Friday, November 02, 2007

Frugal Friday - Food Saver

I know that there are many areas that can save us money on our frugal journey. But I keep coming back time and again to the grocery budget. It really does seem that this is one of the big areas that we can spend a lot...or save a lot

Something that I broke down and bought myself a few years ago was a food sealer. You know, the kind that sucks the air out of the special made bags so that we can keep our food fresher longer?

This is some zucchini that I have shredded and sealed. It was extra garden produce that I needed to do something with or let it go to waste. I also have squash from my Great Uncle's garden that would have went to waste but is going to make a lovely squash casserole for Thanksgiving at their house in just a few weeks (!!).

I never have to worry when I find a too good to pass up deal on produce (or most fruit) if we'll be able to eat it quickly. I almost never have to pass on garden excesses from generous friends and relatives. I can just vacuum seal it!

But the biggest saver, bar none, is that this product allows me to really stock up on meat when we find it at a great price. It also saves trips to the store, because I can keep my freezer as well stocked as my pantry without worrying that something is going to come out freezer burned. And I almost never pay full price for the meat we like to eat.

If you think how often meat is discounted $2 or more a lb. then you'll see how soon this could pay for itself.

There are all kinds of different food sealers from pretty cheap to crazy expensive. I can't find the one that I bought anymore, but it was a little over $100 at the time. And then of course, you have to factor in the cost of the bags, which are much more reasonable when bought in bulk (like at Sam's). I'll also reuse the bags that are used to store vegetables or fruit after a good washing. (The meat bags could probably be washed well and reused, but I've never done that.)

So if people are asking you what you'd like for Christmas this year, this is a gift that could help you save money all year long.

For more frugal ideas, be sure to visit Crystal's Blog!


Anonymous said...

I came by via Crystal's :)

I also have a food saver, but am having trouble freezing a few things. Would you mind answering some questions...since it seems you've had such great success with yours?? :) I'd love put up things in my freezer as you have done!


My name is Michelle. said...

I'm certainly no expert, but would love to help any way I could. Feel free to post the questions here (others may benefit!), or you can email if you'd rather (the button is on the side).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your willingness to help!

Honestly, I've had my food saver about 3 years but have not gotten our money's worth out if it at all. *Blushing* I just got tired of messing with it over and over when things didn't turn out well.

My problem:
When foods have the slightest bit of liquid, I just can't get a good seal. The vacuum sucks the liquid out and I just have a big mess inside the little "shelf" in the food saver and all over my bags. I'm specifically talking about: cooked chicken, cooked ground beef, cookie dough, etc. Well, acutally most everything I've tried I've had trouble with.

I just can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. Any ideas?

I'd love to use it to its full potential. I have no idea what to do about the liquid problem though...

Thanks in advance :)


My name is Michelle. said...

Great, great question Lauren! I'm going to make a post about it so others can see the answer!

Anastasia-Jane said...

When you are freezing something that has liquid in it like meat, sometimes you have to put the meat in your bag, put it in the freezer to freeze it and then seal it. This way all the liquid is already frozen. I usually just propped it up somehow in the freezer until it froze. If it is soup etc. Roll the top down, put a clothespin on it, lay it flat, let it freeze, the suck the air out with your machine... HTH

Hi. My name is Alanna. said...

This is a great tip! I have a food saver that is brand new, bags and all that jazz included, but I've never used it. It was given to me by a friend who'd never used it, and I just haven't gotten up the gumption to pull it out and work it. Your pictures inspire me to try!! I'll write you if I have any troubles! ;)

My name is Michelle. said...

anastasia-jane, what a *great* idea! Thank you!

Alanna, it seems cumbersome at first, then you get used to it...but when you get the food out of the freezer and it's very much like fresh, it's worth it! Let me know if you try it!