Sadly my Foodsaver vacuum packing machine had a fault after just a few months. The metal sealing strip stopped sealing. Lots of suck but no seal is not good. The customer services at the company were very polite and the first person said they could send me a spare part to fix it. Almost a week later I received a rubber seal. A further phone call to the company, and was sent a replacement machine. Unfortunately this one didn't even work and I was convinced that it was a refurbished machine, as it was sent in a huge box with just a bit of paper packaging and it was not even boxed or wrapped. Yet another phone call, again, polite customer services, and they agreed to collect it and give me a refund. All very nice but not a lot of help when at the height of my fruit 'harvest' from my allotment needed freezing. So it was back to the old fashion method!
I had bought in a supply of the special vacuum machine bags from Culinary Innovations, which I found using a search engine - so when the metal sealer strip on my original Foodsaver and the replacement machine arrived with the same fault, I thought it best to look for a different make - and so went back to Culinary Innovations to see what they had to offer.
Their site had so much information on how and what to vacuum pack, it really impressed me.
I needed to talk to someone to make sure that the machine I was interested in would be the right one for my needs - so phoned and spoke to a very nice lady who was able to answer my questions. She also made a note that I wanted to receive it on Tuesday (yesterday) as I would be away over the weekend.
I simply ordered it on the internet - and true to her word it turned up yesterday. The package contained a proper instruction book, and lots of information about "do's and don'ts" on food packaging, which I did not know before. Brilliant. I also got 50 complimentary bags.
When the machine arrived it was a surprise to see the difference. Paying a little bit more was really worth every penny. It is so much more robust, and so much easier to use. I tried it out tonight and am thrilled to bits with it.
My photos do not do it justice so if you want to take a look here is the link:
In reality it is a lovely metallic blue colour.
I have packed the ratatouille that I made earlier today. I strained it and saved the 'juice' to use as a base for a pasta dish. I let the ratatouille cool, then chilled it in the fridge for an hour (at their recommendation).
Obviously you can not vacuum pack a liquid in a bag or it will be sucked up into the mechanism, hence my straining it off. It will produce more liquid when it is thawed and recooked.
This machine is so much quieter and easier to use. Using the complimentary bags, I put the now 'dry' mixture in a bag - lifted the lid, laid the bag up to the guide, and because I wanted to find out how strong the suction pump was (you had not control over it on my previous machine) I used the manual control. Easy peasy. Press manual, gently press the lid, and the suction begins then when the vacuum is at the degree you want it, you just press 'seal' and it does it, then when it is done it releases it and you open the lid.
(With the Foodsaver you have to keep your finger on the button whilst pressing hard down on the lid, when a green light flashes and goes off it is done. You have no control over the amount of suction so it can really flatten food - as you saw when I packaged my loaf in a previous post!)
So here is the finished produce - now packed into 9 bags and ready to freeze - great because you can clearly see what is in each bag and takes up less space in the freezer.
Over ten pounds of lovely colourful summer ratatouille - now that has got to cheer you up on a cold winter's day. (She says sweltering and washed out after a temperature of over 90f all day today.)
I also got out a lot of my bags of black currants and gooseberries that I open froze on trays, then put them in bags with a metal tie. Great to empty them into these nice strong bags and vacuum pack them too.