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I got a FoodSaver for Christmas.  I am really thrilled with this gift so far.  I got it so I could cook sous-vide, but haven't gotten around to that part yet.  What I have gotten around to is vacuum sealing things for the freezer.  I sealed poached shrimp, raw oysters in their juice, chicken with marinades, steak with marinade. I am really not a fan of food waste so I think I will probably seal a lot of other things for preservation.  I have the attachment hose for use with jars, but haven't used it yet.

So far without the liquid block bag I will admit the oysters were a real challenge, but I finally got it done, the other things sealed relatively easy.  I thought we should start a thread for recipes of things you have vacuum sealed and thought preserved well, tips, tricks, recommendations, etc.  

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This seems a good a place to post this as any, but I've been wondering about the safety of cooking food in plastic. Considering all we're hearing about BPA and other chemicals that leach out of plastic, how is boiling in it still considered a thing? I love my food saver, but my wife wouldn't get near something I cooked in a bag (although I don't think I'd care. I do much more harm to my body with other things I ingest).

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From Food saver, but only for their bags:

Jarden Consumer Solutions is diligent in our efforts to ensure that our products are compliant with all industry standards, including the regulations set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Health Canada.
In response to your inquiry, none of our FoodSaver® branded bags, rolls or canisters contains Bisphenol A.

A good article on the subject: 

"Cooking Sous-Vide: Plastic Safety" on nomnompaleo.com

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I still haven't used my sous vide yet.  I need to get on it. I thought it was an interesting article, that cited some other articles with more information.  In some ways I feel kind of like - I am going to die of something so F it type of person, but then another part of me does care about not wanting to pollute the environment, and not to do things to overtly harm myself.  For instance I do really worry about the amount of pesticides and antibiotics and hormones I eat in meat, etc.  I don't know why I care so much about some things and not about others.  I guess I feel like it would be overwhelming to worry about it all, so I try to make good decisions when I can (having said this after eating delivery that came in foam containers and I am sure was not antibiotic free meat and probably in some way supported the palm oil industry).  

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I have a food saver too. Anything that I put in the freezer for long term storage gets vacuum sealed. Not doing sous vide, maybe someday.

If I want to seal liquids, I freeze them in a container first, then pop them out of the container and into a food saver bag to vacuum seal. For raw poultry and beef (items where liquids may cause a problem with sealing) I put the items in the bag & have the bagged items hanging off the counter top while running the vacuum sealer. This helps prevent the liquids from creeping into the unit and stopping a seal. Think I first read about both of these tips on eGullet.

Also useful if you buy a large container of almond paste (or something else that will last a long time... if it doesn't dry out first). When I purchase a few pounds of almond paste, I parcel it out into 8 ounce portions and seal the individual portions & tuck them in the fridge for later use.

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I have been reasonably happy with the ANOVA cooker recommended by Serious Eats. If you wait around a bit, a discounted price offer will come along. It's easy and intuitive to use. The results that I got so far hasn't been mind blowing, but pleasant enough. Kenji of Serious Eats recommend it for other applications such as tempering chocolate, which sounds like a very good idea indeed.

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I love my Anova. It makes better steaks than any steakhouse I've ever been to. Poached eggs are a breeze and it transforms chicken breasts from dry, stringy wastes into juicy, perfectly cooked morsels. Sausage? Yeah it cooks that. Duck breast? No problem at all. Fish? Ohhhh boy, you better believe it, buddy. Want to make chocolate like your favorite specialty chocolate shop? Go right the hell ahead. And while you're at it, try some corned beef, a whole ham, risotto, dulce de leche, any vegetable you can throw at it, pork belly, a full rack of ribs, the biggest pork butt you can buy, butter-poached lobster, shrimp, Thanksgiving turkey, foie gras -- just cook it. Put your stuff in a bag, fill a container with water, set the temp on the Anova, wait for the water to reach your desired temp, drop the bag in the water, take a nap, take food out of bag, sear if applicable and eat it. Just do it! Cook the food! Put it in your mouth! What are you waiting for, go! Food! Eat!

Now does it cook everything? No, but for what it does cook, it's the best tool for the job. Your favorite special occasion restaurant? At least one of your dishes was cooked via sous vide. Thomas Keller cooks arguably his signature dish, the butter-poached lobsters, in a gigantic container of melted butter with a sous-vide circulator inside. Take a tour of The French Laundry's kitchen and you'll see probably over 50 of these giant tubs of melted butter with sous-vide circulators sitting in them and a bunch of lobsters getting swirled around in the butter by the circulation. Imagine a hot tub filled with melted butter held at a precise temperature, never wavering, with more lobsters than you've ever seen in one place taking a swim in the hot tub.

.The results that I got so far hasn't been mind blowing, but pleasant enough.

Have you tried mi-cuit salmon and 48-hour short ribs? Or poached eggs? Because you need to try mi-cuit salmon at the very least.

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Hubby got me a Sansaire.  I have some chicken breasts that today I sealed respectively with terrikayi, jerk seasoning, and italian dressing.  One of those actually might be a good test.  Hubby really wants me to make eggs in it, he loves those sous vide cooked eggs and so do I.  I need to just do it.  Once I do something once then it becomes more easy to throw into the routine.

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I have used and owned at least 10 vac sealers over the years. Here's what I understand about it: there are two main types--chamber sealers (professional, forces air out) and, what I call, suck sealers (suck the air out, usually consumer). As a general rule the chamber sealers are very expensive, heavy, large, and work really well. Smaller ones are still counter top. I have one that seals 2 10x14 bags at the same time from Italian company Mini Pac and it was $2500. It's an amazing machine, but the price is crazy.

But, and here is the main reason for this post, I also have suck-style sealer from a company called Weston. Although it is the suck-style, its a great machine that's beyond consumer, I would call pro-sumer. It's their top of the line machine, whatever it's called. Mostly stainless, most parts are easily replaceable, etc. I have had one for 8 years and it works great. My chamber sealers are way better but the Weston was only $400-ish and the chamber sealers are often thousands. Because I liked them so much, I contacted Weston to see if I could set up a dealership (just to get their stuff at cost). I just use their gear myself and I don't sell / resell it. And here is the best part, the cost price is virtually the same as the Amazon price, and with the free shipping from Amazon, its actually cheaper to buy from Amazon that wholesale from Weston. Not sure how that happened...

That's my 2 cents.

Traveler

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