Those who enjoy cooking and grilling are probably already familiar with vacuum sealing. But, have you ever given it a try for yourself? Although I was initially intimidated by learning how to use a new appliance, it’s a lot simpler than you might think. And in addition to the health benefits, it comes with some significant financial ones as well. If you are thinking about investing in one, here are 7 frugal reasons why you should vacuum seal your fruits and vegetables.
7 Frugal Reasons Why You Should Vacuum Seal Your Fruits and Vegetables
1. It keeps your food fresher, longer.
The most obvious financial advantage of vacuum sealers is that they will make your food last longer. Since your produce is less likely to go bad, there is less risk of you wasting money by throwing it away. Fresh items that would normally start to turn within a week can last up to 2-3 weeks with vacuum sealing. And freezing them can extend their shelf life to 2 years or more.
When you look at the time frame of normal freezing vs vacuum sealed freezing, the savings become even more apparent.
- Normal Freezing / Vacuum Sealed Freezing
- Ground Meat (4 months / 1 year)
- Meat (6 months / 2 years)
- Fish (6 months / 2 years)
- Fruits and Vegetables (8 months / 2 years+)
The reason for this is that vacuum sealing removes the oxygen from the packaging. Oxygen is a necessary component of bacterial growth. So, less oxygen means slower fungal and bacterial growth. Ziploc bags and containers can prolong the life of your fruits and veggies as well. But, they still allow a fair amount of air to seep into the packaging. Vacuum sealing will better preserve the flavor, texture, and quality of your food.
2. Vacuum sealing can prevent freezer burn and chemical reactions.
In addition to preserving them longer, vacuum sealing can also prevent freezer burn and chemical reactions that ruin the texture and freshness of your frozen food items. Freezer burn occurs when the cold, low-humidity climate of your freezer removes the moisture from your food and oxidizes it, covering the item in ice crystals. Fruits and vegetables are even more susceptible to it since they consist of 90% water, sometimes more.
However, tightly wrapping your food with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and removing the oxygen from the packaging can prevent this. Not only will it keep the moisture in your food, but it also keeps bacteria out that can cause food to spoil faster. While other containers can protect your food, vacuum sealing it will preserve your food 3-5 times longer and ensure it doesn’t taste strange or develop a mushy texture.
3. It allows you to save your leftovers longer.
Coming from a big family, I have gotten used to making large portions. But now that it’s just my husband and me, we always have leftovers. And though I enjoy them, I can’t eat the same meal for days on end. This usually leaves us with a lot of uneaten food which pains me to waste.
So, another benefit of vacuum sealing is that you can store your favorite dishes in the freezer and enjoy them again later on, without all the prep work. This has been a great solution and a huge money saver when we don’t want to cook or spend money on delivery services.
4. You can buy in bulk.
Another frugal reason to vacuum seal fruits and vegetables is that it will allow you to buy in bulk. Most budgeters already know and practice this tip. But, it’s a bit more complicated with fresh produce. If you don’t use them right away, they will probably end up in the garbage.
I think about this every time I go to Costco. And, I hesitate to buy fresh produce for this very reason. But thanks to a vacuum sealer, you can divide them into smaller portions and save them for later.
5. It makes organization easier.
My mom has frozen her leftovers for years. But, I cannot fully describe how much I hate digging through the freezer and having to try and guess what is stored in each container. Not only is it time-consuming, but the oddly shaped packages take up more space than necessary.
Vacuum sealing will make organization much faster and allow you to fit more in your freezer. Since the bags for the vacuum sealer are approximately the same size, it’s much easier to stack and store each package.
6. The vacuum-sealed bags are more durable.
In addition to preserving your food longer, the vacuum-sealed bags themselves are more durable than your standard freezer bags. Therefore, there is less chance that they will tear. This also eliminates the need to pre-wrap your items and double-bag them before freezing. And of course, it’s more cost-effective to store your food this way since it reduces the chances of losing items to freezer burn.
7. The initial investment will pay for itself.
Many people choose to stick with other methods because the initial investment is substantial. If you look online, you will find dozens of models that cost hundreds of dollars. However, it is an investment that will pay for itself in time. When you do the math, you can see that it will easily save you more in the long run by preserving your food and preventing waste. What you save in unused produce will cover the cost of the appliance.
If you decide to purchase a vacuum sealer, you want to make sure that you invest in a quality product. Buying the most economic option may save you a few bucks up front, but it could cost you more in repairs and replacements later on. So, it’s wise to do your research and read consumer reviews before you buy anything. Not only will this help you find something that is built to last, but it may also help you find a better deal on specific brands and models.
Have you used vacuum sealers to preserve your food? Share your experiences in the comments below!
Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.