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Surprisingly Useful Ways to Use a Vacuum Sealer

My FoodSaver vacuum sealer is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I vacuum seal fresh fruit to extend its useful life by at least two weeks, often much longer. I vacuum seal meat before I freeze it so it can last up to 3 years (yes, three!) and still taste fresh, flavorful, and freezer-burn free. Prep ahead meals and leftovers stored in the fridge will stay fresh up to weeks later instead of spoiling in days when vacuum sealed. I store salad greens for weeks in vacuum-sealed mason jars.

I could go on and on about how my FoodSaver saves our food bill, but today I want to tell you the useful ways I use a FoodSaver that have nothing to do with food!

 

A group of items on a table

Convenience

I’ve learned through trial and error that for my vacuum sealer to work at maximum efficiency it must be handy. It cannot be stuck in a cupboard or on a pantry shelf. If I have to make the smallest effort to get it out and plug it in, I stop using it because I forget, or it’s such a hassle I skip using it “just this one time.”

My FoodSaver has to sit on the counter with nothing obstructing it—always plugged in and ready to go. And the bags have to be equally handy. I keep them in the drawer immediately below the counter where FoodSaver resides.

Reusing bags

When sealing items I know I will use repeatedly (take hamburger buns for example—I seal a dozen, but then open it to remove the number I need and reseal the bag) make sure to start with a larger-than-necessary pouch the first time. This way, you can open by cutting off the seal, and then reseal at least another time or two.

If you’re storing dry goods (not food), simply reuse a bag for another item if it becomes too small for your original intended use. They don’t have to be trashed after one use. You can also wash bags and dry thoroughly to use for other food storage.

Jewelry

If you do not wear it regularly, vacuum seal your jewelry—costume as well as finer pieces. It keeps these precious possessions clean, sparkling, and at their peak of beauty. And when you’re ready to wear a piece, no polishing or cleaning required. It’s ready to go.

I use a mason jar and the FoodSaver jar sealer for my jewelry. It’s easy to pop off the lid, and then quickly re-seal.

 

Seal and Vacuum

Silver

I vacuum-seal anything that tarnishes that I do not use on a daily basis, such as sterling silver flatware, silver trays, and bowls. By removing the air, the items do not tarnish because the enemy (oxygen) has been locked out. This protects my silver things from harsh polishes and protects my time. I hate to polish silver but not as much as I used to!


A printer sitting on a tableFoodSaver Vacuum Sealing Machine and Starter Kit

This FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System helps keep food fresh longer. The system removes air, one of the main causes of mold and food spoilage, from bags and creates an airtight seal to lock in freshness. Used consistently, it pays for itself in no time!


Coins

All of my commemorative and other collectible coins are safely vacuum sealed. This protects their integrity and collectible value. Because the bags are clear and I seal them in a single layer, their beauty remains visible.

Vacuum and FoodSaver

Photographs

I have precious, antique photos sealed for protection. Note: I do not vacuum the air out with photos, however. Instead, I use only the seal function. The vacuuming process can cause the transfer of the photo to the plastic. Instead, I press out as much air as possible and then press “Seal.”


FoodSaver and JarFoodSaver Vacuum Sealer Wide-Mouth and Regular Jar Kit 

Turns any mason-type jar into a rigid, airtight “canister” using a FoodSaver. To use, place the item to be vacuum packaged inside the mason jar, place the mason jar lid on top of the jar, push the Jar Sealer down firmly until it covers the entire rim of the jar, insert one end of the accessory port onto the FoodSaver appliance and the other end on top of the sealer, then vacuum seal. 


Documents

Open oxygen is the enemy of old paper, especially newsprint. By sealing family heirlooms, birth certificates, precious documents—even newspaper and magazine clippings—I’m protecting their longevity.

 

Vacuum and FoodSaver

Waterproof

I use my FoodSaver to create waterproof pouches for money, maps, matches and more for camping or emergencies.

Passports

I vacuum seal our passports before putting them into the safe. This keeps them dry and mold-free (lots of moisture can show up inside a locked and sealed safe, which is why just about everything in our safe is vacuum-sealed).

 

Vacuum and FoodSaver

Ammo

Ammunition needs to be kept dry. There is no better way to do that than with a FoodSaver. Vacuum sealing removes the oxygen and keeps moisture out. A simple way to do this is to take a FoodSaver bag and fill it with ammo and then vacuum seal it. Follow these instructions. Store it in your bug out bag or ammo cans.

First published: 7-10-19; Updated 2-27-20

If you have a vacuum sealing machine, how do you use it to save food and other things, too? 


Next Up

My Favorite Kitchen Money-Savers

Smart Gifts for College-Bound Grads and Young Professionals

Dinner-in-a-Box is Not What I Thought

19 Hobby Lobby Money-Saving Hacks, Tips, and Tricks


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9 replies
  1. Cailin Whitney says:

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    Reply
  2. Debbie Buckingham says:

    Mary, I have recently purchased a foodsaver. I had a very old one that didn’t work well. I got a “new” one with the hose applicator. I would like to purchase the canning lid sealer but I was wondering if you can reuse the lids that you have sealed with after using them once.

    Reply
    • Mary Hunt says:

      Yes, absolutely reusable. Be careful prying a lid from a sealed jar so it doesn’t get bent, and you’ll be able to reuse them many times.

      Reply
  3. Terri says:

    Mary – Your suggestions/ideas are usually spot on and I appreciate them so much, but your advice on using a food saver for family heirloom preservation raised some red flags to this family history enthusiast, so I checked with an archivist friend, and this was her response. “As for using a food saver to preserve family heirlooms, photographs, etc. I would say absolutely not. The plastic that is used is not archival in anyway. It’s like you should never laminate anything either. The chemicals in the plastic can off gas and cause major damage to anything it comes in contact with. Also, the amount of force that a food saver machine puts out can literally crush some things and even damage photos. I would stay very far away from this idea as a form of records or artifact preservation. “

    Reply
  4. Carolyn says:

    It would be great if you could put model names/numbers in your articles instead of just the link (which is blocked by my security software). For this article, I’m having trouble figuring out which of the many FoodSaver models available you are actually talking about or recommending.

    Reply
  5. Mary Matthews says:

    Mary – I will frequently vacuum seal small items (pantyhose, jewelry, makeup – anything that will compress or get “lost” in my luggage) when I travel or go camping. It’s amazing how much space you can save!

    Reply
  6. Gina Stevens says:

    Mary, I’ll be one of the first to read your memoir. I know it will be educational, full of good ideas and hilarious!

    Reply

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