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Thomas G posted a topic in CR PracticeI know there is a cool tools thread, but I don't want to add this there because I take it that that is a place for tried and tested tools. This seems like a very new and untested tool, but one that could be potentially very cool: It sounds a little too good to be true. Has anyone tried anything like this? Does it really work? It certainly could come in very handy.
Dean Pomerleau posted a topic in CR PracticeFoodSaver Vacuum Sealer w/ Wide Mouth Vacuum Jar Attachment [Note: this product is highlighted in a post to the Cool CR Tools thread. This thread here is for discussions of vacuum sealing in general, and questions comments about this product if anyone has any. - Dean] I've got the VacuVin wine saver vacuum pump that Zeta recommends here, and it works fine for sealing bottles, but I find the narrow spouts on bottles to be a pain for storing anything but liquids - like when I used to consume olive oil (replaced with nuts these days). But a better solution for me has been a FoodSaver vacuum sealer with wide mouth mason jar attachment and accessory hose (not shown below). I use the sealer with bags to seal lots of different things like frozen fruits and fresh frozen corn (still on cob) harvested in the summer / fall and frozen so I can consume them throughout the winter. I've got about 50 lbs of wild blackberries in my freezer now that I harvested at the end of summer from bushes near my house. I expect them to last me until next summer's crop! I also seal frozen fruit I buy at Costco in bulk since everything keeps much better and never get freezer burn when sealed in vacuum bags then it does in the bags the frozen fruit comes in. I don't eat bread myself, but I buy it for my family and when it is on sale I buy several loaves, freeze all but one, and then vacuum seal the loaves in bags and pop them in the freezer. Once frozen they can be sealed without getting crushed. Then I never have to worry about my family running out of bread before the next shopping trip. As a consumable, the vacuum bags are a bit of a pain, but they aren't expensive if you buy them by the 50' x 11.5" wide roll rather than individually, and I often rinse them out and reuse them (stingy curmudgeon that I am ). The mason jar attachment (with hose adapter - which should be included but they sell separately...) is key for me to get the full value from the sealer. I only buy the wide mouth jars (which are the most common canning jars you see). You can buy large, wide mouth mason jars on Amazon (here is the link), but you may be able to get them for less locally. What do I seal in the jars? Lots of things. Coffee beans, all kinds of teas, nuts (although I keep most of them in freezer), dried herbs (homegrown and store bought). One interesting thing to seal in mason jars is peeled garlic. You can buy peeled garlic cloves quite cheaply at the grocery store, often for less than the cost per lb of unpeeled garlic, which is crazy. The problem is that it is only sold in large amounts (e.g. 8oz), and since it is peeled, it doesn't normally stay fresh very long, so you end up throwing a lot of it out. But sealed in a mason jar and stored in the fridge, peeled garlic lasts a month or two without noticeable loss of freshness, and I always have it on hand, without the hassle of having to peel it. So for CR practitioners who are keen on freshness and saving money by buying in bulk, I highly recommend a vacuum sealing system. I've been happy with FoodSaver, but there are several other brands as well. Nesco makes one that is highly rated, and perhaps a little less expensive, but I haven't been able to find a mason jar attachment for it. The adapter hose from the FoodSaver doesn't fit the Nesco sealer. Does anyone else have experience with or novel uses of vacuum sealing systems? --Dean