Foodsaver tips and tricks! How to use a Foodsaver vacuum sealer to stretch your grocery budget, and keep everything fresher longer!
Are you spending more on groceries than you’d like?
I think most of us are!
We all know it’s smart to keep a pantry stocked with non-perishables. But what about fresh items like meat and produce?
Sure, you can throw that huge package of sale-priced chicken breasts into the freezer.
But then (months later) you discover it covered in frost…and looking a little grey.
That used to happen to me ALL the time, before I got a Foodsaver!
Owning a Foodsaver has really improved how I grocery shop. Now I can stock up on fresh sale items too, and keep them fresh for YEARS.
Let’s dive into some tips and tricks for how to use a Foodsaver so you can do the same!
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What foods can you vacuum seal?
Some foods that vacuum seal well include:
- Meat – Chicken, beef, pork, fish, deli meat, wild game
- Baked goods
- Vegetables – bell peppers, corn on the cob, zucchini
- Dried fruit
- Coffee beans
- Nuts and seeds
- Soups and stews
- Freezer meals
Does vacuum sealing food make it last longer?
Yes, absolutely! The shelf life of many foods is up to 5x longer than with regular storage methods.
Meat and vegetables can last in the freezer for 2-3 years.
In the refrigerator, cheese can last for up to 8 months. Fresh fruits and vegetables will stay good for up to 2 weeks.
Here’s a helpful chart to demonstrate how much longer food that has been vacuum sealer will last.
What foods should not be vacuum sealed?
Here are some foods that are not ideal for vacuum sealing in a Foodsaver:
- Brussel sprouts
- Soft cheeses (ie. ricotta, blue cheese, feta)
Which Foodsaver should I buy?
I’ve had this inexpensive Foodsaver for years, and it works great!
I love how easy it is to use, with no complicated bells and whistles.
It comes with a few bags to get you started, plus the accessory hose.
As you can see, there are many benefits to using a Foodsaver.
Let’s dive into some tips and tricks for making it work for you!
10 Ways to Use a Foodsaver
1. To save money on groceries
Shopping your grocery store’s sales is the very best way to keep your budget low.
I always recommend planning your meals around those sale prices.
But with a Foodsaver, you don’t have to eat chicken for dinner every night this week just because it’s on sale.
Sure, stock up when chicken breasts are their rock-bottom price, but then vacuum seal them.
You’ll have fresh-tasting chicken for years to come!
Or buy your favorite items in bulk to get a discount.
If you like to shop at a warehouse club like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s, you can feel comfortable buying a large amount of something without worrying that it will go bad.
The chart below is an example of what you can save by shopping at a warehouse club compared to non-sale regular supermarket prices.
A Foodsaver might even pay for itself within a week or two!
2. Keep your food fresher longer
If you only need half of an avocado or onion, vacuum seal the rest so that it doesn’t go bad.
No more discovering that modly block of cheese you barely touched a month later.
Vacuum seal your block of cheese after opening it. You can take only as much as you need, and then reseal it again and again.
💡 Foodsaver hack: Make the vacuum bag longer than necessary so that you can reseal your cheese in the same bag.
You can also vacuum seal sliced apples for snacks, and keep them from browning for an entire week!
Perhaps you only like to grocery shop once or twice a month. Stock up on deli lunch meat, cheese, and even bananas.
3. Save yourself time
By taking a little time upfront to vacuum seal food, ‘future you’ will save a ton of time prepping.
When the store has a great price on bell peppers, I buy a LOT. Then I slice them into strips for fajitas, and dice them up to be added to soups, chili, etc.
It doesn’t take much extra time to cut up a bunch at once. I love using this food chopper to dice a bunch with one push!
Then when it’s time to make those meals in the future, I know the peppers are ready for me.
No need to stop at the store to buy them, or spend time chopping them.
You really can prep a lot of food at once, and reap the reward for months (or years) to come.
4. Keep meat fresh (for years!)
If you’ve ever tried to make dinner with freezer-burned meat, you know just how unappetizing it is.
The Foodsaver keeps it fresh for up to 3 years!
That means when the meat is at its lowest price, you can stock your freezer for the whole year or more.
Certain times of the year have really low prices on meat, such as:
- Turkeys in November
- Ham around Christmas and Easter
- Ground beef at Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day
- Ribs right before the Superbowl
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts at the beginning of January
You can pre-make your own burger patties, and have them seasoned and ready to go any time of year.
5. Make your own TV dinners
You can actually use a Foodsaver to vacuum entire plates full of food.
Make homemade ‘TV dinners’ by putting leftovers on a plate and into a Foodsaver bag to vacuum and seal.
You’ll love having those ready make meals to pop into the oven or microwave when you get home late one night.
This would be especially nice for holiday leftovers.
