Vacuum VS. freezer ziplock

calm1(6)February 19, 2011

Hello All,

We freeze a lot of stuff every year in ziplock freezer bags, such as;

Peppers 12 varieties



Garlic cloves

Green beans 4 varieties

Plum tomatoes

Chopped onion



Broccoli lots

Brussel sprouts


Our question is would it make sense to buy a vacuum sealing unit to do this rather than buying ziplock freezer bags?

If so what do you folks recommend?

Do they protect against freezer burn?

Do they "smash" things like whole strawberries or tomatoes?

The main question is money wise, do the "bags" in the vacuum system end up saving money compared to ziplock freezer bags?



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Forgot to ask,
What about "liquids" salsa, stock, & anything else?

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 2:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Liquids and vacuum sealing don't get along with each other so you'd need another option for liquids. ;) What I do is first freeze the liquid in portion sized containers and then remove it from the container and vacuum pack it.

But vacuum sealing of solid foods for freezing beats Ziplock type freezer bags hands down. There really is no comparison in the resulting food quality and the freezer storage life of the two. Vacuum packed foods have 2-3x the storage life.

Foodsaver is the brand of vacuum sealer I use and I'll link some of the many previous discussions about them for you below. Scroll down to the long one about "recommendations".

There are better models of vacuum sealers available but they are also 2-3x the price of the average Foodsaver. If you Google 'vacuum sealer' you find several different brands to explore.

Hope this helps.


Here is a link that might be useful: Foodsaver discussions

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 2:34PM
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Thanks Dave,
I will check out the link, now I need to take care of my green babies, you understand!!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 3:18PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

There really isn't any comparison as far as I am concerned. If there is a liquid issue, I put a piece of paper towel in my bag or I freeze it first and then seal it. I have a foodsaver I think the number is something like V3840 and I use it almost every day. I just this very morning broke down two packages of porkchops that I bought for $1.00 per pound into separate meal sized packages.

My advice to anyone who owns one is to find a place on your counter to put it so that you have quick and easy access ....I found that if I have to go to the pantry or the cupboard to get it and plug it in etc etc.I'll just grab a baggie and they just don't do the job.'

I vac seal even my lettuce because it will stay fresh in the fridge for what seems like forever.....You will love it.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 4:30PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Ruthie, really, you vac seal lettuce? And it doesn't mash it?

I've been using the Debbie green bags and feeling like I get a little more 'mileage' with those, I hadn't thought about the Vac sealer. How tightly do you seal? In bags or the cannisters? OK, lotsa questions :)

(and good to see you posting, I hadn't noticed you around for a while and had thought about you)

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 4:47PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

I use the cannister jars or the quart mason jars and my canister sealer......It's easy and keeps it fresher so much longer.....I've used the green bags too but vac sealing is better.

Thanks for missing me. The Lung Cancer just about kicked my but however I am feeling much better and looking forward to garden and canning season. Feeling some of my energy return... I pop in often just haven't had much to contribute. I'm trying to finish off some green beans from year before last....

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 5:16PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Thanks, I haven't been in the habit of using the cannisters that came with the new model, I didn't have them with my older sealer....will have to start trying to remember them.

You don't have to contribute, just pop in enough to stay in touch! I haven't canned much (clams only) since Fall myself, I can't seem to find a weekend to take care of some raw tuna in my freezer :( It's wrapped like a mummy so I know OK but I'd like to get it out of the way and off my mind.

