We have often contemplated the purchase of a FoodSaver to vacuum seal foods away for the freezer and keep them safe from freezer burn. But it’s not a cheap appliance, nor are the bag refills inexpensive, and the thing takes up a lot of space. It’s not something we’d keep on the counter and I’m not really sure where it would go since all the cabinet space is taken up by other seldom-used appliances. Sure, the thing goes on sale at Kohl’s, Costco, Macy’s, etc. but it still feels hard to justify. It’s not like we repackage a lot of things in the freezer. The chicken breasts I get from Costco are already vacuum-packed in little bundles. And we eat the leftover filets and ribeyes quick enough that they don’t really get freezer burn. And, once you open the package, it’s pretty hard to reseal the food in it, unless you had the foresight to make the plastic bag extra large to accommodate the small strips you’d be cutting off.
Then I saw Sharper Image had the Frisper. Cheaper than the FoodSaver (although, no canister attachments) and the bags report to be resusable since you don’t cut them open – they have a zipper seal and air is sucked through a side hole in the bag. The company website says they’re also sold at Linens ‘n Things (20% off coupons!) but I haven’t seen one there yet. I almost bought one from Sharper Image, then I realized that despite the lower price we still didn’t really have a need for a vacuum sealer. Even if it was cute and small.
After all this time of eating out and buying whatever and not even paying attention to sales (gasp!), we are now considering a food budget to help compensate all this traveling and vacationing we like to do, which ultimately costs a bit of money. So, I flipped through the coupons on Sunday for the first time in years (I used to do it every Sunday and then go to Ralphs to use their extra Sunday-front page coupons) and saw this coupon for a Reynolds Handi-Vac. Would it work? Was it worth it? How much would it cost?? Since we were going grocery shopping anyway (99-cent Johnson Breakfast Sausage!) I figured I would take the coupon with us and see if we could even find this new device.
With our long shopping list, we went up and down every aisle except the one with ice cream. We got to the plastic container and baggie aisle and I saw the Handi-Vac on the bottom shelf with no price tag. Then I noticed there were no additional Handi-Vac bags on the shelf. What good is it if I only get 3 quart-sized bags and can’t buy any more? I put it back and we continued our aisle-browsing. Around the corner, there was a small display of the Handi-Vac (with price tag) and boxes of extra bags, quart and gallon sizes! I took it to be a sign and we bought a Handi-Vac and one box of each size.
The Handi-Vac is only $10 and we had a $2.50 coupon (plus an extra $1 off with the Ralph’s double coupon thing). I think the boxes of bags are about $5? So, even if it kind of sort of works, we’re only out less than $20. Much better than an $80 investment. As much as we think about vacuum sealing, I think the bunch of bags we have will last us a long time. Apparently, you can put food in the bags (not recommended for soups or stews or such), seal it, open the bag to remove a few berries or whatnot, close the bag and reseal it with the vacuum. If it works, I’ll be a vacuum-sealing maniac. The device is powered by batteries, so you may not be getting the same suction as an electric-powered sealer, but it’s so small that you probably won’t care.
If it ends up we start sealing every food item in the kitchen, perhaps we’ll look into upgrading to a Frisper.