PM
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Peppi taught me the produce bag trick a couple years ago; it works for me even with soups and sauces. I put the produce bag in a glass storage container; pour the soup/sauce in the bag, roll down the bag; freeze it. After it's frozen, transfer the frozen block to a FS bag. Then reuse the FS bag. Although I don't use FS bags too often.

I use canning jars more than bags and my hand held FS more than the counter top unit.

I like the universal lids; I have found that they work even better than the lids that come with the FS canisters.

I use giant pickle jars (think Sam's Club); I poke a hole in the lid and extract the air with a rigged up hand held FS, electrical tape, and a Punp n' Seal. I use this for birdseed to keep out four legged pest and for the kitty's vacation food.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pump-n-Seal

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 6:47PM
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You do not need to vacuum seal stock or sauces, and you can use regular ziplock bags. Put the bag in a bowl (to hold it in place), add the stock or other liquid, and tilt the bag as you close it so that all the air goes out toward one upper corner as you close it. I've been doing this for many years before I had a food saver, and I never had air in my bags of stock.

When I am using a food saver bag for bacon, I make it several inches too long so that it will still be long enough when I get down to the last bit of bacon. I dry the bag out with a paper towel but still use the moist setting when sealing.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 12:25AM
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I, too, have been very underwhelmed with this thing!

This has given me some good tips. Still not sure it is worth the money or the work, if I have to go through the pre-freezing and pre-packing thing first.......I may retire this puppy to the back of the pantry!

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 5:44AM
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For those of you who are underwhelmed with your FoodSaver - it might be the model you are using. I bought a very basic FoodSaver several years ago and I used it a lot. It was frustrating at times, because I often had to re-seal things and even then I sometimes had seal failures. Recently I bought a new FoodSaver (from Costco, the one that stands upright) and I've been amazed at how well it works. I have yet to have a seal failure or have to re-do a seal. I'm so happy with mine that I just bought one for my daughter for Christmas.

If you are interested in this model, Costco currently has a $30.00 coupon out for it, making the total price about $120.00, I think. Pricey, but money well spent as far as I'm concerned.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 6:44AM
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Is it worth the time and money? You betcha! When I can buy a whole pork loin for .99 per pound versus $3.99, cut up into smaller roasts, vac seal it and keep for over a year and not worry about icky freezer taste or burn? Or make a meal and freeze and not worry? DInner is done on the busy nights or days I hurt too much to cook. I was not able to can this year, so my garden harvest was frozen in bags. No green bean ice block come next June. And since I can cook in the bags too, some already have the butter and almond in there.

stbonner is right, the model does make a differance. Costco has a good price right now, but sign up for the FS newletters and watch for the Thanksgiving day or after sale. I picked up a $200 model for about $89 two years ago. And they run specials on the bags too.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:04AM
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These are tips I like to pass along after over 20-years (and 3 FoodSavers) under my belt...

1. I only use FoodSaver bags for foods that will be placed in the freezer for more than a month or two, or what I call long-term storage. A plastic storage container or well-wrapped foods will work fine for short-term storage. I also vacuum-seal cheese purchased in bulk amounts, in the refrigerator.

2. I never vacuum-seal wet food, only frozen or partially-frozen. I quick-freeze (freeze just long enough to be nearly solid) all fresh-cuts of meat on a cookie sheet before bagging for freezer storage. It helps if you dry the excess moisture off meat before you quick-freeze it.

-Some wet food items I'll place directly in the FoodSaver bag/s, placed flat on a cookie sheet with the opening to the side, and quick-freeze it in the bag. Then vacuum-seal the bag when the contents are solid. I make sure I place a wad of plastic wrap over any portion that might poke a hole in the vacuum-sealed bag (such as a sharp bone), before sealing the bag.

-I quick-freeze fruit/vegetables/cooked beans/rice, etc. in a single layer, either on a cookie sheet, or in the open FoodSaver bag (with the bag opening to one side, not on the top). When completely solid I'll vacuum seal them shut maintaining that single layer.

