August 6, 2022

Review: Does this $200 kitchen appliance prevent freezer burn?

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I admit that cooking sous vide (French for “sous vide”) – the process of sealing food in an airtight bag, then submerging it in a water bath at a precise temperature – is a little beyond my level of patience in the kitchen. But sous vide sealers aren’t just for sous vide cooking: they’re also useful for preventing freezer burn, especially if you like to buy proteins and other ingredients in bulk and store them on ice until cold. whatever you need.

The new FoodSaver VS2100 vacuum sealer ($200, canadiantire.ca), for example, claims it can keep foods frozen up to five times longer than traditional freezer bags. I recently tested one for myself, and here’s what I found.

It is flexible for a variety of foods. Included with my FoodSaver was an 11-inch roll of vacuum plastic (although the extras that come with the product vary by retailer). The roll is open at both ends, so you can customize each bag to suit your needs. It fits into the storage tray, where you can measure how much plastic you’ll need for, say, a few cobs of corn, before sliding the cutter bar across the sheet to separate your bag, then seal a end. This means you will always have the right size bag for your food.

There is a learning curve. Having never used a vacuum sealer before, I found it a bit difficult to get started with the FoodSaver. On my first try, the vacuum function didn’t seal my bag of blueberries – not even close. And while it sucked in air on my second attempt, the bag inflated again as soon as the suction stopped. The solution: I needed to place the bag in the device the right way – deep enough, but not too deep. Finding that sweet spot every time can be frustrating.

The VS2100 has three buttons: vacuum, seal, and wet/dry. When you press “vac”, your bag is supposed to be automatically sealed as soon as it’s done. I found that to be true only sometimes; after trying to store cherry tomatoes, i opened the unit, only to have them all come out. To be sure, I press “seal” again after the original process is complete. (When it’s done isn’t obvious: there’s no noise and the sight glass is small.) Once I figured out the FoodSaver, though, it was a lot simpler, and vacuum sealing the Chicken breasts and ground beef was a breeze.

It certainly helps prevent freezer burn. When I sealed my batches of blueberries, cherry tomatoes, chicken breasts, and ground beef, I also stored the same types of foods in freezer bags so I could compare. After only a week and a half, ice crystals had already started forming around all of the freezer bagged food; vacuum sealed items were completely clear and looked cooler and more vibrant. Freezer burn is basically the dehydration of food caused by exposure to cold, dry air, so it makes sense that removing as much air as possible would do the trick.

It is ideal for families. Although the FoodSaver VS2100 is slightly more compact and more affordable than the company’s other full-size models, it’s not a must-have if you typically only cook for one, unless you frequently sous vide. If your household is larger and you tend to buy a lot of food with the intention of freezing it, a vacuum sealer might be useful for you. Storing food will take a little more time and effort, but you will see the difference.

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