FoodSaver as a money saver

20111021-095252.jpg

This is NOT a paid advertisement for FoodSaver.  As a matter of fact, they don’t even know I am going to be writing about their product.

As a kitchen appliance, this one gets the most use in our house.  A FoodSaver machine can be purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond.  The machine we have is, more than likely, out of date.  There are newer models available.  You can also purchase the FoodSaver at Costco (I think) and at Sam’s Club.

This appliance is pricey.  You can expect to pay a hefty $125.00, or more, for the machine and another $40 or more for the bags.  Initially you will choke at the price of this machine and the bags but I have to tell you, it pays for itself in the long run.

If  you buy in bulk and freeze the food this is the best way to go.  I have purchased the Glad and Ziplock freezer bags from my local grocery store.  They do a good job but have their drawbacks.  Just getting the air out of the bags to prevent freezer burn is a problem in and of itself.  The FoodSaver takes care of that and you will see the process as we go through in this post.

As pictured above, there are buttons to press to get the machine to do all the work (sort of) for you.  Seal the bottom of a bag is as easy as pressing a button and waiting for the machine to let you know when it is finished.

20111021-095318.jpg

The inside of the machine is where all the work is done.  There is a place to store the roll of plastic, there is a cutting blade to slice off the amount you need, and there is a vacuum well to place the top of the bag in to suck the air out and it seals the bag automatically once all the air is removed.

20111021-095340.jpg

I purchase a box of bags from Sam’s Club and they are, as I’ve already stated, around $40.  You get three gallon sized rolls and three quart sized rolls.  Because of the features of this machine we have I can freeze french bread loaves without sucking all the air out of the loaf leaving a flat blob.  The rolls of plastic bags are my choice because I can make the bag as long or as short as I need.  You can’t buy a Glad or Ziplock bag large enough for a loaf of french bread.

The other bonus is the box.  In my crafting I have made books from the cardboard.  It is very thick and sturdy and makes for excellent covers and spines.  The cores are very strong.  I have not found a use for them, yet.  Unlike a paper towel core that can be smashed flat the FoodSaver core is very hard and does not easily collapse.

20111021-095359.jpg

Included in the box of bag material are about 10, maybe more, gallon bags that are already sealed at the bottom.  We don’t use them much so I transfer the unused bags from the previous box to the new one.

If you have a painting project going on in your home and don’t want to clean out the paint brush because you are not finished with it….seal it in a FoodSaver bag to use when you get back to the painting.  The brush will remain soft and pliable.  Any paint left in the brush will not dry hard.  There are many ways to use this machine.

20111021-095421.jpg

This is a very special and integral piece of our routine.  Joe took a scrap piece of wood I had in my craft room.  Drilled a few holes.  Bent some steel rod to the height and shape he wanted.  Poked the ends in the holes he has drilled and I now have a stand for the bags when I have to do this by myself.  We use this piece a lot.  If you wish to have one of your very own, I’m sure I can get Joe to create one for you.

20111021-095440.jpg

The roll of bags have increment markings on either side of the bag.  The markings are the same on both edges and can easily be lined up under the cutting blade for an even cut.  This takes out the guess work of how straight the bag is cut and how much you will need to use.  We usually count out five (5) marks for the size we need to store his stews and chilis.

20111021-095457.jpg

Once the bag is cut to the desired length, the bottom is sealed, we make a “cuff” at the top of the bag and drape it over the steel rod things Joe has made.  The bag is secure and upright.  I don’t have to fool with a floppy bag when I’m trying to add wet stuff to the bag.  Love this device my Joe made.

20111021-095512.jpg

I have scooped out a little over 4 cups of the chili Joe made yesterday.  It was left to cool in the pot overnight.  This is the amount for two of us to have a good bowl of chili later this winter when we need something quick.

20111021-095540.jpg

Pour the contents into the bag held upright by Joe’s creative genius 🙂

20111021-095602.jpg

Wipe off any spillage on the cuff.  One problem with the FoodSaver is if there is any liquid or food at the place where it will be sealed the machine does not seal well.  So to have a successful seal and not worry about getting air in for freezer burn it is necessary to wipe the cuff well.

20111021-095638.jpg

Put the mouth of the bag in the vacuum area.  This can be a tricky part of this whole process.  Keeping the bag mouth in the proper place while balancing the weight of the contents.

20111021-095654.jpg

Once the bag and contents are in the vacuum area, and secured by the lid being closed tightly, press the button to start the vacuum process.  You might think we have wasted a lot of empty space by having so much bag at the top of the food but we have a method that works for us.

