Vacuum Packing & Food Storage

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

My newest experiment has been vacuum sealing my food. As one who always loved to "put up" food in glass Mason jars and keep a stocked freezer, the thought of further food preservation intrigued me. Vacuum sealing is a simple way of preserving food. If airborne bacteria can't get to the food, the process of natural breakdown (spoilage) can be avoided. It's the way food is packaged for shipping, so why not try it at home? I'm still on the fence as to whether or not it is saving me money, but I certainly am having fun learning.


What Is It?

Vacuum sealing is a process of food preservation which utilizes special canisters or plastic bags. Food is placed in the canister or bag which is then attached to a vacuum sealer which removes all the air from the container. This preserves the food for long periods of time. The bags can be opened and resealed (making them smaller each time), and they can be reused, frozen, boiled, and microwaved. Canisters are perpetually reusable, and they allow themselves to be opened and resealed throughout the day.

Less Waste

How many times have you thrown away food because it went stale or was freezer burnt? It's a frustrating task, and although I enjoy buying in bulk I despise wasting food. I'm disappointed when I pull a roast from my freezer that looks like a chunk of ice. Vacuum storage eliminates this problem, allowing me to produce a beautifully colored roast from the freezer months beyond its normal expiration date.

By packaging a head of lettuce, which is pricey in my area of the country during the winter, in a vacuum canister I can preserve it for more than two weeks. All the while it looks as green as the day I brought it home.

I've even sealed leftover steak rolls in a canister and used them eight days later without noticing a difference in their freshness.

Save on Bulk

Bulk purchases ask for vacuum sealing. After buying a large block of cheese at a discount price, I can cut it into four chunks, seal each one in a vacuum bag, and enjoy it for months. Freezer foods stay fresher, bulk packages of cereals and cookies don't go stale, and fresh fruits can last for over a week.

The Cost

Cost is a priority in our household, but so is avoiding waste. I'm not so upset if it costs a few more pennies as long as I don't waste food. However, I'm convinced that the initial investment in a vacuum sealer will pay off. The sealer systems aren't cheap, and neither are the bags and canisters. While the canisters are the priciest items, they earn their keep in that they're endlessly reusable. I haven't sat to do the math about the cost of the bags versus the savings on my meats and vegetables, but I don't think I'm going to do it.

Like my canning, I enjoy this method of food preservation. My fridge looks full of fresh produce throughout the week and I'm throwing out very little if anything. Like all preservation methods, there is a cost. Canning requires pressure canners (more costly than the sealer system!), cans, lids, and the energy to boil the water. Freezers also ask for enormous amounts of energy as well as the initial cost of the freezer. In the end is a vacuum sealer any different? You be the judge.

Vacuum Packing & Food Storage

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By Robin in Illinois (Guest Post)
July 19, 20070 found this helpful

I have found with my foodsaver you can reseal bags of chips, cookies, cereal, etc..... do not vacuum the bag just use the seal setting.
This is very handy for us as we have several kinds of chips going at the same time and I just cut the bag down and seal, preserving the quality longer with no stale chips

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July 19, 20070 found this helpful

You said:

"If airborne bacteria can't get to the food, the process of natural breakdown (spoilage) can be avoided. It's the way food is packaged for shipping, so why not try it at home?"


I hope you mean dry foods, not wet foods. The commercial wet foods vacuum packed are also heat processed. It wouldn't be safe to only vacuum pack something like soup or meat or fresh fruit/vegetables.

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July 19, 20070 found this helpful

I bought my food saver in 1988, at that time it costs $300 I thought it was horribly expensive and I got it anyway, I had a good job, I used it for years and it finally broke, I went approximately 12 months,After about 8 months, I was really tossing food out, between freezer burn and just that ice on everything, the freezer was Smelling like everything in it, I had to replace the food saver. it was horrible I had to throw away so much food, I was spoiled with the food saver. The 1st chance I had I replaced it.


3 years ago I cooked a turkey dinner for Thanksgiving I made 30 meals out of it, I'd taken a 8 in plastic solo plate and put the whole dinner on the plate Turkey mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans with mushrooms, dressing, sweet potatoes (I did at least get green beans on their) I always put something cold in the middle cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie cake something that really doesn't need to be hot and I Vacuum seal it (one thing I did learn is to put anything runny or went away from the opening so it is not sucked into the motor ) I am still eating turkey dinners, I put enchiladas rice and beans, corn beef and cabbage, a full dinner, take them off the plastic plate to microwave , I make bean soup stew or chili . I put them in a bowl and freeze it, once its frozen I vacuum seal it, when my cupboards are full of bowls again I know I have to cook. 1 thing I do is put my dirty bag straight in the freezer this way if I don't get them wash right away they don't start to mold.

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By Susan (Guest Post)
July 20, 20070 found this helpful

I also use mine to make individual serving bags out of bread, cereal, etc. bags. Saves me a bundle in time & money when it comes to making school lunches.

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 113 Posts
July 20, 20070 found this helpful




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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 170 Posts
July 20, 20070 found this helpful

I use a handy little accessory with my Food Saver on a daily basis. It is not manufactured by any of the vacuum seal companies. It was invented by someone who had an idea and acted upon it.

You can vacuum seal any size jar that has a gasket in the lid, for example -- pickle jar, one gallon or larger jar, baby food jar. It is not a lid but it is attached to the tubing. As long as the lid to the jar has a gasket, the jar can be vacuum sealed.

This little device is a must if you own a vacuum seal system. Go to and check it out for yourself. Don't let the size fool you, it's the size of a one gallon milk jug lid but it does its' job. After you see it, you will have a better understanding. Believe me, you'll love it. Instead of using their seals, I use electrical tape to cover the hole.

I vacuumed sealed a one gallon jar containing saltine crackers for one year. Once opened, the crackers were just as fresh as when I put them in the jar.

There are so many things you can vacuum seal in a jar to keep fresh. I vacuum sealed a special glue we had to use. It stated that after six months, the glue would have to be thrown away once it was opened. It was an expensive glue and had to be special ordered. I vacuumed sealed it in a jar and one year later, we could still use it. I really love those vacuum seal systems. I have saved a lot of money especially since I bought the universal jar sealer.

I have no connection to this product other than being a very happy customer. I just wanted to share this great little gadget with other vacuum seal users.

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July 20, 20070 found this helpful

I absolutely love my sealer. I think the cost of bags is totally worth it. I know my food is safer and fresher. That's enough for me!
Jennifer CA

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Silver Feedback Medal for All Time! 472 Feedbacks
July 20, 20070 found this helpful

If you buy a Food Saver brand vaccum sealer, you get the accessory that seals/reseals jars. You can order another through the company, so you will have one for both regular and wide mouth jars. These work great if you can and regularly use mason jars--they become canisters that are essentially free. This alone has saved me tons of food. I originally bought my food saver years ago, and recently bought a newer model. These new models are great; the seal is thicker, they can handle wet foods, and have a crush-proof button that is wonderful for breads, cookies, etc. You can use other/cheaper companies brands of bags for their sealers too. I regularly sanitize my bags by soaking them in a hot, soapy water to which I've added bleach or vinegar between uses.

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