Vacuum sealers are becoming a far more common tool in today’s kitchen. From sous vide cooking to smoking and curing, the modern kitchen has evolved and the vacuum sealer is a practical device for the home cook. Vacuum sealers are more than just a tool for hunters who need to package game meat – it has many other uses as well! I use my vacuum sealer many times each week. We often cook with a sous vide machine and preparing the meat in a vacuum sealed bag is necessary for that form of cooking. I also smoke fish, sausage and many other meats and preserving them in a sealed bag with the air removed allows the meat to stay fresh far longer in the freezer. I figure, if I am going to spend the effort to smoke meat, I want it stored in the best possible way.
Vacuum sealing is an amazing way to preserve food by pulling out the air within the bag and sealing it shut. I am sure we have all experienced spoiled meat due to freezer burn. There have been times I have gone to the freezer to pull out a salmon filet or some steaks only to discover they are covered with ice crystals or freezer burn marks. It is frustrating and expensive to lose food this way. Vacuum sealing is an excellent way to ensure that food stays fresh WAY longer than using other methods that allow air to get around the food.
Weston has an excellent line of vacuum sealers and they sent me the Weston Professional Advantage Vacuum Sealer to try out and one to giveaway (check the bottom of this post for giveaway details!). Weston is my kind of company as their products include meat grinders, smokers, meat slicers, vacuum sealers and other products to help people process, prepare and preserve food.
I have used many different vacuum sealers from various companies, so I was eager to try Weston’s product to see how it operates. The majority of the sealer is made of plastic with a stainless steel lid. The lid needs to be snapped in place in order to operate. The construction of the machine is simple, compact and solid.
The display panel shows many different buttons showing various features of the product.
- On/Off – Turn the vacuum sealer on or off.
- Start – This starts the vacuum sealer to remove air from the bag and then seal it with the heat sealer.
- Seal – Activate the heat seal element without performing the vacuuming.
- Pulse – Give a burst of suction. This is great for removing air from a bag that contains lots of moisture. The pulse button allows you to draw out just the air and stop before the liquid is removed.
- Accessory and Marinate – these buttons are used for the canister add-ons. Since I did not have those, I cannot speak to the effectiveness and use of these options.
- Vacuum Progress – This indicates how much of the air has been removed from the bag. Once the progress bar all lights up, then the heat seal will activate.
There is a reservoir to collect moisture in case the vacuum sealing draws any out of the bag. There is also a foam gasket around the reservoir. This is what helps to create a good seal when the lid is locked in place.
Like I said earlier, I use a vacuum sealer regularly, so I used this Weston model for a couple weeks. I used it as I would any of the other brands we own. First, I used it to seal up some chicken and steak for the sous vide. It sucked the air our really well. I noticed that the suction was quite strong and the sensor seemed to indicate when the air was gone and it was ready to be sealed.
I was really pleased with how the Weston machine sealed the bag. The heat seal was thick, solid and very secure. Placing the bag in a sous vide water bath is a great test for the seal. I have had, with a different model, problems with the seal breaking during the sous vide cooking process. A couple times, when I pulled the bag out of the water bath, the seal broke and the meat fell out. This is obviously, unacceptable and the Weston sealer never had this problem. In fact, it seems to have the best actual seal of any vacuum sealer I have used.
My father has a huge garden and provided me with bags of hot peppers. Knowing I would not be able to use them all, I threw some in a food safe bag to seal and store in the freezer. The machine pulled pretty much all the air out the cracks and crevices between the peppers. I was impressed with how it drew the peppers all together during the vacuuming.
I roasted two chickens a couple days ago. The chicken bones are great for broth and I planned to use one for chicken and rice soup. The other, I figured, could be vacuum sealed in a bag and frozen for later this fall. The Weston bags come in three sizes (as well as rolls), so I used one of the larger ones that would be able to hold a whole chicken carcass. The chicken bones stick out in all different directions, yet the vacuum sealer was still able to draw all the air out, before heat sealing the bag. It worked really well.
After using this vacuum sealer about 30 times I was extremely impressed with the quality of the job it performed. From both the vacuuming and the sealing, this Weston machine worked perfectly every time. One time I used it to vacuum and seal 10 bags in a row. It never slowed down or showed any sign of overheating. The quality of the job at the end was as good as at the beginning. That is good news for hunters looking to package up some game meat.
Weston is providing a Professional Advantage Vacuum Sealer to one lucky reader! This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only. Sorry to anyone who lives elsewhere. Make sure you use the rafflecopter widget below to enter – just follow the instructions on the widget to enter (there are options for more than one entry as well!)
You can purchase this or many other Weston products at their website: Weston Professional Advantage Vacuum Sealer
Disclaimer: Weston provided me with this vacuum sealer. They did not pay me for this review and the views expressed above are my honest reactions after trying the Weston product.