Foodsaver Mealsaver?

2ajsmamaOctober 7, 2010

I saw that some people here love their Foodsavers, and I thought it was a really good idea to make your own "boil-in" bags (Janet Chadwick's Busy Person's Guide...). But the appliance our discount store had for $20 doesn't use the heat-sealed bags, and they don't sell the bags, only canisters. Do you *have* to buy the bag with the valves (I believe Walmart has them), or is there a way to use the roll of plastic (I believe Walmart might also have those) to make your own bags? Thanks

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I visited the site you referenced above which sez

The FoodSaver� MealSaver� Compact Vacuum Sealing system is great for keeping your leftovers and other ready-to-eat foods fresh longer. With its compact, space-saving design, it fits easily on your countertop. The FoodSaver� MealSaver� system works with the new FoodSaver� Vacuum Zipper Bags and FoodSaver� Meal Containers.

Based on that, I'd say the rolls will not work -- it needs zipper bag or meal containers.

For $20, it might be worth a try. But I'd first find out how much those bags and containers are going to cost and can they be washed out and reused.

I love my foodsaver. I buy the rolls at Costco. Mine is an old model, but it keeps on vaccuum out all that air


    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 3:53PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree with what Kay posted. All the emails I have gotten from Foodsaver make it clear that that particular model only works with the special bags.

The full-size regular models of Foodsavers will work with various brands of rolls, bags, the boil n' bags, even canning jars. But those models are substantially more expensive - $150 and up.

We wouldn't know what to do without our full sized Foodsaver. Well worth the $200 investment. If you join the Foodsaver mailing list then they will send you notices of special deals on all their models.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 4:53PM
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I tried posting at 5pm, got an error. I grabbed the last Rival Seal a Meal on clearance ($37) at Walmart today when I was looking at bags. It looks like it uses the same rolls, but I don't understand how it would pull a vacuum. I don't want to have to use both - I was wondering if there was a way to seal the roll to make a bag using an iron, leaving a corner for the FS, then suck out as much air as I could, and seal the corner? I think Janet Chadwick mentioned doing something like that - I need to get my book back from my cousin.

Or is the Seal a Meal OK on its own? I haven't had a chance to open it and look at manual.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 6:06PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sorry but no personal experience with Seal A Meal for many years except to say that they aren't considered at all comparable to a Foodsaver. The bag material they use isn't comparable either - much thinner and more prone to freezer burn.

Hopefully the manual will answer your questions.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 7:01PM
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I have used both the Foodsaver system and the Ziploc Vacuum bags from the grocery store. The Ziploc bags require you get their little suction, tubie, bicycle pump looking thing in the start-up kit. Here are the differences:

Ziploc system:
1. uses much less counter space and work to just seal up left-overs.
2. can be washed out and reused.
3. can be opened, stuff added or removed, and then resealed.

FoodSaver/Seal-a-meal system:
1. extra power for REALLY sucking out all the air when you want to store meats, long term.
2. creates its own bag size, depending on your needs, sealing the bottom of a bag, each time you cut off the new length, no iron required.
3. a problem I had with it is that you need a heck of a empty space beyond the food in order to allow for the heating element to come down and do it's thing. So to cut a bag open and then reseal it after you've taken some stuff out, is really not a practical option.
I would love for someone to correct me on this if you've found a way around that limitation.

I use the FoodSaver for long term storage of serious things (really good meats, etc.) and the Ziploc vacuum bags with the sucking pump for daily use. I love freezing peeled bananas and being able to pull some out for a shake, then resealing it, sucking the air out, and popping it back it the freezer.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 7:12PM
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Another thing...
The FoodSaver manual says that using an iron or other heating element to seal (or create) bags is not recommended. I didn't believe them (I'm such a doubting Thomasina) until I had several bag seals fail because I didn't allow the heating element enough time to recover, etc. Even a small section that doesn't completely seal can be a serious problem due to leaks and bacteria.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 7:19PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Jean - which Foodsaver model are you using? We have the 3270. Note in the photo how close one can get to the food for sealing.


Here is a link that might be useful: FS 3270

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 8:30PM
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Thanks everyone. I looked at the Seal a Meal manual and it doesn't say much but I don't see why you couldn't use FS rolls unless the roll is too long (doesn't say size, I think FS is 8"). It does say let it rest 20secs in between and if doing 30 or more bags at once let it cool down 25 minutes after the 30th or so bag. The bags included in the box do seem to be pretty thick.

The FS website doesn't say you can use the Zipper bags for long-term storage in the freezer, even though they say in the Mealsaver manual to put perishables in the "refrigerator or freezer". Since we are specifically looking for a way to freeze our produce and meat without freezer burn (Tupperware freezer containers don't cut it, and I used to sell them!), I think I'm going to keep the Seal a Meal, try it out with some chicken I bought today, and return it in a month if the chicken looks like it's freezer burnt. That might not be enough time to tell, but that's Walmart's return policy.

