Three Things to Look for in a Vacuum Sealer Machine

The future is here, and it’s delicious.

Vacuum sealing meat with onions, garlic, and herbs.
Vacuum sealing your food can help to keep it fresher for longer or infuse flavors or marinades into it.Getty Images

Vacuum sealers are incredibly versatile. They can keep chips crunchy-fresh in your pantry. They can keep leftovers tasting delicious days after their debut. They can store meat in the freezer up to two years before it’s used. And people who have vacuum sealers definitely have their own unique ideas of how to use it in their home; people store electronics, books, photographs and even random furniture-assembly required part. But there is a learning curve—and knowing how to use one and what you’ll use it for will help you get the most out of your vacuum sealer. But be warned: Once you seal one thing, you’ll want to seal everything.

GERYON Vacuum Sealer Machine, Automatic Food Sealer for Food Savers w/Starter Kit|Led Indicator Lights|Easy to Clean|Dry & Moist Food Modes| Compact Design (Silver)
One-touch buttons for different types of cuisines and dishes; gentle and normal options for maximum versatility.GERYON

A vacuum sealer can do more than vacuum pack foods. It can also vacuum and re-seal opened packages, like chips. And while the list of what you can vacuum seal is pretty long—hello, single slice of pizza—a vacuum sealer will prolong the shelf life of fridge and pantry food, but it won’t preserve it forever. It’s still good to clear out the fridge of leftovers, even vacuum-packed ones, after a week or so. And some foods, like soft cheeses, mushrooms and garlic, can’t be vacuum packed because bacteria grows on them in the absence of air.

Foodsaver FSFSSL2244-000 V2244 Machine for Food Preservation with Bags and Rolls Starter Kit | Number 1 Vacuum Sealer System | Compact and Easy Clean | UL Safe, Single, Black
Lock and latch system is designed to be easy to use. It has an extra wide sealing strip and dishwasher-safe drip tray.FoodSaver

Vacuum sealing is incredibly versatile. Some sealers also have add-on accessories like jar and canister sealers. This can help keep pantry staples, like popcorn or grains, fresher for longer. And while most vacuum sealers come with an accessory starter pack, you’ll have to buy your own bags and vacuum seal roll eventually. These can be relatively inexpensive, but it’s important to check any reviews and make sure you choose a good quality product. Vacuum sealing bags and rolls can be used with any vacuum sealer. And while it’s tempting to use any old bag to vacuum seal, regular bags are not airtight and most won’t work. Chip bags, though, are a different story, since they have a foil coating which can help prevent oxygen transmission.

NutriChef Vacuum Sealer | Automatic Vacuum Air Sealing System For Food Preservation w/ Starter Kit | Compact Design | Lab Tested | Dry & Moist Food Modes | Led Indicator Lights (Black)
Soft touch digital buttons and multiple modes for versatile use, including jars and canisters.NutriChef

Besides preserving foods, vacuum sealer aficionados use the device in day-of prep. This can include prepping meat for sous-vide cooking, or using the vacuum sealer as a way to make the most of marinades. To do: Add the meat and the marinade in the vacuum sealer bag, seal it and let it marinate for the day before you get ready to make dinner. A vacuum sealer can also lock in the flavors for leftovers. But before you seal, you should wait until your food is at least room temp—hot food can harbor bacteria growth.

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