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vacuum sealers

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  • vacuum sealers

    This isn't totally fishing related, but I now have alot of FISH that I need to pack away in the freezer. Last week I got a Food Saver model 475 (for $69 at Home Depot). I just tried to use it for some king salmon and my first impression is that it isn't a great piece of equipment. I decided to wait until later in the day to try again because it was loud, the motor kept going and neighbors were still asleep.

    My general question is: is this model a piece of junk, and should I upgrade to the $200 one while I can still bring it back? I haven't owned or used these before, and I'm looking for some advice from folks who have. Any comments are welcome.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  • #2
    Get the best one that you can afford. If you use it much it will pay for itself many times over. Try and get one with double pumps. Also, one that will do plenty of seals in a row without stopping. Some will only do 12 or 15 seals and you have to stop or burn out the heater.


    • #3
      food saver

      What Casper50 said.

      The more you use it, the happier you will be that you spent the money for a good one.


      • #4
        i finally upgraded to a comercial vacumm packer. i absolutely love it, but the price was very high.

        one suggestion for the drawn down sealers is to partially freeze the fish prior to sealing. the worst part of the food savers is the sealing, if any moisture gets in the seal, it won't give you a good seal.


        • #5
          I found out the one I had was defective, so I took it back. Now it works. I may have to upgrade if I get a moose though.
          "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey


          • #6
            Get the best. . .

            We put up about 100# of king, reds, and halibut a year plus veggies, and more. Get the very best you can afford. The more expensive Food Savers are okay. Cabela's sells different brand for about $400 that I think we'll try when our present Food Saver goes belly-up, which they will do after a number of seasons.

            Also, we pre-wrap our fish in plastic film before putting them into the freezer bags helps prevent moisture in the seal as noted in an above post.


            • #7
              moisture with fish

              I usually will place a piece of paper towel or napkin at the edge of the fish to form a barrier for the moisture. This allows the sealer to pull the vacuum and seal before moisture can get to the sealing area. Also, those pesky "pin" bones in fillets will puncture the bags occasionally. I end up pulling them with a pair of needle nose pliers a lot of times. Doing this is a pain, but also provides a truly boneless fillet.

              my $.02

              The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....


              • #8
                I agree with the above..

                With all of my fish, I wrap them in plastic wrap and freeze the fish for 1 night. This does two things... 1. it freezes the moisture/fat into the fish, so it doesn't get in the way of the seal. 2 If one of the pin bones pokes through the bag, the plastic wrap will save the meat until you notice it and can re-seal it. For this I usually double wrap it in plastic wrap.
                When all else fails...ask your old-man.



                • #9

                  I have the foodsaver pro 3 and love it. Hands-free so you can get the next package ready while one is sealing, and we did a whole moose non-stop with no problems. (other than sheer exhaustion on our part) It's filled my 23cf freezer twice and shows no sign of slowing down.

                  The dual-pump configuration someone mentioned sounds interesting. The foodsaver definitely is picky if you want full vacuum every time.

                  I do the pre-freeze thing, too, but a little differently. I "par-freeze" my fillets by sticking them in the freezer (in the vacuum bag) until just the outer layer is starting to harden and the fillet is just starting to stiffen. About half an hour in my freezer. Then pop it in the vacuum sealer and it's done. I don't know if it makes any real difference, but it just feels better knowing they're sealed from the air/oxidation before they freeze completely.

                  The papertowel idea is interesting, too. I'll have to try that one.


                  • #10
                    Been using the Tila Foodsaver Professional II for a couple of years now. Really like the automatic features of it when it comes to vacuming and sealing the bags.


                    • #11
                      proffesional II

                      we also have been using the proffesional II since 96 and we do at least a couple hundred pounds of salmon & a couple hundred pounds of halibut a year. only problem we had was the seal went out this year and we got a replacement for like 2 bucks. We also use the plastic wrap technique. tried the freezer for a couple hours thing but found that it takes longer than it's worth when you can just wrap it in freezer wrap real quick and no more moisture problems.


                      • #12
                        If you're Anchorage based, go to Alaska Butcher Supply in Mt. View and look at what they have. I've been tempted to buy a chamber unit but can't justify it. I bought a Magic Vac from them and find it better than my previous Food Saver. I don't have any particular gripe with Food Saver except their bags are awful compared to the other choices at Alaska Butcher Supply. Even if you like Food Saver, try better bags. You'll be pleased.


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