I'm glad you're feeling OK!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 7:12PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Ruthie, I am glad you are around again. Just say hi when you pop in !
Oh, I gave up on my vacuum sealer, and went to some heavy twist tie bags I ordered in bulk online. I am happy with them. Cheaper, too.
I do agree about the vacuum sealer and lettuce, though. It really does work with the canisters. Milk lasts longer too, that way. I got lazy and got tired of opening and resealing the canisters.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2011 at 8:04PM
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Zipper freezer bags didn't work well for me. Freezer burn and icicles were common in my experience, even with twin zippers. I store all fruit/veggies that are to be frozen for more than a few days (with the exception of peppers), in vacuum bags. Softer pre-treated foods that I want to keep most of their original shape, like carrots, and squish-able foods such as berries, are first frozen on cookie sheets then put in vacuum bags. All peppers - raw/frozen and roasted/frozen - keep their flavor quite well, stored in zipper type freezer bags for a year (but at least for Jalapenos, a year and a half :)

A good vacuum sealer is a definite money saver for freezing produce from the garden, keeping jars of dehydrated fruits/veggies in prime condition, and for re-packaging perishables such as meat and cheese etc. well as for long-term dry storage of items such as rice and beans. I have the Professional ll model FoodSaver brand that has gotten big workouts for more than 10 years now, and is still going strong. If you decide to invest in one, buy a quality brand and buy quality bags or rolls.

morz8, I have used the green bags and boxes for produce for many years and wouldn't be without them. Done right, some things last 3-4X longer than they would without. For instance, to keep cilantro: #1. Take a green 'box' (don't see why a a green bag wouldn't work too) in which a bunch of cilantro will fit in, and not be too crowded. #2. Line it with a paper towel and leave excess at the top of box, like a flap. #3 With the cilantro still bundled, chop a bit off the ends to refresh it. #4. Hold the bunch securely and remove the tie. #5. Nestle the cilantro in the container within the folds of the paper towel, (place another paper towel on top if necessary to surround the cilantro). Remove strands of cilantro and wash to use as needed. Every time you use some, check the paper towel(s). If it becomes soggy, change it out for a dry one. Keeps for 2-3 weeks.. maybe longer. Leafy produce keeps best wrapped in a paper towel before putting in a green bag. When the green bags are no longer considered useful for produce, the older bags are used for homemade sourdough bread, until they get holes!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2011 at 8:08PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


I am a recent convert to the vacuum sealer.

I too used to use a lot of ziploc bags, but found they just didn't keep out the air long no matter how carefully I evacuated them. The places where I noticed a freezer-burned taste most were meats and baked goods, and the more delicate fruits like strawberries.

Following advice from my good buddies here on the forum, I spent a bit more on a FoodSaver brand-name machine, waiting till I saw one on sale.

(They come on sale REGULARLY. If you go to their website at, you can sign up to get e-mail alerts and they'll let you know when there is a sale. Every few months there's usually a chance to get a machine at 25 go 50% off, so I wouldn't pay full price unless you are in a big hurry.)

The FoodSaver bags DO cost more than Ziplocs. I did the math and it depends of course on how many you buy at once (cheaper to stock up), etc. But by and large they cost about 2x as much. HOWEVER, I tried some from Sweet Attack, the online source Dave recommended for cheaper bags, and find they work just as well. They bring the cost down to be about the same as Ziplocs.

Also, like Ziplocs, I find that the foodsaver bags (both brand-name and the cheaper ones from Sweet Attack) can be reused if you rinse them out. Unless I've used them for meat or some very staining fruit, I rinse them and put them over a wooden spoon or something to dry, then re-use. They get a bit smaller each time, as you have to cut off the sealed end. But I find even the ones only a few inches long useful for freezing portions of herbs, etc. (My husband teases me about my homemade "ketchup packs.")

I don't have the canisters for non-frozen, softer stuff like others use, but I do vacuum seal my expensive cheeses---old cheddar and a block of parmesan---it keeps from molding or drying out practically forever in the fridge that way. When I've used some, I reseal it in the same bag; the bag is now smaller, but so is the cheese! ;-)

One thing to remember is that with the Ziplocs, you can take out some and put back the rest. So where I used to put two quarts of blueberries or a 2-lb bag of shrimp into one big gallon bag, I now break things up into more like the portions I'm likely to use.

Good luck with your green babies!


