Wasting food really bugs me. But I still do it. In spite of my frequent bursts of organizational frenzy, too often, I'll put leftover food into a container or zipper bag. Then, I put it in the freezer and promptly forget about it. Months later, I'll come across a freezer burnt, discolored mystery in my freezer. With no clue how long it's been in there, it ends up getting tossed.
Which is sad, because, I know that the reason I put it in there, in the first place, is because it was worth it. It must have been delicious. I probably thought I was saving it for a rush night so I wouldn't need to cook. Or I got a great deal on something in bulk or grew a bumper crop and put it in the freezer to deal with later. And really, food waste has so many implications beyond just the selfishly practical.
To my rescue is the FoodSaver® vacuum sealing system. I love this machine and here's why:
Eliminating Food Waste = Saving $
The FoodSaver® system can save a ton of money in wasted food, because it keeps food fresher up to 5 times longer. Example; meats and poultry stored in zipper bags, or in store packaging, has a storage life of around 6 months (even that seems long to me). But using the FoodSaver® system, the storage life increases to 2-3 years. That's really impressive. I'm thinking this system is going to save me a lot of food waste, and a lot of money.
Easy, Gentle Re Heating Cooked Foods
And that's not all. When you take your cooked foods out of the freezer, you can reheat them right in the bag. I love this. Just put the unopened bag into a pot of gently simmering water. This works great for cooked rice, soups, stews, or any cooked foods, eliminating the sacrifice in quality, texture and flavour that occurs from defrosting and microwaving. That being said, you can also microwave in the foodsaver bags, just be sure to cut a corner off to let steam escape.
Space Saving Storage
Another bonus; freezer space. The flat bags take up so much less space in the freezer than hard containers do. I don't have a large freezer, but I can pack a lot of these bags in there. And the bags have a label for you to write the date and contents, making rotation a breeze.
Not Just For the Freezer
You can vacuum seal all kinds of things. Pantry items like rice, beans, nuts and seeds can be portioned out and sealed for freshness and quality. This is great for camping or RV trips to avoid messy spills and it keeps bugs out and odors in. Brown sugar won't go lumpy if you vacuum seal it. When I open the sealed brown sugar to use it, I just cut away the top portion of the bag and then re-seal after. Spices will stay true to their flavour when vacuum sealed, allowing you to buy larger qualities, or preserve your harvest.
Best of All: Preserves Food Quality
How it works: The vacuum packaging process extends the life of foods by removing most of the air from the sealed container, thereby reducing oxidation, which affects nutritional value, flavour and overall quality. Removing air can also inhibit growth of microorganisms, which can cause problems under certain conditions.
Using the FoodSaver® takes a little practice until you get the hang of it. My biggest challenge was over filling the bags. You should leave at least 3 inches of bag material between the contents and top of the bag in order to allow proper sealing. My first few attempts resulted in some wasted bags, but I eventually figured it out. Another issue is when sealing foods that contain a lot of liquid or juice, the liquid can be vacuumed, preventing a seal. Although there is a “Moist Foods” setting on the appliance, it is helpful to use gravity, and have your bag contents lower than the machine. Pre Freezing before sealing is another option that I like to use for moist or juicy foods, as well as easily crushed ones, like pastries, breads, or my Breakfast Egg Cups.
The only small issue that I have experienced, is that the machine is noisy during the vacuum process. But it works so fast, that the noise is a minor issue. All in all, my experience with using a FoodSaver® Wedge Vacuum Sealer is a positive one, and I recommend having one in your kitchen. If you want to check out all the FoodSaver® products, or order on-line, check out their Canadian website. You can get free shipping for orders over $50.00, and Airmiles® too. Also, be sure to check out FoodSaver®Canada on Facebook, where you'll find tons of cool ideas for using the FoodSaver® products, as well as contests, tips, and testimonials.
And a Giveaway!
So here's the good part. I'm doing a giveaway! One of my Canadian readers gets one of these FoodSaver® Wedge Vacuum Sealing Systems, (retail value $179.00 CAN) shipped right to your door by the company. Don't miss out on your chance to win! Here's the details.
Disclosure: I received a FoodSaver® Vacuum Sealing System in exchange for an honest review. I have not received further compensation for writing this post or hosting a giveaway. I have personally tested and used this product and all opinions are my own.