-Single layers work very well because you can tap the bag to loosen the contents after you open it, and remove a portion of the food, and then flatten it again and re-seal. I can also "file" these bags in plastic baskets in the freezer. I write what's in the bags on the end of the package and it's easy to flip through the "file" of food to see what I have/need.

-I'll separate items that are packaged into one bag (quick-frozen chicken parts, chops or small steaks, etc.) with parchment paper so I can remove the amount I need and re-seal the bag without having ALL the meat being fused into one lump - which happens when you freeze wet meat.

-Small portions of cooked ground, shredded, or sliced meat I use in wraps and sandwiches I place in fold-top sandwich bags, lay them flat on a cookie sheet and quick-freeze those before stacking them into a FoodSaver bag, plastic bag and all.

-I portion mashed potatoes with an ice cream scoop and quick-freeze them on a cookie sheet lined with a Silpat (foods easily come off the silicon mat). Then I place them in a FoodSaver bag, in a single layer, and vacuum seal it shut. I only need to make mashed potatoes a few times a year using this method because I make them in large amounts.

-As others have mentioned, quick-freeze food in plastic containers in user-friendly portions, remove it from the containers when solid enough to do so, and vacuum seal the frozen "blocks" in bags. Now I can take out one block of chili for one serving for lunch, or it's enough to top 2 baked potatoes, or top two taco salads. You free up your plastic containers to use again, and you have like-kinds of things together in user-friendly amounts in one bag. I use this method with spaghetti sauce, sloppy Joe mixture, fresh and pre-cooked ground beef purchased in bulk amounts, soup/stew/broth, ground beef stroganoff (meat mixture only - I cook the noodles or rice as needed). Most of these things I place in amounts for one or two servings, or amounts I use in recipes.

-When I make a casserole that freeze well, I'll either divide it into small casserole dishes (meal-for-two), or multiply the recipe to make more than one. Line the dishes with RELEASE aluminum foil and quick-freeze the casserole in the dish. Once frozen, remove from the dish and store in a FoodSaver bag, foil and all. When I want to make the dish I pop the whole thing back into the same dish it came out of. You can also quick-freeze casseroles in foil bakeware, then vacuum-seal in a FoodSaver bag. Freeze and bake in the same foil pan.

3. For dry food storage I use canning jars and vacuum-seal canning lids on the jars using the FoodSaver jar sealer. These are also what I place in long-term storage (longer than a month or two).

-If you want to vacuum-seal flour for storage, you should place it in a jar where it will remain free-flowing, rather than a FoodSaver bag. There is enough moisture in flour that it can smell moldy if you compact it in a FoodSaver bag. This was recommended in the user's manual from my first FoodSaver. Other foods that store best in a jar where they remain free-flowing are: marshmallows, chocolate chips, nuts, anything crispy (including home-dehydrated food) and dried foods that remain sticky (raisins, prunes, apricots...). After I open cans of freeze-dried foods I place them in jars and vacuum-seal them shut.

4. When I move food from my long-term storage area to the pantry I'll replace the vacuum-sealed canning lid with a FoodSaver Universal Lid. I use the Universal Lid on dry foods I keep in my pantry and use frequently. The Universal Lid turns almost any rigid container that has a smooth opening into a canister and is easy to open and reseal. I've had too many FoodSaver canisters crack over the years to justify their price, but I've had great success using the Universal Lids.


