What You Need to Know About Countertop Vacuum Sealers

Consumer Reports looks at which vacuum sealers give you the most value and keep your food preserved the best

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Summer’s fresh fruits and vegetables are available now, and maybe you’re looking for a way to keep those garden-fresh flavors longer. As Consumer Reports explains, a vacuum sealer can extend freshness and save you money when you’re freezing food.

Vacuum sealers help maintain the quality of frozen foods by limiting exposure to air, and that can help reduce waste.

Consumer Reports tested seven vacuum sealers ranging from $60 to $180. The devices work by removing the air from a bag, then fusing the top along a heated strip, creating an airtight seal.

From previous testing, Consumer Reports determined that vacuum sealing extends the life of food. In its most recent testing, it checked for how well the devices seal both dry and moist foods, how quickly and quietly they operate, and how easy they are to clean.

All of the vacuum sealers that Consumer Reports tested were excellent at sealing dry goods, but only four performed better at sealing foods with liquids, like meat marinades: the FoodSaver Multi-Use, the Hamilton Beach NutriFresh, the Black + Decker Premium Vacuum Sealer and the Anova Culinary Vacuum Sealer.

If you don’t have countertop or cabinet space for an extra appliance, you can still take advantage of the benefits of freezing. The key is to remove as much air as possible.

Your best bet is to emulate a vacuum sealer. What you need to do is squeeze as much air out of a plastic storage bag as you possibly can—or, better yet, wrap your food tightly in plastic wrap or foil before putting it in the bag.

And don’t worry if freezer burn does happen. It doesn’t make the meat unsafe to eat; it can change the taste, texture and appearance, however.

Another tip is to label bags before putting them in the freezer, and consume what you've frozen in reverse order so that nothing sits for too long.

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