Sunbeam FoodSaver VS1200

Sunbeam FoodSaver VS1200

Vacuum-packing food at home … is it worthwhile?

Vacuum-sealing food in an airtight environment and storing it in a fridge can reduce the growth of some bacteria. This helps the food last longer. The Sunbeam FoodSaver VS1200 removes air and moisture from specially designed zipper bags and containers. We put it to the test.

The sealer costs $120 and comes with 1 medium FoodSaver zipper bag, 1 large FoodSaver zipper bag and a FoodSaver “Deli” container. You can source extra containers and zipper bags through retailers, though you may have to order them.

Since our test, the Foodsaver VS1200 has been discontinued. But Sunbeam says it’ll be available for at least another 6 months. Extra bags and containers will continue to be available for several years.

How did it go?

To test the FoodSaver we packed 2 slices of ham in 4 different ways:

  • vacuum-packed in the FoodSaver zipper bag
  • vacuum-packed in the FoodSaver “Deli” container
  • sealed in a standard  zip lock plastic bag
  • sealed in an ordinary plastic container.

We left the ham in the fridge for 6 days and then assessed the quality of the ham in each package.

The FoodSaver zipper bag was the best – it showed no signs of spoiling. The ham in the FoodSaver “Deli” container looked fresh but was slightly slimy and was beginning to smell. The ham in the standard zip lock bag was in a similar state. As for the ham in the ordinary plastic container, it was showing its age and had a sour smell.

The FoodSaver is compact and very easy to use but it won’t work unless it’s fully charged. So make sure you keep it regularly charged in case you suddenly want to use it.

The containers (but not their lids) and zipper bags (turned inside out) can be washed on the top shelf in the dishwasher. However, if you want to re-use the bags don’t store raw meat or fish or greasy foods in them as you may give yourself a food-borne illness. You can re-use the containers.

Ongoing costs

The sealer can be used only with FoodSaver zipper bags and containers. A pack of 12 large bags or 18 medium bags or 2 “Deli” containers will cost you $30. (As a comparison, you can pay as little as $2.89 for a pack of small zip lock bags at the supermarket … and we found our zip lock bag as effective as the “Deli” container.)

Our verdict

The FoodSaver is a good way to keep refrigerated foods fresh. But the cost of extra bags and containers makes it an expensive way to store food.

We think a better option is to buy smaller amounts of perishable foods more often.

Sunbeam has other vacuum-sealers using single-use bags and which run on mains power (rather than a rechargeable battery). These are more versatile and worth a look. Other brands also make vacuum sealers.

Tip: Whatever way you decide to store perishable foods, you need to keep your fridge at the right temperature: as close to 3°C as possible.

 

Report by Libby Manley.

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