Vacuum sealers keep food fresher longer by first removing the air from plastic food preservation bags and heat sealing the bag to keep air out. They have rapidly become a popular way to keep your frozen food fresh.
They have one big problem, though. Vacuum sealers can get quite expensive—and take up precious space in your kitchen. Most also require special plastic sheets that add additional cost on an ongoing basis.
Luckily, there are two simple ways to vacuum seal without any special equipment—keeping your food freezer burn-free without breaking the bank.
This is by far our favorite of the two tricks. Simply press as much as possible out of the bag by hand, then insert a straw into the corner of the bag, seal the bag around it, and suck out the air from the straw until the bag collapses around the items, just as a countertop vacuum sealer does.
Once this happens, you need to pull your straw out and seal the rest of the bag. We find that, although this method requires a bit more lung work on our end, we have more direct control over the amount of air removed from the bag itself.
This second trick is equally simple and actually requires a little less effort during the process. However, it does end up being a bit messier and slightly more time-intensive in the long run.
Submerge the bag with your ingredients in water. The pressure from the liquid will push the air out of the bag and make the plastic conform to the shape of the items inside. Make sure no water gets into the bag while submerging it, and dry it off before placing it into the freezer.
Both of these methods work equally well to reduce the amount of air in your resealable bags, slowing freezer burn and keeping your foods fresh longer.
Neither method is as good as that professional vacuum sealer, but they're close enough—and certainly much better than trying to manually expel the air out of the bags. We were impressed by both tricks, and have been using the straw trick around our kitchen since it's easy and efficient.
We've actually found that produce frozen after sucking the air out of it tends to stay just as fresh for just as long as produce purchased from the frozen aisle of the local grocery store.
Vacuum sealing is also an excellent way to cook your food as well as storing it. The sous vide method slowly cooks food vacuum sealed into a bag at a low temperature under water. It's gotten quite popular and can create amazing dishes.
Let us know in the comments how these sealing methods worked for you—or if another works better.