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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Does A Vacuum Sealer Do Anything Worthwhile On An RV?

    I store a lot of items on board my RV. I always wish I had more space for lots of things. I also like to prepare gourmet (semi!) meals in my galley and have to keep lots of ingredients handy. When preparing my RV for my yearly Spring awakening (Next week!! Stay tuned for the newest list!)  I noticed some stuff I just keep in there year to year, were going bad. Like the garlic powder that was more like a garlic brick! Years ago, I had purchased a vacuum sealer and bags to be able to store meats in the freezer for longer time periods without the dreaded "freezer burn." That worked pretty well. I also used it to package first aid supplies and items that couldn't get wet for storing in the trunks of my vehicles. That worked pretty nicely. I also prepackaged some snacks for emergency use. You know, like trail-mix , beef jerky or something similar. What about actually taking one along onboard your RV? Is there a reason to do it? What about energy usage? Read on!
 

A Typical Model Vacuum Sealer
It's a pretty decent question. There are quite a few uses for vacuum sealers. Mostly food related, but there are a few other things I had already done. First aid kits are a great example. Keeps stuff fresh and dry. I've put film in vacuum sealed bags too...but who uses film anymore? The actual vacuum sealer device is both a generator of vacuum as well as a bag sealer. It sucks the air out of the bag or container (more on that later) and then heat seals the open end. It's pretty easy to do. The bag material comes in a few widths and long lengths so you can vary the length of the bag by heat sealing one end, rolling out the length of bag you want then cutting it. You now have a bag. Fill it with stuff and then put it in the sealer, open side in. Hit the button and it pulls the air out and then seals the bag. Done.

Bags of Any Length
I was toying with the idea of pre-preparing meal items like say, a chicken stew. Then vacuum sealing it in bags and freezing. That way, they take up way less space, last a long time and can be reheated either in the microwave or, if you want to save battery power or generator use, on the stove in a pot of boiling water. Lots of meals could be done this way. Snacks too! I mean, you can always figure out a way to boil water, right? I can even do it with 12 Volts DC. Yes, it takes a while, but works fine. OK, maybe you don't like the food idea. Anything that gets ruined when too much moisture gets in is a likely candidate. Flour? Sugar? How about vacuum sealing important papers? Water and paper don't mix! This way, you don't let them. They even make plastic containers (like Tupperware) that have a vacuum valve built in. You could take these along after they were sealed. Then re-use after.

Some Of The Variety Of Containers
If you don't want to mess around with the bag making, there are MANY sizes of containers with vacuum valves on the lids. There is even an adapter to use regular sized Mason jars. To use these, you just plug in the clear hose to the sealer's vacuum port (mine's on top) and the other end to the container and press the sealing" button. Once it's finished, it stops. Pretty simple really. I'm not sure I would use glass Mason jars very often (if at all,) but it's an option. The containers are pretty easy to use and the variety of sizes means you can usually find one to fit. They can also be used to quickly marinate meats. Put in your meat of choice, add the liquid marinade, vacuum the container and let sit...longer the better (up to overnight in the fridge). Great idea if you know what you'll want to eat during a trip. You can pre-do the marination beforehand. Amazing flavor!

So what about using the vacuum sealer on board? It uses a pretty good amount of power. Around 110 Watts at 120V so about 9.167 Amps at 12 Volts (maybe another 15% if using an inverter). Not terrible, but significant. Plus, you have to find space for the device to live. My opinion? Leave it at home and take the packages with you. As always, Y.M.M.V. (Your Mileage May Vary!)

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

www.thewanderman.com

30 comments:

  1. FoodSaver also makes vacuum wine stoppers. A partially used bottle of wine, if the air is removed with the FoodSaver, will store without needing refrigeration. Also use mine to reseal open cereal and snack packages. Much better seal than binder clips.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Mmmmm...wine!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. I have never seen "A partially used bottle of wine".

      Delete
    3. Rod,
      You have a good point there! ;)

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  2. As a full timer, my Food Saver is a must have in my kitchen repertoire. I use it almost daily in a variety of ways!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have my Food Saver with me, but space or it is not an issue. I buy beef, chicken when on sale as we travel and seal for freezing. Also use it on containers with left overs, as well as reseal snacks like chips and crackers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Justpokin'along,
      Buying food stuffs on sale and vacuum packing them is a stellar idea!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  4. We use a vacuum sealer in our fifth-wheel trailer to repackage our frozen meat and some left-overs. Store packaging wastes a decent amount of space in the freezer and the meat keeps longer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anon,
      Very true,
      vacuum packed items use way less space. Especially if they are compressible.