Here is a link that might be useful: Cheap Foodsaver Bags at Sweet Attack

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 7:32AM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

If I have a bunch of shrimp, I will portion them out in dinner sized portions and then put them all in a Food Saver bag.....I make the bag long enough that it can be closed several times. Or I seal them separately in food saver and put them all together in a big zip lock so they stuff is all together in the freezer...That works great for asparagus too. Remember also with foodsaver where liquid is concerned, you can suction the air out to any point that you are happy with, when you see the liquid rising up to high and just hit the seal button and the suction stops.

If I am freezing something in a bag that I am or might take only a portion out, and it's something that won't make using it again impossible, I cut the bag a little longer than necessary. Can you tell I am crazy about my food saver. I paid just a bit over $100 for mine because I waited for it to come on sale. If you go and sign up for the newsletter, they will notify you of all sales. The canning jars work just as well as the cannisters.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 1:40PM
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ruthieg__tx(z8 TX)

The vac sealing point I was trying to make seems a little obscure so here is what I was trying to say..

When you vacuum seal can vacuum the bag until the machine starts to seal on it's own.......or as soon as it caresses (nice word huh? the berries but isn't crushing them, you hit the seal button so the berry (s) are snugly sealed but not squished.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 2:28PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


I love mine too! I also put some things in extra-long bags so there'll be enough even if I cut them open and remove some. Though usually there is more room since there is now less of the food in there, if you see what I mean. ;-)

And I also love using just the sealer to re-close chip and cereal packages....


    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 10:04PM
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Note: I'm reposting this in another thread because I accidentally posted in an old thread. Please don't accuse me of spamming/cross posting.

Ok, I've read more than I ever thought I would about Foodsavers and I definitely want to try one out.
There's someone on Craigslist who is selling a V850 for $60 and it comes with a few canisters. If I go to check this thing out, what should I look for?
From what I've read, I might rather have the ball Jar attachment than the canisters but if the canisters have cracks are they visible?

I bought a Vac350 at a yard sale last week and the vacuum seems to work but it never shuts off and it never heats up. Well that was $2 wasted! :D

Not sure what features are essential either. I think I'd use it for everything: fish, shrimp, berries, garden harvest, bulk purchases....


    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 2:12PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


That sounds like a lot of money for an 850 to me---it's only $99 brand-new on Amazon, with canisters AND the Ball jar sealer.

But if the Craigslist seller got that same combo, it might include the Ball jar sealer. You can ask. It is possible to buy one of those separately later, though---it will connect to the same hole as the cannisters do.

It does look like a nice little unit---has a built-in bag cutter. (Mine doesn't--I bought a photo cutter for cutting bags.)

The one important thing you want to look for is whether it works! Be sure to see it in action & check the seal on a bag once it's done.

If the canisters have cracks, you'll probably be able to tell that, too---wait a bit after trying one and then listen when you open it.

Good luck! I love my Foodsaver.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 3:19PM
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Thanks Zabby, I already told the seller that $60 sounded too high for that model (after looking on Ebay). I also asked about the jar sealer but don't have an answer yet. Of course I'll check if it works! I've already got a $2 non-working one here...

After reading some posts, I'm wondering if I couldn't get the $2 one working. It might just be that the inner seal is not tight and the machine never gets the signal to stop vacuuming and start sealing.

Other than the bag cutter, what do the new fancified models do that this one doesn't? I can't see much difference in them.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 5:28PM
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Also, is there a way to "subscribe" to this thread so that I get an email notice of any responses? Or do I have to just keep coming back and refreshing the page?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 5:31PM
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John - I think only the OP can get email updates (and you have to choose that option when you start the thread).

As far as your $2 bargain - are you sure you are pulling a good vacuum? My new one has trouble occasionally if I don't get the open end of the bag right in the drip tray, but then I notice that it's not really sucking any air out of the bag either. It will seal sometimes without really getting a good vacuum, so I don't know why your sealing strip isn't getting hot. Have you tried it without using the vacuum feature (like to cut a length off a roll and seal 1 end b4 filling)? Does it work then?