    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 8:49AM
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I just got an email advertising the FoodSaver® SmartSeal™ V3485 upright model at 50% off making it $99.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2010 at 5:12PM
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Glad to read the above about FS. I currently use quart and gallon bags (great value from WM) and find them sufficient for freezing the small amounts I do. Most veggies or fruits are frozen in the smaller bags; ground beef in the quart also. Steaks, etc that are divided into servings, I wrap with press and seal, then in the gallon bags. I can then take out the number of servings from the bag I need leaving the rest in the freezer. The gallon bags when finally empty are then reuseable. I mark the bags with beef, pork, etc. and the date, remark the date when reused. The press and seal I cut a little larger than the meat, place meat on, and then place another sheet of P&S. Smooth out the air, and the P&S sticks to itself. A tight seal. I store the used freezer bag in the freezer until needed again.

I am looking at the jar sealer for dehydrated items, which I am just getting started.

I don't save any liquid items. I only cook enough for a meal or a meal and one leftover meal.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 12:06PM
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The only thing I use my top of the line (3 year old) FS for is keeping lettuce. Pretty expensive lettuce keeper!

I did use it many time when I'd buy fresh ground beef from Costco. But, since I usually used it within a couple months, I found ZERO difference in the meat stored in a zip-loc bag and the meat stored in a FS bag.

Now, I am thinking of making a big batch of stuffed cabbage here soon.

How would I go about freezing it in a FS bag?

Also, it is really that easy to "pop out" frozen liquids from plastic containers??? Seems like they wouldn't want to come out if they are frozen solid....

    Bookmark   October 22, 2010 at 11:39PM
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Stir fryi, just dip the container in some warm water to loosen it, put it in your left hand, place plastic bag over your right one. Now tip your left hand over your right, and plop, out it should pop. Close the bag, slide into the FS bag and seal. (If you are a lefty, just reverse)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:04AM
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I am new to foodsavers and mostly use mine for meat but I'm happy to have all these helpful suggestions. Thank you! I found, on Amazon, a roll of 1800+ produce bags for $26 that could be shared with friends and last a long time with very little expense...of course they're not free...but handy. :)

Here is a link that might be useful: Amazon produce bags

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:36AM
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Just ignore my note...I checked out the shipping cost and it's a deal killer.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 9:38AM
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Thank you to everyone for the advice. Grainlady, that was one epic post and very informative and others have great tips...thanks Peppi, et al.

I am still not loving this machine. I think I may give the one at Costco a whirl, if I am still underwhelmed I can return it.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 1:32PM
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If you need a cheap bag instead of the produce bags, Family Dollar sells a box of food bags that are about 12X12 approx that I love to use, a box of 40 is $1.00 the last time I bought some. I think that Glad also makes a plain old food storage bag that you use with a twist tie

    Bookmark   October 23, 2010 at 4:36PM
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I want to cook meals in advance and put them in the FS... like fried rice, stir frys, main entrees.. how do i freeze rice? What kind of container should I use.. wrap the container in foil and freeze then FS? Does the freezer make the food smell? When I take out ice cubes from the freezer they smell .. how do I prevent the cooked meals I prepare to put in the freezer from smelling? What is semi- freeze? or partial -freeze? Please define. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 5:41PM
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please let me know what current model your using... after reading a few reviews i see that the new 800 model is not so great

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 10:42PM
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I want to put virtually everything in mason jars and vacuum seal them and freeze them. I do not want to can them with heat. Sauces, soups, fresh veggies, etc. would go into the canning jar, vacuum sealed and frozen... Is this OK to do? Will the seals hold in the freezer? This is of course assuming that the lids (Tattler) and the jars are clean. And yes I know I have to leave room for expansion. I just want to know if freezing vacuum packed food works or is there something I am overlooking or don't know. Thanks

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 11:46PM
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1. The seal will fail on vacuum-sealed jars in the freezer.

2. If you've ever cleaned up a broken glass jar in the freezer, you would think FoodSaver bags are a bargain at any price.

3. Jars would waste a lot of space in the freezer. If you use jars for storage in the freezer, I'd suggest you pack them in boxes with cardboard dividers between each jar so they don't knock together glass-on-glass. If you do shatter a jar, you can remove it box and all for clean up.

