True or False: It is safe to eat food after is has been frozen over 12 months.
The answer might surprise you.
It’s true! In fact, food that is frozen at 0 degrees is safe to eat indefinitely. Crazy right?!
BUT, this doesn’t mean the food will taste good after 12 months. In fact, most food probably won’t.
It is vacuum sealed.
When food is vacuum sealed and frozen, it extends the shelf life from months to years. YEARS.
Air is the enemy of freezer food and when there is no air in contact with the food, there is minimal deterioration in the quality.
To be honest, I have no idea why it took me so long to get a vacuum sealer in my home. I’m kicking myself for the gobs of food that I have thrown out over the years due to freezer burn. So much money wasted!
BUT, the tides have turned, my friends. I now have a vacuum sealer in my home and it is changing the way I store food.
Here are 5 Ways that a Vacuum Sealer can Save you Money
1. Store Freezer Meals for Longer.
When there are meals in the freezer, you simply eat healthier and save money by eating out less. Not to mention, having freezer meals on hand will minimize those small trips to the grocery store that turn into budget killers. But sometimes that meal doesn’t get stored right OR it gets left in the freezer too long. Take these Turkey Burgers for example.
I have no doubt that if I had vacuum sealed these turkey burgers, they would have tasted practically fresh after thawing. Instead, these are going in the trash. Tragic.
Vacuum sealing is one of the tools that makes freezer cooking even more useful. It extends the life of a freezer meal from months to years so you don’t have the painful experience of throwing away freezer meals.
If you need some recipe ideas to get you going, try: Southwest Chicken Tenders, Balsamic Herb Chicken, or this Delicious Steak Marinade. These are all easy to prepare and vacuum seal for longterm storage.
2. Buy Food in Bulk
Buying meat and produce in bulk, especially when it is on sale is a HUGE money saver. That is, if you actually end up using the food you bought. Oftentimes, if you’re like me, that meat you bought on sale gets shoved to the back of the freezer and forgotten for months and months. By the time you get to it, it’s got ice crystals and freezer burn. So much for saving money on that! BUT, if you were to have taken the time to vacuum seal that meat, it can hang out in the back of your freezer for months. And months. And months. And it’ll be as happy as can be when you do finally get around to using it.
3. Store Fresh Herbs
Last week, my husband wanted to make a cocktail that called for a mint leaf. He purchased a package of mint from the store and used the one leaf that he needed, leaving the 30 others behind to rot. Vacuum sealing to the rescue!
To save fresh herbs, give them a quick blanch (boil for a minute or two, then plunge in ice water), let them dry and then seal them up. When you need that herb next time, pop it out of the freezer and use it! It’s worth noting that while they may lose some firmness in texture, the flavor will remain. I SO wish I would have done this for my fresh herbs from my garden this summer.
4. Buy and Save Produce in While It’s In Season
One way to save money is to buy produce while it is in season. Grocery stores run big sales and drop prices when a food easily available. Also worth mentioning is that there are less chemicals used on the in season produce to keep it fresh. If you can have a way to store these fresh fruits and veggies at their peak season, you’ll have cheaper, healthier, tastier produce all year long. Problem is, produce doesn’t like to hang out in the freezer all year long. Take for example my peaches from this July.
Or these raspberries from this summer.
A small part of me died when I saw my precious fruit beginning to deteriorate.
If I would have been smart (I wasn’t), I would have vacuum sealed these precious fruits up and they would have been in near perfect condition to use.
5. Extending the Shelf Life in Your Fridge
Vacuum sealing isn’t just for the freezer. It can be used on produce, dairy, and meats that are stored in the fridge.
For example, romaine lettuce starts to go bad after 5 days or so in the fridge. If it is vacuum sealed, it can last for weeks before it begins to wilt. Or take cheese for example, if you buy a large block and shred your own (here’s why you should, BTW), you can keep that cheese from molding for SO much longer than it would in a plastic bag.
Which Vacuum Sealer Should I Use?
So after learning about many of the fabulous ways that vacuum sealing can save you money, I’m sure you are asking, “Which One Should I Use?”
I personally use and recommend the ICO Vacuum Sealer.
Here are a few features about the ICO Vacuum Sealer that I’m digging:
1. It’s taller. What makes this model different than its competitive cousins is that instead of being short and squatty, it is built more vertically. What this means for me is that it takes up less counter space. Since it isn’t a huge space hog, I can leave out and it gets more use. The more I use it, the more money I save in the long run. Boomtown.
2. It’s intuitive. I’ll be honest, I only glanced at the directions before diving into using the vacuum sealer. Despite my lack of thoroughness, I figured it out very quickly. In fact, it was super easy! If you want a quick video tutorial, I found this one to be helpful.
3. It’s Simple. The buttons and lights on the top are super simple. I like that it is down the pipe and not confusing. When there are less options and features, there are less ways to screw something up. 🙂
4. Lastly, this is a bit vain but it’s just kind of cool and modern looking. When I think of a vacuum sealer, I think of something that looks like a boxy computer printer. Not the smooth, sleek, modernized look of the ICO Vacuum Sealer. I was pleasantly surprised at how pretty it is!
My hope is that this gives you some tracks to run on with how useful a vacuum sealer could be in your home AND which one you should put on your wish list.
You can grab one over at Amazon today!