My daughter Britta and her husband Neil recently bought a FoodSaver vacuum sealer a few weeks ago, and they are obsessed with it! OK, maybe obsessed is too strong a word, but they do love that little machine! One of their favorite things to do with it is to store the delicious harvest-time produce they have picked up at the Farmers Market. In fact, I’ve been hearing so much about their FoodSaver that I started to get curious about getting one for myself. Dang those kids! ;-)
So I started looking into vacuum sealer machines and what I might be able to use it for…and I definitely didn’t come away empty-handed! I found so many great tips and ideas that before I knew it, this blog post had essentially written itself. (It sure is nice when it works out that way!)
Here are 15 genius tips and tricks for using your FoodSaver or other vacuum sealer machine. And if this list ends up convincing you to buy one for yourself, at least we’ll all be in the same boat!
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15 FoodSaver Tips & Tricks
1. Bulk Food
You can save a considerable amount on your grocery bill by buying meat and veggies in bulk. Portion them out into typical servings, then seal and freeze the portions.
2. Potluck Protection
Going to a potluck? Avoid spills and accidents in transit by vacuum sealing your food beforehand. It’s also a great way to take food along without having to bring a container, which is a bonus if you tend to be forgetful about that sort of thing. ;-)
3. Microwave Meals
Make your own “ready meals!” Arrange your leftovers on a heavy-duty waxed plate, then slip the whole thing into a bag. Vacuum seal the bag and place it in your freezer. Take one to work and microwave at lunchtime, either thawed or frozen. Make sure to check the temperature often while it’s heating (every 30 seconds or so should do the trick.)
4. Banana Bread
If you have bananas that are definitely taking a downward turn in terms of freshness, keep them for a batch of tasty banana bread! Place your bananas in a bag, vacuum seal them, and store in your freezer until you’re ready.
5. Citrus Juice
When a recipe calls for lemon or lime juice, there’s nothing better than the fresh stuff. Buy lemons and limes in season and freeze the juice to use later on! Juice several fruits at a time, then freeze the juice in ice cube trays or a silicone mold. Place the frozen cubes in a FoodSaver bag, vacuum seal it, and store it in the freezer until needed. If you just need a tablespoon or two of juice for a recipe, just remove a few cubes at a time. If you need a lot, just pull the whole bag out of the freezer, let the cubes thaw, then cut off a corner of the bag and pour out the juice.
6. Quick Breakfasts
Breakfast sandwiches are a great on-the-go option, but they can take some time to make. Speed things up considerably by assembling several at once, then seal them in individual bags and freeze them. Just heat up a sandwich in the microwave for a speedy and delicious breakfast!
7. Sealing Snacks
Reseal bags of chips and pretzels! The vacuum function will probably crush chips if you let it go through the entire cycle, but you can still vacuum out most of the air and seal the bag. Even just keeping out new air will keep your snacks fresh much longer! (Don’t worry about the pretzels though – they can stand up to the full vacuum and sealing cycle!)
8. Saving Seeds
Vacuum seal seeds from your garden to use next year (and the year after that, and the year after that…)
Avoid toiletry explosions when flying by using your FoodSaver to seal them up in bags. You can virtually eliminate the chance of facing a gooey mess when you open your suitcase! You can also seal your own survival kit with necessities like a flashlight, flares, matches, and first aid materials. It won’t take up a lot of space, plus it’ll be waterproof until you open it!
Keep photos safe from dust, dirt, and insects in a vacuum-sealed bag.
Store and organize your yarn in vacuum sealed bags. Your yarn collection will take up a fraction of the space it did before. (And if you use the extra space as an excuse to get even more yarn… well, your secret’s safe with me.) ;-)
12. Juicy Foods
It’s easy to vacuum seal and save juicy foods, but it does require one additional step. Place the item on a cookie sheet and place it in your freezer to “flash-freeze.” Once the food is solid, slip it into your bag and vacuum seal it. This is a great way to store all sorts of delicious fruits while they’re in season, like peaches, berries, tomatoes, etc.
13. Seasonal Storage
Seal up seasonal linens and clothes to keep them clean and dry until they’re needed. This is another idea that could potentially save you a lot of storage space.
You can also use the “flash-freeze” method to store liquids. Just pour the liquid into a traditional freezer bag or a shallow freezer-safe container. Place it in your freezer until it solidifies, vacuum seal the frozen disk/block of liquid in a bag. You can easily store your favorite soups and homemade broths for months!
15. Honey Sticks
Use your vacuum sealer to make your own honey sticks. They’re a great way to take honey on-the-go for snacks or a cup of tea. They also make a thoughtful gift!