Imagine having a delicious Thanksgiving dinner on a cold February night!
6. Seal up some snacks
Did you know that snacks like pretzels and chips can be re-sealed right in their own bags?
Of course you wouldn’t want to vacuum ALL the air out, because they’d crush.
But you can reseal that bag of chips, pretzels, crackers, or cereal.
That way they won’t go stale before you get back to them.
The Foodsaver has a ‘Seal’ button that you can use to seal without vacuuming.
Or start the vacuum process, but just hit the seal button before the really strong suction kicks in.
Baked goods (like muffins) can be gently vacuum sealed in the same way, so that they don’t go stale on your counter as fast.
The packaging most snacks are sold in just won’t keep them fresh!
7. Prep food for sous vide
Sous vide is French for “under vacuum.” It’s the process of vacuum sealing food in a bag, then simmering it (right in the bag) until warmed through.
Ideal for cooking meat, it always comes out juicy and tender.
It’s also less messy, because you only have a pot of water to clean.
Sure, it’s pretty chef-y, but it could be fun to try!
Also, if you have vacuum sealed something like chicken and dumplings, you can take the bag from frozen to warm quickly.
8. Shop less often
If you feel like you’re always at the grocery store, a Foodsaver will give you the option to shop less often.
Since you can keep most meat and produce fresh for much longer in your fridge or freezer, try buying a little extra.
That way you can extend the time between grocery shopping trips.
9. Make meal prep easy
Doing some easy meal prep really makes mealtime go much faster.
Here are some easy ways to prep food in advance with the Foodsaver:
Cook a batch of chicken breasts (in the oven or slow cooker)
Shred or slice them, then vacuum seal individual portions and store in your freezer or refrigerator.
You can use them in one of these 4-ingredient chicken recipes!
Brown a bunch of ground beef
Vacuum seal it into dinner-sized portions, and store in your fridge or freezer.
Use it for tacos, spaghetti, or one of these simple ground beef dinners.
Meal prep some easy breakfasts
Egg bites, breakfast burritos, pancakes, or packets of fruit for smoothies are easy things to prep ahead of time.
Use your Foodsaver to seal in individual portions, and enjoy ready-made breakfasts for months.
Shred zucchini or other vegetables when they’re in season and on sale
Vacuum seal and store in portions to be later used in baked goods and sauces.
You can save so much money just by eating the produce that’s in season. Grab my Seasonal Produce Buying Guide to find out what’s in season every month of the year!
Make freezer meals
If you’re making one lasagna or shepherd’s pie for dinner, why not make two, and freeze one?
(Here are some cheap and simple freezer meal ideas for more ideas.)
You can freeze the extra dinner in a baking dish, then take it out of the dish and use your Foodsaver to vacuum seal it.
It’ll be in the shape of your baking dish, without having to keep the dish tied up in your freezer.
When you’re ready to heat it, pop it (still frozen) out of the sealed bag and into your baking dish to thaw and heat.
10. Use it for things besides food
You can definitely Foodsaver non-food items. Here are some other cool things you can vacuum seal!
Make an emergency or survival kit
Vacuum sealing provides a water-safe environment.
Keep important documents, a flashlight, batteries, flares, snacks, and first aid supplies together.
Keep it in your house, car, boat, or camper in case of an emergency.
Vacuum seal toiletries before flying on an airplane
That will prevent them from bursting at high altitude.
Compress and seal off-season clothing and bedding
They’ll take up much less space when storing.
Seal dried seeds for planting next year
If you like to garden, keep your dried seeds fresh to use year after year.
When it comes to using a Foodsaver, there are just a few other things you need to know.
Here are a few more tips and tricks to be aware of when vacuum sealing.
Be sure to freeze anything that would squish before vacuum sealing
Fruit like bananas or berries, baked goods like rolls or muffins, and anything liquidy should be frozen first.
Always label the Foodsaver bag with the date and contents
It just helps you know what’s inside and when you froze it.
You can seal in other containers
Seal mason jars with this special attachment.
It’s perfect for liquids like salsa and spaghetti sauce, baking supplies like brown sugar and coconut, or to keep mason jar salads fresher longer in the fridge.
You can make any size bag you want
Save money by using generic vacuum-sealing bags. They’re inexpensive, and you customize the exact size bag for the task.
Ready to try a Foodsaver?
I hope you enjoyed learning these Foodsaver tips and tricks.
As you can see, there are TONS of ways to use a Foodsaver to vacuum seal food.
That will save you money because you can more easily stock up on sale prices.
It also lessens food waste by keeping everything fresher longer.
Plus it saves time by allowing you to prep meals and ingredients in advance, and grocery shop less often.
Grab a Foodsaver, and start enjoying the benefits today!
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