4. I don't know why you would use expensive Tattler lids when regular canning lids work well for vacuum-sealing, and can be safely reused if you are careful when removing them.

I store large amounts of dry goods vacuum-sealed in canning jars, I just don't use jars for freezer storage. That would cut my limited freezer space by at least 50%. If you missed my post above, I've given a lot more information. Such as, how you quick freeze foods in user-friendly amounts in plastic containers. Pop the food out of the plastic container, stack the food "bricks" and vacuum-seal them in FoodSaver Bags.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 9:24AM
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Grainlady, you've laid out exactly what I wonder, when people say they have jars in the freezer. How on earth do they have them, so they don't get knocked together and break? They aren't square, so they don't stack nicely, so they take up space and would be prone to breakage.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 9:46AM
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This is all very interesting, since several months ago I thought I saw where lots of you use your foodsavers and love them, so I let Dh know to look out for a food saver at the estate sales he goes to. Lo and behold, that very day he found one for $25. I've used it successfully once, freezing roasted hatch chilies, and tried using it just the other day to freeze chicken hind quarters. I had no trouble sealing the chiles, even though they were wet. I guess I didn't know it wasn't supposed to work, or maybe, it didn't work and I'm too inexperienced to have noticed, which is probably the case.

Yesterday when I tried to seal the chicken legs, the machine just sat there with the blue light shining, and didn't do anything. I was almost out of bag, so I suspect I just didn't give it enough bag to work with, and I wasn't able to push the bag far enough into the machine. So, I just double wrapped the chicken and threw it into the freezer, cause I didn't have time to mess with it further.

By the way, (a little off topic so maybe it should be a separate thread?) I worried while struggling with the raw chicken in that machine, how I was going to thoroughly clean it. I sprayed it down with disinfectant cleaner, but what about the inner workings? What if you get chicken juice or meat juice, or any other juice inside it? How do you clean it?


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 10:27AM
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I quick-freeze nearly everything before I bag it to avoid any moisture or meat juice problems being sucked into the FoodSaver. It's the only way you can do something like a casserole. Another advantage is you won't have a large portion of meat pieces fused together in one bag. I freeze raw meat (portions/parts) on a cookie sheet first and when I bag them they will remain single portions. Now I can take out as many as is needed. I might place some parchment paper between portions to keep them separated, or sometimes I'll place a portion in a separate smaller bag (fold-top sandwich bag), and then have several bags of the same food item vacuum-sealed in one FoodSaver Bag.

If you have bone-in meats, when you bag it place an extra wad of plastic wrap over any sharp bones that could poke a whole in your FoodSaver bag and compromise the seal.

Another method: make your FoodSaver bag and leave one end open. Fold over the first 2-4-inches of the bag opening to help keep it clean while filling it. Lay the bag flat on a cookie sheet, with the opening to one side, and load the raw meat portions side-by-side in the bag in a single layer (you may need to blot them with a paper towel first). Now you can stick the bag on the cookie sheet in the freezer and quick-freeze it. After 20-30-minutes, when completely frozen, take it out of the freezer, fold back the top, and vacuum-seal it shut and return to the freezer for storage.

I even quick freeze cooked beans, cooked wheat, cooked rice, etc. and freeze it in one layer on a cookie sheet and break it apart and place it in a FoodSaver bag in a single layer. Once again, load your bag while flat with the opening to one side, then vacuum-seal it shut ALSO while laying flat. When you need to take 1/2 cup of cooked beans out of the bag, just give it a tap after you open it and the beans will break into individual beans for easy measuring. The same process is used for berries, sliced fruit, etc. so they remain individual pieces rather than a fused brick of fruit. When resealing the bag, lay it flat with the opening to one side and press the food in a single layer again and vacuum-seal shut.

