Seal-a-Meal Vacuum Sealer
Last updated date: December 12, 2019
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We looked at the top 1 Vacuum Sealers and dug through the reviews from 6 of the most popular review sites including Top Ten Reviews, ratingle, BestReviews, Vacuum Sealer, Eat With Chef and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Vacuum Sealer you should buy.
Don't let the price tag convince you to skip the Seal-a-Meal. This no-fuss appliance is perfect for those new to the wonders of vacuum sealing. The drip tray is removable and dishwasher safe, making cleaning a breeze. In our analysis of 71 expert reviews, the Seal-a-Meal Seal-a-Meal Vacuum Sealer placed 8th when we looked at the top 12 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.
Editor's Note December 12, 2019:
Checkout The Best Vacuum Sealer for a detailed review of all the top vacuum sealers.
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From The Manufacturer
Air out. Freshness in. The Seal-a-Meal Manual Vacuum Sealer System is the fresh solution for food storage. This system keeps food fresh longer by removing air from specially designed bags and creates a secure, airtight seal so you can store food in refrigerator, freezer, and pantry for a longer period of time compared to non-vacuum storage methods.
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An Overview On Vacuum Sealers
Vacuum sealers are an essential tool for any home cook. Not only will they save you time and money, but using them to preserve food adds unbelievable flavor, making even the simplest dishes stand out.
“The price of a vacuum sealer will quickly be offset by the money you will save, as it can be used to drastically extend the shelf life of pretty much any foodstuff, be it in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer,” says culinary expert Julie Chernoff, food journalist, dining editor for Better magazine and member of Les Dames d’Escoffier.
They do this by packing in juices and preserving the freshness of food, minimizing its contact with air. Airtight environments prevent juices from escaping, keeping food moist. The airtight environment created by a vacuum sealer can also prevent solid foods from hardening since they won’t be absorbing moisture from the surrounding air. This is ideal when you need a long-term storage solution for fruits, vegetables or other perishable food items.
“Air is the enemy of food storage; it causes foods to go stale, get moldy, oxidize, or become rancid,” Chernoff explains. “By removing all of the air from inside a bag, bottle or jar, your food products will be good for much longer. Meat won’t brown in the bag, items stored in the freezer won’t get freezer burn, and dry goods won’t get buggy. You can even put your polished silver in a vacuum-sealed bag to prevent tarnishing from exposure to air! It’s a great tool for people who are into meal prep.”
These handy machines use suction to remove oxygen from plastic vacuum bags, applying heat to firmly seal them closed. Vacuum bags are typically held separate from the oxygen-sucking sealer, but some brands are beginning to combine the two in the same housing. It comes with a possible downside — a bulkier appliance — but you may decide it’s worth it for your needs.
The vacuum sealing method is often confused with shrinkwrapping, but they are distinctly different. Shrinkwrapping isn’t a viable way to preserve food, though it may have similar results within alternative applications, like storing clothes.
Unlike vacuum-sealed items, shrink-wrapped items are enclosed in film, which is effectively shrunk when heat is applied. The film adheres to the item, taking its shape. It removes most of the air but does not truly vacuum seal its contents.
Vacuum sealers work well when preserving meats and seafood, like fish (hint: add a flavor-boosting marinade before sealing to kick things up a notch). Once you’ve sealed it up, pop it in the freezer. Most quality vacuum sealers, like the FoodSaver 2-in-1 Vacuum Sealer or Seal-A-Meal Vacuum Sealer, will create an airtight package that will keep in the freezer for an incredibly long time while preserving taste and minimizing freezer burn. You can say goodbye to throwing away leftovers and hello to buying in bulk without worrying about how to use it before it goes bad.
You can defrost your vacuum-sealed food while in the vacuum bag, but defrosting must be done in the fridge to allow it to remain at a safe, constant temperature. As such, you’ll need to allow enough time (about 24 hours for every five pounds of meat) for it to comfortably reach the desired temperature before cooking.
