Thanks to the numerous infomercials, there is hardly a person in the U.S. who hasn’t heard of a vacuum sealer, such as the popular Food Saver units.
Vacuum sealing works great for keeping food fresher, especially in the freezer. If you have ever used a vacuum sealer, you know that one of the pitfalls of using one is having to buy more bags. However, there is something that you can do to vacuum-seal food without having to buy replacement bags. It’s not a complete replacement for using the bags, but in some ways, it can be more efficient.
Most vacuum sealers will have a jar sealer attachment that you can use to seal mason jars. Not all models have this ability, but getting one that does vastly increases what you can use it for. There are jar sealer attachments for both wide-mouth and regular-mouth jars.
Using the jar sealer is about as simple as sealing a bag. Place the hose into the sealer and the other end into the top of the jar sealer attachment. Fill your jar with the item you’re going to seal and place the lid on top—but don’t put the ring on yet. With the jar sealer connected to the vacuum-sealing unit, place the attachment over the jar and firmly seat it on top.
Press the button on the sealer unit, and the air will be sucked out of the jar. When you’ve confirmed that there is a vacuum, then you can put the ring on. The vacuum that is inside seals the lid onto the jar. If the lid is damaged, it might slowly leak air back in, so use only lids that aren’t damaged or have holes.
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The great thing about vacuum-sealing these jars is that you can reuse the lids. Because you’re not heating them up, the sealing compound on the lid isn’t destroyed, like in normal canning. So long as the lid holds the vacuum, you can reuse it.
Not only can you use it to seal and freeze liquids (soups, sauces, etc.), but think of all the bulk spices you can buy and store!
There are other creative ways to use vacuum sealers, too. For example, one of our Community members offered this suggestion in a comment on the article “The 5-Minute Prepper #4: Save Money on Your Preps With Old Clothes”:
Something that will help conserve those clothes, shoes, books, etc.. and save a ton of space..is to put them in those vacuum-sealed storage bags. I can get two seabags full of clothes in less than one seabag by putting them in storage bags and evacuating the air from them. Every season we take all the clothes from last season and put them in the storage bags we have just emptied the clothes from, to wear. No bugs, mold, etc. And about 1/3rd the volume, too.
What Do You Think?
What’s your favorite way to use your vacuum sealer? Have you found any creative uses for it beyond “the usual”? Let us know in the comments below!
This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on September 19, 2013.
Rob Hanus is the author of “The Preparedness Capability Checklist: A Planning and Evaluation Tool for Becoming More Self-Reliant,” an easy-to-read book that offers the absolute best method for intelligent and deliberate prepping. Rob is also host of the Preparedness Podcast.
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