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Thread: Vacuum sealer and dehydrator

  1. #1
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    Vacuum sealer and dehydrator

    So any thoughts on current sealers? I see COSTCO has a FoodSaver on sale for $40 off to make it $99. It's just called a 2 in 1 Vacuum sealing system.

    Also looking at a dehydrator... and I've lost the names. One I think had the word Harvest in the name. The other one I know used square trays and they claimed it was better for that. More space per shelf.

    It seems like these things don't seem to evolve much. Or at least I never never hear about them. I just want a basic functional system.

    The Vacuum system confused me in the past trying to figure if it could do Mylar bags, what type refills you need, etc.

    I think I'll go with the sealer first. I pretty much cook for one but buy large packs. So I will often make a giant pot of food and then eat it for a week. That gets old fast in more ways than one. plus I tend to over eat. So I think I will try a sealer.

    I was wondering what would seal raw food, cooked food, and can I put mixed raw food in a bag to later become a "boiling bag" setup. Can the sealers do the boiling bag thing, or is that a special setup?

    I would also like like to seal snacks, and back to the boiling bag, something that could be boiled on a little backpack stove setup. IOW, instead of pouring hot water into a MountainHouse.. .I would just boil a bag of my configured meals .... I would not need these to last ages like MH, but freezer safe for say a month or so prior to use.

    Any ideas what is good to look at for a basic but functional setup?
    Last edited by tb-av; 10-26-18 at 14:43.

  2. #2
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    Think of them for more than food.


    Circa four years ago my girlfriend and I dabbled in using one of those vacuum food sealers for ammo, mags, etc.

    Pros:

    For loaded mags they seem to work great. We have a couple dozen mags vacuum-sealed and they are still just as tight as ever. These make great SHTF packs that you know are ready to go on a moment's notice but can stay sealed and corrosion-free indefinitely.

    Cons:

    Loose ammo doesn't do so well. The rounds never become really tightly sealed and this leads to small holes, edges tearing, etc. The sealed packages also flex too much if you have to move the ammo around occasionally, leading to more potential tears. The ammo also seals more or less "flat" making for difficult storage due to the package's footprint. We tried storing 100 loose rounds at a time and the package flattens out to about the size (but not thickness) of a pillow. That's too much if storage space is limited.


    Conclusion:

    For ammo I'd rather use surplus military ammo cans with the rubber gasket. For mags and other objects with a definite "one shape" it works great.

  3. #3
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    Oh, good idea, do you put a desiccant pack in with them?

    I just checked a few YT vids and it looks like a FoodSaver model 4840 gets high ratings on several vid. Only $25 more than the COSTCO sale.

    and a NutriChef model that's only $50. they seem to get rated 1st and 2nd in several vids.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tb-av View Post
    Oh, good idea, do you put a desiccant pack in with them?

    .
    No, but maybe we should. Understand that we live in the dry desert and in the middle of June it's plenty dry already. We didn't put dessiccants in the packaging on the theory that the sealer should be sucking the moisture out with the air (don't know if that's actually true), and the dry New Mexico climate makes it somewhat moot in the dry part of the summer anyway.

    Erring on the side of caution I'd say put a small desi pack in each one, but don't be anal about it. We have yet to see any condensation or corrosion in any of our packaged mags.

  5. #5
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    I have a vacuum sealer and like it. You can buy family size packages of chicken, pork, etc. Cook some, freeze some. Great for dividing up a package of bacon.

    Also good for big pasta dishes. Eat some, freeze the rest.

    FoodSaver sells premade bags, e.g., pints, quarts, that you fill and seal one end. They also sell rolls. Pull out what you want, seal one end, fill, seal the other end. I did that with made from scratch pizzas and it worked well.

    They also have rigid containers. Good for marinating and sealing food that could crush.

  6. #6
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    I have an el-cheapo Food Saver that I use to package up food occasionally:
    - It works well enough so long as you let it cool a little between bags. If you don't it'll fuse them closed before all the air is sucked out.
    - Unless you're going to use it every day, get the cheapest/smallest one.
    - The bulk rolls of bags that you can cut to size seem to me to be more convenient and cost-effective than the pre-fab models
    - It's hard to seal juicy stuff without making a big mess
    - It's hard to get loose things to end up in a flat shape. They generally turn into an oddly shaped rock-hard ball that doesn't store/stack efficiently
    - My main use for it has been to buy meat on sale at Whole Paycheck and zip it up for storage in the freezer
    - I never sealed ammo or parts or mags or anything like that, but it's a reasonable idea so long as the thing has a rigid shape (or you'll get a oddly-shaped hard ball)

    I also have a Nesco American Harvest dehydrator:
    - It dries a lot of stuff
    - It dries stuff quickly
    - I mostly use it to dry extra veggies from the garden
    - It's kinda noisy and uses a reasonable amount of power (~500W for however long you run it)
    - It'll heat up a small room while it runs
    - The trays can be hard to clean if you start with sloppy stuff (like meat). They are also a little fragile.
    - If you use it to make garlic salt, it'll forever smell like garlic salt. FOREVER!!!

    Overall, I think they're both nice pieces of kit to have available...

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    The Ziploc hand pump vacuum packers are pretty handy for smaller scale stuff especially if it is something you need to remove part of the contents and reseal.

    You might try googling freezer bag cooking. There used to be a website by that name, but I think the person turned it in to a hard copy book. The resulting hits seem to be offshoots of what used to be on that site.

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    Foodsaver type machines rely on kinda proprietary bag material. It will have some type of waffle pattern on one side to let the air get vacuumed out completely. Smooth bags like mylar cannot be used on the Foodsavers. Foodsavers have a problem with liquids and if not careful, can suck up the liquid into the vacuum pump which will ruin the machine. Best way to vacuum liquids is to freezed it, then suck it. A chamber vacuum on the other hand can do everything I've said a Foodsaver can't do. It can take smooth or waffle style bags, does liquids very well and can actually pull a negative vacuum when a Foodsaver cannot. Negative vacuum means that moisture can literally be boiled out of the bag before sealing. Bad thing is the chamber vacuums cost considerably more than the Foodsavers.

  9. #9
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    thanks all.... I'm researching all your points. @rexter314 can you give me a brand name or model number of one of the ones you speak of.

    I tend to try to 'buy once - cry once' but there are so many different things about these sealers I don't understand. I thought I would go cheap adn learn. But if all I learn is that I can't do what I want or I break it it's kind of a waste of money.

    I know the dehydrators I was looking at, which I have now lost the links, they were on up there.. several hundred dollars.

    I've also seen some sealers that look like big hand clamps. Not sure where they fit in.

    I assume teh zip lock stuf has some sort of special type bag. I can't understand how you could vacuum a zip lock but I guess it's possible.

  10. #10
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    Been using a food saver vacuum sealer for just shy of a decade. Miracle for anyone who has a smoker. Anytime I use mine, I fill it up with Ribs, Brisket, Pork Butt and anything we don't eat I portion, vacuum and freeze. Then anytime we want BBQ, I put the frozen packs in cold water, bring them to a boil and 5 minutes after that, it's like the food just came off the smoker. My buddy showed me more than a decade ago and I called BS, but am here to say it took a year or two for me to try it out. AMAZING. Just remember to keep bags on hand, if you run out, no vacuum seeing for you. Costco a great place, but walmart stocks as well.

    All the other uses are fantastic as well, need me a dehydrator, for peppers and fruit, would go well with my instant pressure cooker I'm now addicted to.

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