If defrosting your sealed food in the fridge is not an option, remove it from its vacuum-sealed bag. The inside of the vacuum bag is not sterile, so leaving perishable items at room temperature should always be avoided as it could result in bacteria growth.
Quality vacuum sealers are essential for adequately preserving products, especially food. That’s why you shouldn’t skimp on quality when choosing your vacuum sealer.
Also, consider what additional features you might want to make vacuum-sealing even easier and more convenient.
“An accessory hose is useful for dry canning and jar sealing,” Chernoff suggests. “Look for a unit with an easily removable/washable drip tray for cleaning up the liquid that sometimes gets sucked into the machine during the sealing process. Bag storage built into the unit is a big plus, as is a built-in cutter. The bigger and better vacuum sealers are likely to have those.”
The good news is there are vacuum sealers that will get the job done well at just about every price point, so you have some excellent options!
DYWM Fun Fact
If you have a good vacuum sealer, you’re prepared to try a quirky (but delicious) cooking technique called sous vide. It’s a method of preparing food by partially cooking it, followed by vacuum-sealing and chilling. It can sound odd and unsafe to some, but others swear by it when creating flavorful dishes. Though you don’t always need a vacuum sealer, using one is preferred. Using one is key when cooking delicious veggies — carrots, potatoes, broccoli and onions work best. Just preheat a pot of water, prepare and vacuum seal your vegetables with a splash of oil, and drop them into the hot water until the veggies are crisp, crunchy and tender. Voila!
The Vacuum Sealer Buying Guide
- Vacuum sealers can come in handy outside the kitchen, too. Next time you’re packing for a long vacation, seal your clothes. They’ll be tightly packed, making room for many more items in your suitcase. Sealing toiletries is also a great way to ensure your bag will be mess-free after a bumpy flight. Additionally, you can use vacuum sealers to protect important papers or photos from dirt and moisture while in storage.
- Price is always a concern when buying a new appliance. The right price point depends on how you intend to use your vacuum sealer. Are you a hunter or fisherman who needs to preserve large quantities of meat? Are you a home cook for a small family? Will you use your vacuum sealer daily? The answers to those questions will help you decide which appliance is best for you. After all, their prices range significantly.
- Marinate meat, seafood or other proteins before storing. This will add an enormous amount of flavor to your dish with minimal effort on your part. Add things like garlic, spices and oil before sealing your vacuum bag. Ensure all the liquid is touching your food item while in the bag to ensure maximum absorption. To allow the marination process to run its course, store your vacuum-sealed food in the fridge for an hour or so. Then, you can store it in the freezer for later use. When you’re ready to cook it, you’ll have a pre-marinated dish full of flavor, saving you tons of valuable time.
- When comparing vacuum sealers, size is important. That’s especially true if you have limited counter and storage space. Not including commercial models, most countertop vacuum sealers range from 15 by 8 inches and 6 pounds to more than twice that size. While larger appliances are less convenient, they typically are more powerful than smaller models.
- Make sure to unplug your appliance before cleaning. Then, use a damp cloth with a mild detergent to wipe down all surfaces. Machines like the Seal-a-Meal Vacuum Sealer are relatively simple to clean as you only need to wipe down one surface — the drip tray — while others, like the NESCO Delux Compact Vacuum Sealer, for example, are a bit more complex. For quick and easy cleaning, look for a machine with a removable and dishwasher-safe drip tray.
- Find a vacuum sealer with a handheld sealer to keep fridge and pantry items, like deli meat and cheese. The FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer, for example, includes a retractable handheld vacuum sealer that works for a variety of applications. Use the handheld sealer to remove air from containers and zipper bags to keep your everyday food lasting longer and tasting better. This smaller vacuum sealer isn’t as powerful as the machine used to vacuum seal larger meals, so stick to items only needing short-term storage.