I use small plastic storage baskets in my freezer, and each basket works like a "file". With food frozen in a single thin layer, I can "file" them upright in the baskets. When I want some frozen green beans, I just flip through the basket containing fruits/vegetables. I use the "file" method for as much foods as possible in order to keep track of them, keep them in user-friendly amounts, and economize on space used.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 12:00PM
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The only thing I freeze in jars is freshly pressed apple cider. i don't can it because it then just becomes apple juice, the taste is way different. I don't freeze it in bags because it's hard to thaw and pour, so quart jars go into the freezer in one of those "hanging baskets" that fit on the edge. Mine is exactly deep enough to hold quarts and my big freezer is wide enough to put 12 quarts in the basket. In February, when I thaw apple cider it's like autumn again. Amanda also stores her cider in quart canning/freezing jars, they say "for canning and freezing" right on the box. She puts her jars in the racks of the freezer door as she has a big upright.

pretty much everything else goes into plastic bags or freezer boxes for storage.

Just to stay on topic, I got the lid sealing attachment for the foodsaver for Christmas. I haven't been able to make it work one single time yet. Sigh. The reviews say that wide mouthed seals work better than regular ones, and some say use two lids, then just remove the top one. I haven't tried that yet.

Oh, and their customer service SUCKS. I've never talked to such unhelpful people, sheesh, they just want to sell another machine, not help you with the one you have.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 1:42PM
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Like GL, I freeze everything first, then seal it up. No juices to be pulled into the little tray.

Since yours came from an estate sale, I will guess that it has been used and is several years old. One trick to get it going again is to "flip" teh rubber gasket. They do dry out a bit when exposed and if it was stored in the locked postion, it is smashed. Just pry it out, turn it over and try again.

FYI: they are having a 30% off sale on everything, ending tonight.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 2:43PM
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1. Make sure the jar attachment hose fits snugly in the jar attachment port.

2. Wipe off any crumbs/dust/debris off the rim of the jar.

3. Soak the lids in hot water for 5-10 minutes, dry completely, before applying to the jar. Just as in canning, this will soften the sealing compound.

4. Don't over-fill the jars. Leave at least 1-inch of headspace.

5. If you are vacuum-sealing a powdery substance, place a round cut from paper towel or a coffee filter in the jar over the top of the food item before you seal a lid on the jar. This will help prevent drawing some of the powder to the rim of the jar during vacuuming.

6. When I had to resort to using 2 lids, it was time to replace my jar attachment unit. You place the first lid with the sealing compound down on the jar and place the next lid sealing compound up. Only the first lid will seal to the jar. I never add the ring. With all the jars I have in storage, I go through them once a month to see if all the lids are sealed. Occasionally one will fail, so I'll reheat the lid and reseal the jar.

By any chance, is there a setting on your FoodSaver for using the jar attachment? Not all FoodSavers work the same, so contact the help line at FoodSaver if you still have a problem.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 5:26PM
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Have a FS that I picked up at a yard sale a few years ago. WOuld have to go down to kitchen to check model, but not a high-end model. Woman selling said she bought it to vac seal "family" packs of meat/chicken, but quickly realized... no such thing iin a house with husband and 2 TEENAGE boys! Nothing stayed in freezer to need to vac seal for LONG storage. Her mother was at YS and said she LOVED hers... cooking for 2 and most packages of meat were WAY to much... unless ya liked left-overs.

I'll buy boneless chicken breasts on sale (usually 4 BIG pieces & much too much for ONE person), repackage to individual portions and vac. Rock hard hunka chicken is thawed and ready to cook after about half an hour in luke warm water.

Have found a LOT of FS vac cannisters... at yard sales and thrift stores. Like them for things that otherwise would get stale before used up... crackers, cereal, etc.

I don't get freezing in jars?? Never have extra freezer space. I pressure can things with meat... chili, stock, etc. and store on shelf in garage/pantry.

