A vacuum sealer can save you money if you put it to good use. Let it sit on your kitchen counter like a paperweight and it won’t get you far, but if you start using it regularly it will extend the life of your food, meaning you can shop and cook in bulk. That can save some major time and money, and who doesn’t love that?
We’ve put together eight tips for freezing food with a vacuum sealer that will help you save your food — and money
1. How to pre-freeze
What happens when you put fresh berries in a freezer bag and suck the air out? You get squished fruit. Spread out and pre-freeze items like fruits, veggies, and meatballs on cookie sheets. Pre-freeze saucy items like soups and pastas in plastic containers. Pack food down with a spoon or spatula before you pre-freeze to get rid of any air bubbles. Once the blocks of food are frozen, pop them out and vacuum seal them.
2. When to freeze cooked versus uncooked
Some dishes like soups and sauces reheat really well. For others, you may want to assemble and vacuum seal without cooking. Whenever I see a great price on a 3-pound package of ground turkey, I’ll mix and pre-form three batches of raw meatballs. When meatballs are on the menu, the hard work is done but you still get a freshly-cooked meal with minimum effort.
Freezer meals are the perfect way to save time cooking weeknight dinners. Our freezer-ready casseroles, IKEA frozen meatball recipes, and slow cooker freezer recipes are delicious, time-saving solutions!
3. Always label packages
You think you’ll remember the third package from the back is the tomato sauce you made in July. Then, six months later when you pour it over pasta, you realize you’ve just doused your noodles in chili. Always write the name of the dish and the date it was made.
Keeping your refrigerator and freezer organized can be quite the chore. Check out these secrets for long-lasting refrigerator organization to keep your fridge immaculate.
4. Not just for the freezer
Vacuum sealing can also stretch the shelf life of food in your refrigerator and pantry. Did you buy a big block of cheddar? Vacuum seal half until you get through the first chunk. Vacuum sealing can also be a good way to extend the life of dry goods — just make sure you have a barrier between the vacuum sealer and any powder. For example, keep flour in its original packaging and vacuum seal the whole package.
5. Double recipes, freeze the extra
From here on out, double any dish you know will freeze well. Immediately vacuum seal the extra so you’re preserving the dish at its peak. Disposable foil pans are great for storing dishes like enchiladas. Assemble two trays of enchiladas, cook one for dinner tonight and vacuum seal the other. The next time you want to have some, defrost and heat them up in the oven.
6. Buy the bags
Source: FoodSaver® Blog
There’s a reason you have to buy special bags for your vacuum sealer machine. These bags are designed just for your vacuum sealer and there’s a lot more to them than meets the eye. Use the bag to keep air and moisture completely out and get a tight seal.
7. Portion it out properly
Most bags can be cleaned and reused (with the exception of bags used on raw meats or anything else that could have bacteria remnants). However, it makes things a lot easier when you freeze a meal’s worth per bag. Buy the three-pound ground beef package, then divvy it up into three one-pound portions and freeze accordingly.
8. Become your own butcher
You probably stand to net the most savings when you utilize your vacuum sealer on meat. Now that you have a vacuum sealer, you can buy the bulk package of steaks at the warehouse store (which costs less per pound) and individually seal and freeze steaks.
Get the best deal on steaks, ground beef, poultry, and more with these 8 tips for buying meat from your butcher!