20111021-095717.jpg

Once the bag is vacuumed and sealed it is placed on a large cookie sheet and the contents are pressed to spread it out evenly within the bag.  It will remain on the cookie sheet during the initial freezing part.  Once it is frozen solid the bag will then be placed in our freezer on its side, like a book.  This allows for easy access to the chili when we want to have it later, it also takes up less room in the freezer.

20111021-095732.jpg

There is a white strip on one side of the bag to write the date and contents of the bag.  Inside the machine, on the lid, is a place to store the marking pen so you don’t have to go on a hunting expedition for the marker pen 🙂

20111021-095801.jpg

Joe has chosen to store the chili in our new refrigerator until it gets really cold before we put it in the freezer.  He has his quirks and I love him for that.

When we go to the grocery store, we purchase a lot of meat at one time.  When we get home I have a ritual.  The meat is portioned out into packets of what I will need for any given recipe.  The portions are then worked through the FoodSaver then placed in the freezer.  I absolutely hate buying three pounds of ground beef and freezing the whole thing.  When I need a portion of it I have to nearly thaw out the glob to cut off what I want and then run the risk of contaminating the meat and getting us sick.  By portioning it out after we get home from the shopping trip then I don’t have to worry about contamination or spoilage.

When I have, for example, a green pepper to chop up and will only be needing a small amount for a recipe I put the excess in a FoodSaver bag and freeze it for later use.  Break off the frozen bits of green pepper and take that portion out and reseal the bag for later.  I do his a lot.

Strawberries, bananas, and blueberries can be sealed in one of your “cut to fit” bags.  When you want to have a smoothie cut the bag open, add the fruit to a blender with your milk or other liquid then set that thing to whirring around.  The frozen fruit will take the place of ice you normally put in your smoothie.

Why pay for grocery store frozen strawberries or blueberries when you can do it yourself?  Joe delivered groceries for a time around 1998.  Not all of the frozen foods delivered to the stores got put away immediately before they had a chance to thaw.

If you have gone to the FoodSaver website you may have watched one of their videos about heating the contents in a boiling pot of water or in the microwave while in the sealed bag.  I have tried this.  The plastic bags leave a taste to the food when it is heated in the boiling water or the microwave.  I don’t like the taste.  I just let the food thaw, cut the bag open, remove the contents to a pan, then heat it on the stove in the normal manner.

If you are one that reuses your plastic bags, this is easy to do.  Wash the bags well in hot soapy water.  Make sure to get out all of the left over food bits from inside the bag.  Rinse the bag in HOT water and let dry.  The bottom of the bag will still be sealed.  Add your contents and go through the vacuum and sealing process for the new stuff.

If you have boiled the bag to heat up the contents the process does damage the bag and reusing is questionable, at best.

If you have a FoodSaver and use it, let me know how you like it and how it has saved you money.  I know we have saved quite a lot of money over the past year with our old refrigerator not working as it should.  The only things that had to be given away were fresh produce.  Lettuce does not freeze well 😦 nor does celery :-(.  Produce was given to our neighbor when we left town so it would nourish them and not spoil and rot here.

Have a great weekend.

Leslie

Advertisements

About Message In A Fold

I am an over the road truck driver in Drive-Away Transport part of the year, and the sole bookkeeper of this operation the other part of the year. I do a lot of whining until I can get in my craft room and play with paper and glue. View all posts by Message In A Fold

10 responses to “FoodSaver as a money saver

  • Sharon

    Love, love, love my Food Saver! I have had it about 20 years and it is still going strong. I buy bulk meat from the Meat packing plant, portion it out and seal up in the Food Saver before freezing. I seal up leftovers and freeze for later meals. I grow my own vegtables and freeze lots of veggies sealed in the Food Saver.

    Not only do I seal up food, but I have gathered up all my important papers and sealed them in the Food Saver. No chance of water damaging an important document that I need. I have sealed up all my husbands military records and a few chosen newspapers (Jan. 1, 2000 and Sept. 11, 2001). I sealed up my childrens school records and collectable papers through the years. (Children are 36 and 37 now) No air can get to the paper so it will not turn dark or fall apart over the years.

    I have also sealed up my husband’s baby clothes that my Mother-in-law gave to me. This one little blue suit is over 60 years old. I sealed up my wedding dress that my mother made.

    At one point my Husband was afraid I was going to seal him up with the Food Saver to preserve him, haha!