Never heard of Tattler canning lids, so did a little googling. Think I might have the "vintage" version with a case of jars I bought... mainly cuz of lids?!? Rings have a "bow tie" shaped opening on top. Lids are glass... obviously need some kinda rubber seal to process.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 5:48PM
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I'm getting the idea of the best uses for the FS. Thanks for all the information, everyone. I see it's not worth using for things you're going to be defrosting within a month - better for long storage. Makes sense. I'm glad I have it for when I get a bumper crop of something, or if we make it out to East Texas next summer to pick blueberries. Yum.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 7:42PM
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I make soups and tons of tomato sauce. I fill my bags with a large mouth funnel and lay flat in a baking dish with 3 inches or so folded up so as not to get sauce on them. Then I freeze them in 1/2 -1 inch "slabs" . They stack great in the freezer and I can read the contents on the edge and pull out a slab-o-soup.
I've found the customer service to be great! They speak English for one thing, extended my waranty another time when they told me to take out the gasket and flip it and it was a model that didn't have a removable gasket!
I did have a problem when my order didn't come to $100 before tax and they charged shipping.
If you get their e-mails you can often get newer models for 1/2 off Nancy

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 7:54PM
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Grainlady, I tried their "help line". They acted like I was a moron, eventually said they didn't know what else to tell me, and suggested that I just buy a new one, although this one is only a year old and has basically never been used because it's a such a piece of junk. In addition, it's my second machine because the first one didn't work at all, that's the one that they had me try to seal a spoon in a bag with, then eventually told me to take it back to the store where it was purchased and get a new one. I did that, and at least it works 25% of the time, instead of none of the time.

The jar attachment unit is also brand new, I just got it for Christmas less than 3 weeks ago. The only thing I've tried sealing in jars is dried apples but I have not been successful in sealing even one jar yet.

I just bought a box of "mixed" size bags and guess what, the bigger roll doesn't fit in my machine. Go figure, they don't bother to tell you that anywhere either.

Anytime I try to use the machine or call their customer service, I manage to get ticked off all over again. So, they have expensive supplies, malfunctioning product, rude help line employees. However, they do, as Nancy mentioned, speak English.


    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 11:05PM
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So - I just finished cooking 2lbs of lima beans. I want to make serving sizes in bags so I can quickly get it out, heat it and eat it.

What is the best way to vacuum seal cooked lima beans?

Would it best to put my beans in a zip-lock bag and freeze them first, then vacuum seal the zip-lock bag?

One time I tried freezing the FS bag first and the FS bag did not vacuum seal very well because of the moister I guess.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 5:32PM
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Here are some options I've used....

1. Place cooked lima beans on a rimmed baking sheet (line it with a Silpat or freezer paper - optional) in a single layer, then quick-freeze them (takes 15-30 minutes). Tap the pan to loosen them as soon as you remove it from the freezer, OR lift the Silpat or freezer paper (slick side up) and the lima beans will pop off the sheet. You can use the sheet of freezer paper or Silpat as a funnel to fill user-friendly portions into the bags.

When you fill the FoodSaver bags, try to keep the lima beans in a single layer (or a thin layer) with the bag opening TO THE SIDE (like it will be when you vacuum-seal it), then vacuum-seal it that way.

When you open the bag, if you need to measure out a portion, give the contents a tap and they will break into single beans and you will be able to measure them. I do the same thing with all kinds of cooked grains/beans and berries. Then repeat the process (patting the contents into a single or thin layer) for resealing the bag - with the opening to the side.

2. My preferred method.... I like to place up to 1-cup portions in zip-lock SNACK-SIZE bags (use larger bags if you want larger portions). Press out the air and seal the bags. Lay the bags on a rimmed cookie sheet and quick-freeze them. When frozen, pack the snack bags into the FoodSaver bag and vacuum-seal it shut.

NOTE: I just found a box of Great Value Portion Pack Bags at Wal-Mart. They have portion lines for 1/4-, 1/2-, 3/4- and 1-cup and are the same size as snack bags, except they open at the narrow side of the bag. They will come in handy for portioning all kinds of things, then vacuum-sealing the portioned bags into a FoodSaver bag. This also makes reusing the expensive FoodSaver bags lot easier.