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 11:17AM
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"I think only the OP can get email updates (and you have to choose that option when you start the thread). "

Hmmm, that's awkward.

It sure looks like it's sucking all the air out of a bag when I try it. I tried it with a few articles in a bag and it sucked the plastic bag tight all around the items.
I have tried just sealing a bag but the strip doesn't heat up then either.
Having done more reading, I'm wondering if there's not air still getting into the system from somewhere else along with what's sucked out of the bag. I haven't had time to take the unit apart though and may never go that route.

How long should it take to vacuum a bag and seal it under normal circumstances?


    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 9:23PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


If the strip won't heat up when you push "seal," then I think the heater isn't working either. You should be able to make it stop vacuuming and start heating any time you want by pressing "seal" (if you are sealing things like bread that can get smushed by the strong vacuum, or things that are moist such that liquid starts to get sucked out, you sometimes want to cut off the vacuuming a bit early this way). One bonus feature I love about my FS is that I can use JUST "seal" to reclose things like chip and cookie bags.

P.S. I have only had one model, I think it's a 2240---it looks a lot like the 850 picture but I have no bag cutter. The fancier ones seem to mostly have convenience: bag storage, upright design to save counter space. Some have an automatic bag "feeder" function, where I guess instead of placing the bag end in and closing the lid you slip it into a slot and it is fed in the right amount. But I knew I DIDN'T want that (I would have paid extra to AVOID it, lol)---that kind of thing always seems to be fussy and to break first in a machine.

Does the 850 have "hands free"? Some of the really basic ones I guess you have to hold it down while the vacuum is vacuuming. With mine you close the lid and pull a little locking lever, then push the "vacuum & seal" or the "seal" buttons.

Good luck!

P.S. Do be sure to check out the SweetAttack site in earlier posts for cheaper bags. The brand-name FS ones are pricey. But with cheap bags you can really save $$ with this thing by putting up food when it's in season and on sale and still having it be top-quality.

You do need to make sure the seal is perfect. I've had a few bags of things lose their seal and get freezer burn because I hadn't noticed there was a TINY wrinkle in the bag opening when I sealed it---the air sucks out and the package looks totally vacuumed, but a few days later it's all loose and full of air. Every time this happens I look carefully and can find the little wrinkle. Some of the folks here say they double-seal, just in case, and their failure rate then is pretty much zero. I'm thinking to start doing that for meats or fruits that I know I'll be keeping for a while.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:13AM
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Thanks Zabby,
The only machine I've messed with so far is my $2 v350. That one is pretty basic and only has an "on" button which I'm supposed to press and hold down til the process is done. (that's why I was asking how long the process takes)

Thanks for the bag source tip though I'll need to get a working machine first...

Here in Charleston I catch my own fish and shrimp and have friends that give me venison and sometimes wild pig. I'll have a lot of use for the food saver, I think. The double seal sounds like a smart idea.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:28PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


Usually five to fifteen seconds.


    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 8:39PM
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Geez, Foodsaver just put the V3020 on sale for $50 with free shipping if you use code D1FV50A.
I can't find any reviews on that model but I gather the upright models with "hands free" operation waste a couple inches of bag every time you seal it.
Anyone here with experience with that model? Should I start a new thread on this?

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 5:13PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

localhero, the "hands free" just seems to mean that you don't have to keep the button pressed--it senses when the vacuum is good an stops itself. It's the feeder mechanism (can't remember what they call it) that wastes some bag, and that I suspect of being fussy.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 8:23PM
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I think the wasted bag issue comes because the vacuum port is spaced farther away from the sealing strip so that you end up with 2" of extra bag on the "wrong" side of the seal. I figure some of that can be used to double seal a bag if desired.
I ordered one of the v3020 units so I'll find out!
Thanks for the answers!

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 9:59PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

Please come back and tell us how it goes!


    Bookmark   April 15, 2011 at 9:40PM
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