    Sharon Burris

    • Message In A Fold

      Wow Sharon, you are the FoodSaver Whiz!!! Who knew so much could be done with the FoodSaver?! Not me 🙂 I have a vision of a hoop skirted affair (your wedding dress) with a ton of lace and pearls. How in the world would a person get that in a FoodSaver sleeve?! So your dress, although beautiful I’m sure, did not include graduating hoops to complicate matters. Having your husband’s baby clothes, his Mom had to have taken very good care of them to last this long stored away somewhere. Looking at his baby clothes and comparing them to your children’s baby clothes…..what a difference that must have been. Not only in style and graphics but in construction and quality. How cool to have such a treasure 🙂

      About 9 years ago (2003) we bought our first FoodSaver which didn’t have much in the way of bells and whistles. We used it so much for the first couple years we messed up the heating element and it would no longer seal properly. We had to part ways with it in 2007 and upgraded to what we now have. I really like this newer model because of the feature for “Moist” items. Our old one would suck all the air out of everything. Liquids would get slurped up into the vacuum port and we had a heck of a time keeping that clear. This new model has a “Moist” feature and doesn’t suck as hard, which is really great for left over spaghetti sauce to be saved for a later time, and Joe’s stews and chilis also. It still gets all the air out but not at warp speed like our older one did 🙂

      Sharon, thanks for posting a comment to my blog. I appreciate you leaving your ideas and input here 🙂

      Leslie

  • gardenpinks

    I don’t have one of those but can see that is would be extremely useful. I do buy larger packs of meat and we divide it up into mangeable portions so that food isn’t wasted. We have a small chest freezer so we need to conserve space although we do freeze loaves of bread in there too.
    When we, finally, move we sall keep the chest freezer for bulkier items and have a fridge/freezer for everything else.

    All our leftovers do go into the freezer too either in bags or small containers.

    Love Sharon’s ideas. Brilliant

    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      With the cost of food today it is almost sacrilegious to waste it. Buying in bulk is about the only way to be economical in today’s world. I used to double wrap the meats going into the freezer. One layer of a plastic wrap and a final layer of foil. Chops and steaks would have a piece of wax paper between them so they would not freeze into a solid chunk. I used to save all the margarine bowls after they were empty to store left over soups and stews in the freezer. My main problem was knowing what was in what bowl since I could not see the contents. Then having the freezing crystals and a layer of ice above the contents I still didn’t know what was in the container 🙂 I did use a marker on the lids to tell me what was inside, still couldn’t tell what it was.

      Can you believe this will be your third year of blogging? Where has the time gone?! Is it three? I’m so mixed up. I’m thinking this is beginning your third winter since you started blogging regularly. With my sliced up life maybe I’m just all mixed up.

      I hope you have a fantastic day today with your family, awaiting the return of Darren from his trip to Dubai.

      Love you – Leslie

      • gardenpinks

        You have about as much idea as I do about time Leslie 🙂 My days seem to run in to each other and I forget where I am 🙂
        Checking through my blog I have been blogging for 3 years with WordPress although I blogged for a year with Blogger before changing over.
        I look after a garden some distance from us and the people have become friends, sadly Joan is a victim of dementia now and Derek likes me to continue going over there to not only work in the garden but to talk to Joan and it gives Derek the chance to get out and do any major shopping in Cheltenham or visit his accountant, bank manager, etc. When I worked it out I have been going there for 22 years! I couldn’t believe it. The girls were only 3 years old when I first started gardening for Joan and Derek; Joan and Derek had only just moved in when I was asked to help them out. It is a rather large garden, over the years I have created flower beds, come up with planting ideas and taught Derek how to prune roses although neither of them is a gardener. Derek mows the lawns and Joan just enjoys the flowers. I now only need to go twice per month.

        Darren got home safe and sound yesterday; he is spending today (Monday) and tomorrow at home then back to work Wednesday We shall see him on Friday I think.

        Love and hugs
        Lynn xxx

      • Message In A Fold

        How funny you should say your days run together 🙂 Yesterday Joe was in a panic because he thought it was Tuesday and we were going to have to do “worm hole” driving to get to some work 🙂

        My goodness 22 years caring for the garden of a family. You have blessed them indeed. I’m trying to figure out what to say and everything is just clumsy. How sad to see friends struggle with aging and the problems that come with it.

