I will vacuum seal anything that will stand still long enough.
I love my Foodsaver in general – the canisters are wonderful in the fridge, and the original style heat-seal bags have saved all manner of things from freezer burn over the years (I just found some vacuum-sealed salmon in the deep freeze from 2008, and hubby said it was delicious).
My only complaints with the original bags are that they are relatively expensive, and for many things they’re simply less convenient than zipper bags. The Foodsaver company now makes a handheld device to use with zipper-seal bags called the Freshsaver, but the bags aren’t recommended for freezer use. When used in the freezer some of the bags will work perfectly, but about half the seals seem to fail. Pretty annoying when the freezer is where vacuum sealing really makes a difference.
A few years ago Reynolds came out with a battery-operated, hand-held device. I don’t know if it was my individual unit or whether the problem was across the board, but I found the vacuum seals extremely frustrating. It took some magical combination of pressure and positioning for the seal to work. A smidge too hard and the air couldn’t flow from the bag to the device, a tiny bit too loose and no vacuum was formed. At least Reynolds made bags intended to work in the freezer, and when/if I ever got them sealed I had no complaints. Also unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be any way to cheat and use the superior Freshsaver sealer with the better (and cheaper) Reynolds bags. Bags for this system seem to be difficult to find now.
Finally this past year I found a Ziploc vacuum device and bags in the store. The manual vacuum device couldn’t be simpler – no cords, no batteries, and NO NOISE. I was initially worried that vacuum sealing by hand would be a little like inflating an air mattress with a bicycle pump, but it was actually very easy. Nevertheless I was delighted to discover that the Ziploc freezer bags could be used with either the Freshsaver pump, or with the Foodsaver plus adapter. My plan is to use the Foodsaver in the kitchen, and put the little Ziploc sealer out in the garage beside the deep freeze. That way I can quickly reseal a bag after removing a small amount.
I have one of those battery electric vacuum pumps that you have to hold and do everything right to get it to pump out of the bag. Some times it’s easy. Some times it’s impossible. In fact, I have two of them, since I bought a second one on close-out. I took a film canister lid and drilled a hole it in so I could use that same pump on some bags that needed a larger pump inlet to seal properly.
As far as vacuum bags leaking, perhaps a piece of clear packing tape over the vacuum attachment point would help them seal. You would need to pull off the tape later to re-evacuate the bag.
Good luck with your produce and freezing thereof.
I have a Reynolds Handi-Vac Sealer, but they discontinued them. Debbie Meyers (Green Bags) bought the patent and is now selling them on her website – Genius-Vac. I also have two Ziplock sealers, which seem to work fine for short term storage. They lose vacuum after about 30 days. Once they are used, grit & residue gets in the seal area and they slow-leak. I’ll vacuum seal large quantities of things like Basil Ice Cubes or whole strawberries in the FoodSaver bags. When I want a basil cube , I’ll cut it open & take out enough so I can reseal the bag. I’ll seal up the extras in Ziplock vacuum bags so they can be resealed each time I want one. My favorite is to vacuum seal dried herbs in mason jars. It really keeps them fresh.
I just bought a new FoodSaver, and was really disappointed in how the quality has gone down hill. I bought one of the $90 low-end units and took it back. The top-of-the line unit works fine.
Oh no! I’m really disappointed to hear that the Ziploc bags’ seals break down. The ones I have in the freezer have been perfect so far, but I only have a handful of things frozen.
I had wondered about the new Foodsavers – they are so much less expensive than they used to be. Mine is years old but still working fine; I’ll keep my fingers crossed.
Jim I’m relieved to know it wasn’t just me with the Reynolds device – I did sometimes just give up when I couldn’t get it to work. I might try the tape idea, although I don’t know if the seal area would stand up to being retaped very many times. Maybe enough people will begin (or resume) preserving, and it will be more worthwhile for companies to solve these little problems.
Any of the resealable bags will lose vacuum if they have been previously used. Every time you reuse the bags, tiny grit and debris will get in between the vacuum flap and the bag and create a potential vacuum loss. A new bag should be able to hold vacuum for months. The resealable feature is really nice, so that’s why I use them in conjunction with the Foodsaver. I remove enough to reseal the Foodsaver bag, and use the resealable bags for short-term storage of one month or less.
I hung onto my 9-year old FoodSaver and ordered a new seal and foam gasket. Works like new. Foodsaver went the way of Troybilt mowers – Built as cheap as possible and mass marketed while depending on old reputations.