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  5. I can't live without my vacuum sealer - I use it several times a day. Yesssssssss! I have one for the RV as well as one for home. I use it most often with mason jars, even to marinate meat for two. I find it does a better job than the plastic containers, and mason jars don't lose their seal as is sometimes the case with plastic containers. I cut up an onion, or a pepper and use only part of it, so the rest goes into a sealed mason jar. I buy walnuts or pecans, they don't go stale when in a sealed jar in the refrigerator. I always have dry powder milk on hand in case of emergency. Sadly, it turns yellow & goes bad if you don't use it. My solution: in a sealed mason jar & in the fridge! Lunch meats last longer when sealed after the package is opened. I can go on and on.......

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,
      Sounds like it works quite well.

      Thanks for the tips!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  6. Homemade chili and Jambalaya are two of our favorites! We have found that when we make a batch we then spoon/pour into a ziplock bag and put it in the freezer. After the freezer works it magic, we pull out the ziplock filled with one our favorite meals and cut the ziplock bag off. Slide the frozen mass of chili into a vacuum bag and run it through the vacuum process and put back in the freezer. When its time for dinner, pull the bag out of the freezer and place in boiling water. When it is hot enough, open the bag and spoon right from the bag! No big mess left except for the bag!! We love vacuum sealing meals!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown,
      MMMmmm Jambalaya! Sounds like you are making your own MRE entrees!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  7. We carried our vacuum sealer when we were full time and used it often. Now I cook some things in advance of a trip (soups, spaghetti sauce, chicken tenders, shredded pork, etc.), freeze flat and then vacuum seal. Takes up little room in the freezer and gives us fast meals on busy days. My vacuum sealer comes along for the ride only when I know I'll be visiting my favorite meat market!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Goldie,
      Excellent use of the vacuum sealer. I will be doing that this season. Saves on power, propane and time. A triple win!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  8. I use a a vac-sealer at home to "pack" for RV, but wouldn't bring the machine on the road once in "consume" mode. I'm a cloverleaf tripper, not a fulltimer, though.

    A related item I DO use all the time on road is my tiny shop vac... along with simple trash bags, sleeping bags/bedding/laundry gets sucked into pucks between uses. Works after wearing just as well, small and odorless storage until I can launder back home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wolfe,
      Sounds like a plan....how do you seal the trash bags after removing the air?

      Rich "the Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. Just snug twist-ties work fine... they may slowly leak over days, but packed into a cabinet they can't expand much. I'm just waiting to be wrong and have a cabinet of worn laundry explode... BO grenade! :P

      Delete
    3. Wolfe,
      Thanks for the snort laugh! Exploding Laundry....

      Sheesh!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  9. Ours is in the RV all the time because most of the time, we're camping to fish. The fish get cut up and put in vac bags. Because it is there we use it for other stuff too like mentioned above.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gene,
      Fish! I completely forgot about odor control! Excellent tip!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  10. Couldn't live without a vacuum sealing machine. But look at the hand-held one we got from Amazon $20. Couldn't get the link to work, so check out: dapai Handheld Vacuum Sealer Machine, USB Rechargeable Portable Cordless Kitchen Appliances with 5 Air Sealing Zipper Bags for Food Preservation

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dave,
      I'll take a look at it...how many "seals" can you get on a charge?

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
    2. If really 2AH (1x18650?) battery, it could do quite a few bags. My concerns would be proprietary reusable bags that could be hard to sterilize, and the lack of filter on the pump (allowing goo to enter motor).

      Interesting gizmo used carefully, though...

      Delete
    3. FoodSaver has something similar, for a little cheaper, too. Shouldn't have any concerns about the lack of a filter on the pump. The way the bags are designed, none of the contents ever touch the pump. As for reusing the bags ... lots of people do it. And you can put put them in the dishwasher to clean them.

      Delete
    4. I have a countertop FoodSaver, which prevents blood getting into the suction exactly the same way as surgical suction does (a drop chamber). I'm not seeing that arrangement on these minipumps that suck directly on a valve.

      For re-usability of bags, my wife went on an eco-kick this week and bought silicone ziplock bags -- so if you never hear from me again, we'll know they were a bad idea. :-D

      Delete
    5. Wolfe,
      Be Careful! And...Yuck!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete
  11. Wife would not leave without our small travel sealer. We fish so use it for fresh fish, and also to seal the unused portions of the fish so we do not create odors in the trash for us or others. Last thing I want is a bear around when boondocking.
    We also seal our foul weather rain gear. keeps it compact for the few times we need it. We make the bags larger so we can cut off an inch and still reseal our rain gear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. kenskeeper,
      Another vote for fish odor control! Great idea for foul weather gear!

      Rich "The Wanderman"

      Delete

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