        You say you have created flower beds for them. How different are their flower beds from yours? You say you have taught Derek how to prune roses, do they have more roses in their gardens than you have in yours? I suspect a flower garden is a personal thing. Flowers and blooming shrubs that are your favorite may not be liked by someone else.

        Lynn, I am proud to name you as my friend. Bringing joy to a family with your talent for surrounding them with bright colors and fragrances through the years and now to bring a few hours of peace and breathing space for a man with a heavy heart.

        I’m glad to hear Darren has arrived home safely. I can imagine he has some stories to tell about his trip over and back. He probably has a tale or two about the food he ate and people he met while there. That must have been quite an experience to him to see how other people live their lives. I know he can’t divulge details of his work while there. I bet he has been peppered with questions by his family 🙂 Enjoy your visit with them.

        Love you – Leslie

  • gardenpinks

    The flower beds I have created for Joan and Derek are very different from ours at home, for one thing their soil (earth) is very different, the aspect is much more open so suffers from winds and I have to remember that neither of them are gardeners so they need easy plants to care for when I’m not there.
    They have a lot more roses than I do because they have a lot more money than I have 🙂 Actually we concentrated on roses because they are very robust and will tolerate some neglect; one particular strip of ground was proving to difficult to find suitable plants for yet roses thrive there! That was a bit of a hit and miss trial. Fortunately everything I have planted has always pleased them. Derek likes to brag to his friends that he and Joan have a lady gardener 🙂

    Because Dubai is a totally manmade place and very westernised Darren said you would think you either in a town in America or any high street in the UK .. all the stores would be familiar. There are no Arab type shops/stalls/markets even the restaurants are MacDonald’s, Indian, Mexican, etc. Directly opposite the hotel he was staying in there was a MacDonald’s and a Starbucks!!
    Most of the people working in the hotels or stores are migrant workers although he was working with tech staff that are from Dubai and got along well with them.
    He sent a wonderful video to Jill of a huge fountain that was lit up and the water ‘danced’ to classical music- beautiful to watch:)

    Love and hugs
    Lynn xx

    • Message In A Fold

      I just learned something new, all thanks to you :-). I’ve heard many times that roses are difficult and require proper soil and constant attention.

      One woman I knew, many years ago, had a small rose garden and I heard the most grievances from her. Aphids and spider mites she constantly battled. Bone meal yearly, each spring, was poured into plugs she dug around each rose. Monthly applications of a fish liquid mixed with water as a nutrient. Then cutting them down a little higher than ground level before the first freeze. Yikes! Talk about “High Maintenance”.

      It is heartening to know that roses, once installed by a professional, can be enjoyed by watering and cutting beautiful and sweet bouquets :-).

      I just thought of a suspense movie I saw years ago about a woman who killed some family members. She had a huge rose garden and was meticulous about “Dead Heading” her roses. When she was found to be the culprit she claimed it was Dead Heading the worthless people.

      Whatever happened to “Inspector Morse”? I see there is a program now titled “Inspector Lewis”, which I do believe was Morse’s partner. I can still hear Morse say in a kind of frustrated way “Ahhh, Lewis” when something went wrong or was missed at Lewis’ doing.

      Now that you have said how westernized Dubai is I remember hearing of the tallest skyscraper hotel in the world being there.

      I’m glad to learn that Darren enjoyed his time in a foreign country and made a video for Jill :-). Very special that is :-). It is good he is home.

      Love you – Leslie

      • gardenpinks

        John Thaw who played Inspector Morse died a few years ago of cancer and Colin Dexter, author of Inspector Morse, refused to consider anyone else for the part! Inspector Lewis is nothing to do with the Colin Dexter books but is a sort of off shoot although I have yet to see any episodes.

        Roses are very easy to care for, like any plant they need to be checked for aphis but I use an insecticide that lasts up to 6 weeks together with a chemical to control leaf diseases – I mix these two together and just spray each bush every 6 weeks or so but I’m quite relaxed about that 🙂 I don’t feed my roses regularly either..some people can get quite pedantic about this. I add a slow food such as bonemeal at planting time and that is it. In late summer/early autumn I reduce the rose bushes by about a third but don’t do hard pruning until spring after all danger of frost is past. Then I leave them alone except for spraying and sometimes I remember to dead head them 🙂 So if you like roses plant them!

        Love and hugs
        Lynn xx

      • Message In A Fold

        I’m glad to hear that roses are not “High Maintenance” as I have been lead to believe. I might just have to give them a try :-). I know your email address :-). At least until I get placed in your “Spam” folder 🙂 hahaha

        Love you – Leslie

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: