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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 9:26 am 
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We've decided to fancy things up this year with some pre-cooked special meals. We thought we'd get a vacuum sealer first since we can always use one for freezer storage, then we'll get the dehydrator once we've mastered the art of vacuum bagging.

My first inclination is to get the cheapest machine that will do the job but Lady BK would like a few more bells and whistles. What are some of the most desirable features to look for on an upgrade from a basic machine? I can live without an on board bag opener but am intrigued with auto bag detection and two vacuum speeds as well as moisture detection. She's leaning toward the Food Saver 3440 ($139 USD!). Anyone have any recommendations?

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 9:51 am 
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I have a food saver and have had moderate success with it.

Sometimes the seals broke, some are still good.

It is a simple concept so as long as they vacuum and heat it should work.

The quality of the bags is more important in my opinion.

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 10:20 am 
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Everybody's logic and situation is different.
I have both a dehydrator and a sealer.
Tilla Foodsaver 1050
purchased online a number of years back from a secondary distributor.
I concur with Rob's experience....sometimes the seals work and sometimes they don't; and the quality of the bags matters.
It is the one Bling bling purchase I would not do again.... disclaimer again is everybody is different.
I thought I'd use mine too at home but find myself using the glad bags as the foodsavers are more expencive.
It's been a year since I used the thing so perhaps quality of the machine and the bag price are different now.

If you are really looking at the choice between two machines I use my dehyrator much more.
Again; it depends on application and preference. Short trips I just cook fresh in the field.

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 11:35 am 
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And I am experimenting with another direction.

Those little pumps with the glad lock bags on steroids.

In essence they are a manual vacuum sealer.

The plus is that I can take the pump with me and eat some of the contents (they have a zipper on the bag) then reseal and revacuum. It might help on a two week trip.

Not sure how well it would work for long term storage.

What appeals to me the most is being able to reuse the vacuum bag. However the bags themselves are too big and come in two preset sizes. There is going to be a lot of empty bag packed.

I have a very basic Food Saver. I have had no issues with the bags breaking or seals failing. Sometimes I dont get the bag in far enough and the seal is at the edge which is not good ..if it does not go all the way across moisture can get in. But its a badly made seal, which I can fix right away, not a failure.

My only gripe is that I would like an adjustable size opening. Mine is wide and sometimes I want to save just a few veggies for a solo dinner...not the whole bag of beans!

Yes its a timely subject..the kitchen is a mess of various foods in mid processing.. for the next trip.


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 12:09 pm 
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Timely post as my wife got me for Christmas a vacuum sealer, except she hasn't bought it yet and wanted me to pick one out.

I had mentioned casually in the past that we should keep an eye out for one at garage sales and on kijiji. I still think it's something that I don't want to spend a huge amount of money on.

Interesting that your experiences have been not all great. Sealing food for tripping was the primary use & I figured the vacuum sealed bags would be more water proof than ziplocks, but if they aren't then the usefulness is diminished.

Does anybody else have additional experience to enlighten us with?

Cheers,
Bryan

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 1:35 pm 
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Still checking things out but this one seems like it will do the job:

FoodSaver 2830

If you enter in the coupon code L8FAV28 you will get a 40% off break, making it only $59 and if you buy an extra one of the 3/4 quart canisters (on sale for $3.49) and type in the coupon code LS614 you will get free shipping (at least in the U.S.). Our total will be $68.88 including tax for the basic kit plus an extra canister (unit comes with two already plus a roll of 11" bags) delivered to our door.

Discount coupon codes are only good through today, so you better act quickly, Bryan. :wink:

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 1:43 pm 
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I have used my sealer for more than just canoe trips ... For instance a bulk buy of pork tenderloins at Costco get sealed up after every trip to the store.. unfortunately my sealing band that allows it to vacuum tore so I dont get a proper suction but I can still seal with a bit of air . I will replace my sealer sometime in the next few months but seem to find most stores seemingly only carry the Foodsaver brand and it seems to be consistent in its price point at Cdn Tire Costco and Loblaws ( supercentres).

I did an 8 day trip this summer and sealed cheddar cheese into small lunch portions and was pleasantly surprised to find the cheese still good on the final day without any refridgeration. I dont think I would have had the same experience with a zip lock..

They are worth the investment as long as you have the cupboard space for storage.


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 1:44 pm 
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Canisters look useful for soups etc.

Wish they did not look like the containers used for draining chest tubes. Same principle.


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 1:47 pm 
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any way of finding out how wide the seal is?
That's what keeps breaking on mine I think...(and sharp material inside even with the good bags; doesn't seem to like dehydrated hamburg)_ would love to hear other expereinces, maybe I have a dud?....a very thin seal line
BK....for that price; conditions change :wink:
still stick with my opinion that a dehydrator is the better of the two appliances
LRC....thank you for that visual

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 2:06 pm 
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Gail R wrote:
any way of finding out how wide the seal is?
That's what keeps breaking on mine I think...(and sharp material inside even with the good bags; doesn't seem to like dehydrated hamburg)_ would love to hear other expereinces, maybe I have a dud?....a very thin seal line


The specs for the unit I linked to says is has an "extra wide" seal line. That may make a difference.

Also, by using the roll bags instead of the individual ones you can save enough money to double wrap them for trips and such, or perhaps you can wrap them in regular Saran wrap first.

I'll be honest, the main reason I'd like one is that Rose is more likely to go on long trips if I give her carte blanche regarding meal planning and prep. I received an electric slicer for Christmas ( talk about reverse sexism :roll: ) and I know a dehydrator is in the works as well as a food scale. Whatever works to get her out there works for me. I'm an "opportunivore" when it comes to food, so I'm pretty easy to please, just something to tide me over until I catch a few fish. :wink:

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 2:46 pm 
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You can always double seal..at least with my manual unit ..providing I have left enough space for a second seal line.

Mine is a thinnish line so I usually do a second seal right above the first.

Not trimming the bag too close before filling helps too. The only troubles I have had with sealing are when I underestimate the size of bag to cut off the roll. Leaving at least two inches free helps and then you can trim. Yes its a bit of a pain knowing you are going to waste some material.


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 5:04 pm 
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Just ordered mine direct from FoodSaver. I got an extra set of four canisters for $15 (55% off today)... plus, an extra roll of bag material because I had a problem with placing the order (my fault as it turned out) and they felt the need to comp me for something.

The money we saved will get us most of a dehydrator, so now we will be all set. Time to start a new thread on which dehydrator to purchase. :wink:

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 5:13 pm 
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What? no ginsu knife :wink:

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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 5:16 pm 
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Battenkiller wrote:
The money we saved will get us most of a dehydrator, so now we will be all set. Time to start a new thread on which dehydrator to purchase. :wink:


Here is some homework for you.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Real-Foo ... rator.aspx


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PostPosted: January 7th, 2009, 6:22 pm 
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Quote:
My first inclination is to get the cheapest machine that will do the job


Just avoid the really cheap ones they are complete junk. Any of the Foodsaver ones will do the trick, the slightly more expensive model does have some advantages.

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