3. You can load your FoodSaver bags with the cooked/cooled beans, just make sure you fold over the opening so it remains clean and debris-free, and make sure you wipe it clean AND dry it after loading the bag. Lay the bags on a rimmed cookie sheet and distribute the lima beans in a single layer. Fold back the opening and quick-freeze the lima beans. When frozen, vacuum-seal the bag/s shut. (Note: this is my least favorite method.)

Helpful Hints:

-When it comes to loading bags, you can place the bag in a container (wide-mouth canning jar, pitcher, canister, etc.) and fold the top over by several inches. If you have a funnel that works for regular and wide-mouth canning jars, using it while filling the bags will be helpful for keeping the opening of the bag clean. There are also various gadgets for holding bags (see link below), but an open container about 2/3 to 3/4 the size of your bag will work just as well. When filled, lay the bag on it's side and keep the contents away from the opening and leave enough head space for sealing.

-Avoid placing a large amount of a food in one bag that you will continually need in small portions. As you use the contents and need to reseal the bag over and over again, it will get messy from the food stored in the bag and won't seal properly. That's another reason to fill small storage bags first, then place those bags in a FoodSaver Bag.

There are probably other options, but that's what I've done since I got my first FoodSaver in 1986.


Here is a link that might be useful: Bag Holder

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 9:42AM
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I too have a vacuum sealer, the bags that it came with were a joke. They are smooth inside. I found some that are very small waffle texture on the inside. These seemed to do the trick. I didn't loose any they always seem to seal. I think they are made by Food Saver. I have also gotten some at Walmart and Menards sells their brand. Also on the soups and liquid that you are sealing you do need to freeze it first, or some stuff when refrigerated seems to gel that will work too. But I have sealed mine without the vacuum part being done and it works too.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:39AM
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It is not absolutely necessary to have 100% seal for soups and juices.

A good seal is needed for foods which can suffer freezer burns.


    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 9:58AM
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Here's a technique that I use often:

I pour liquids or very soft items into large square or rectangular pans, adding about 1" or so of food, cover them lightly with plastic wrap and freeze them.
Then I take them out, break them into roughly one cup or one serving squares (I just run hot water on the back of the pan to loosen the block and then rap it on the edge of the sink where I want it to break), place the squares in super cheap fold-over sandwich bags (less than 1cent each), and then stack four to six or sometimes more into a vacuum bag and vacuum seal for freezing.

I ALWAYS cut my bags several inches longer than I need so they can be reused.

It works for broth or stock, mashed potatoes, fruit & sugar mixes, rice, stews, all sorts of things.

Makes nice, neat stackable packages in the freezer.

When I take something out, I usually do not bother to revacuum. The remainder is still sealed in the throw-away sandwich bags. No problem if I will finish off the original package in a couple weeks. Just press out most of the air, fold the bag over and rubber band it shut. Longer than that, revacuuming is a good idea if the items are things that may freezer burn.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Mon, Aug 25, 14 at 20:20

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 6:11PM
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I use my foodsaver mainly to prepare stuff for sous vide. I sometimes want to add a little juice or broth or sauce or whatever.

They make ice cube trays which make long skinny ice cubes which fit more easily into water bottles than standard cubes. (see link)

When I'm preparing a bunch of, say, chicken breasts for sous vide I'll freeze some chicken broth or whatever into skinny sticks, and either add that to the bag or pierce the meat and put it in there. The foodsaver bag seals just fine, and when you toss it into the sous vide cooker the frozen broth eventually melts and bastes the meat.

I've also frozen some tarragon butter into sticks, and jabbed some into the fattest part of the chicken breast and put the rest of the stick in the bag before sealing. Worked great.

Here is a link that might be useful: skinny ice cubes

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 3:54PM
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