Jean - the Seal a Meal says 3inches. I don't know if FS is the same.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2010 at 8:47PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I have the Seal A Meal, and a Food Saver but don't use them for the same purposes.

The Seal A Meal is wonderful for things like soups, stews, sauces, pot roast with gravy you'd like to freeze for quick hot beef sandwiches....pressing most of the air out of the bag as you position it to seal. It's great for packaging things in small portions for my Mom who seldom cooks any more - keeps her away from more highly processed easy foods.

I don't use it for raw meats, berries, fruits....I don't see the advantage over zip lock bags there for my own freezer and would use the zip locks if I didn't have the vacuum sealer too.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 12:11PM
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Couldn't do w/o my FoodSaver and use a minimum of 600 times a year. Started years ago with the VAC 350. Presently use the V2830 and bought the V3480 as a backup when Jarden closed it out last year. (still unopened in the box) Not a big fan of their canisters (except for marinating) because they lose their vacuum after only a few days. Tried cheaper brand bags and the FoodSaver bags are far superior. I do double seal them though. Figure at least 3.5" of the bag length for sealing. (double sealing does not use any more of the bag) My last two models include a vacuum hose that can be used for sucking the air out of a ziploc bag using just your fingers around the bag and tube while creating a vacuum. (and used for sucking the air out of the cannisters)

Some things such as fish fillets and chopped veggies I freeze on a cookie sheet and spray on a couple coats of water before vac sealing. Even two year old fish tastes fresh this way with the FoodSaver.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 12:42PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)

Hey, john! Long time no hear.

Question for you: why spray water on your fish and chopped veggies before freezing?

Z, hoping Santa brings her a Food Saver this year....

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 2:57PM
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Kay emailed me and recommended just saving up for a "real" Foodsaver. So I'm going to return the Seal a Meal and forget about the MealSaver too. I don't need a way to keep leftovers longer. I'm just trying to do better than Tupperware for frozen meats and Ziploc bags for berries and produce. Thanks everyone (Dave, I'll see if I can get on FS mailing list for sales, thanks for that tip).

    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 10:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Good plan. You'll be much happier with the results. There is a sale on right now with free shipping offered on some models. The Sign Up is at the bottom of this page.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2010 at 11:10PM
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> Question for you: why spray water on your fish and chopped veggies before freezing?

Hi Zabby,

Always good to find you here!

Ice fills up those little nooks and crannies where air normally hides. I slice a lot of peppers in half, remove seeds and often dice before vac sealing. Freeze one pkg w/o the ice coating and one pkg with. Compare the two after a year in the freezer.

I hope Santa is good to you this year!


    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 8:19AM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

ajsmama, I got my FoodSaver with a coupon at Costco but deals can be found other places if you are paying attention.

In the meantime, do you ever butcher wrap raw meats, fish in paper? Freezer paper, plastic coated or waxed on one side, found in rolls of about 100' in your grocery store for those specials you want to take advantage of or available in commercial sized rolls at paper products places (and at Costco).
I love my FoodSaver, but I can still butcher wrap an entire beef (s) or elk as well as any butcher, and have - on many occasions.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 11:14AM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


Great pix! You are not making it easy for me to wait till Christmas! I just bought a 3/4-bushel hamper of sweet peppers to freeze (have only enough of my own for fresh eating) but these will have to go in ziplocs.


I decided the same thing.

I'm thinking about this model, which is a lower-end one that doesn't have the fancier features like automatic cutting of bags or an integrated place to store the bags, but doesn't take up too much space or cost too much.

P.S. My dad used to use a straw to suck air out of Ziplocs full of stuff to be frozen. He'd zip up almost all of the seal and then slip the straw in, suck out the air, then pinch the straw and slip it out and zip up the spot where it had been real quick. I do it sometimes, mostly because it makes me smile to remember him doing that; I can't say for sure whether it helps. The bag does flatten around the edges and cling tightly around the stuff. But I find Ziploc seals don't tend to be airtight for long.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 3:57PM
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I signed up!

Zabby - that looks like a good one, but $100 is still a lot. Of course, if you add up what we've spent taking the kids to carnivals and fairs this year (just went to another one yesterday)...Wouldn't you know, it's a penny under the threshold for free shipping!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 4:21PM
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zabby17(z5/6 Ontario)


Agreed it's a lot of money. I'll be saving up for it.

And taking kids to carnivals and fairs is important, too! I took my niece and nephew to the 175th annual town fair in my town and, despite being jaded kids from the big suburbs, they had a ball.

I do know freezing food purchased fresh saves me money, and I hope the foodsaver roll plastic works out cheaper than all the brand-name freezer bags I go through (the cheap ones just aren't sturdy enough or seal well enough I find), though I can't tell that for sure.

I thought I might buy a roll of plastic when I ordered to put the purchase over $100....


    Bookmark   October 11, 2010 at 10:19AM
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Hi folks,

Has anyone had an FS in heavy use for a good number of years? I am wondering about their longevity, before buying one of the more expensive models.

    Bookmark   May 22, 2012 at 7:11AM
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