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Friday, December 10, 2010

12 Days of Christmas: Ziploc Vacuum Bags

Welcome to day two of my 12 days of Christmas! I would now like to introduce you to my best friend in my newly-found preserving efforts: Ziploc's Vacuum bags.

This summer I started freezing produce for winter use. It started innocently enough--an extra bunch of chard here, a pound of green beans there. But then I realized that I could buy extra veggies from the farmer's market and from Rolling Fork Farm, which is our CSA farm, and freeze them in bulk (at very affordable prices). I went out and picked 37 pounds of sauce tomatoes and made lasagna and pizza sauce out of them to freeze. I bought 10 pounds of haricots verts (aka green beans) and froze them. And then I started to run out of room in my second freezer (yes, you read that right...second freezer) and bought a third small upright freezer to contain my bounty. (My husband laughs every time he sees me freezing a new vegetable, but I just smile sweetly and tell him that if he laughs too hard, he may not be allowed to share in the results.) ;-)

A sneak peak into one of my freezers

The hardest part was figuring out a way to make the food last through the next few months. I started with regular freezer bags and used a straw to suck out the last of the air, but it didn't work perfectly, and I worried about freezer burn. I didn't want all of my summer work to go to waste because of bad storage. I did some research into vacuum systems, but I wasn't ready to commit to the price and size of those. It also meant that I would have to reseal the veggies any time I wanted to take out only some of them. And then I saw the Ziploc system at the store...for only $6 (on sale)! I tried it out and have been in love ever since.

The pros:
--The pump is dishwasher safe.
--The bags come with a section to write on to make it easier to remember what you put into them.
--It's cheap and easy to use.
--You can pick it up in the grocery store.

The cons:
--It can sometimes be difficult to get all of the air out of liquids in the bag. I've come up with a system where I hang the bag over the countertop so that the liquid is hanging, forcing all of the air toward the top of the bag. This can get a little messy, but it gets most of the air out.
--The pieces sometimes come apart after a lot of use. This isn't a huge deal, though, because all you have to do is reattach them.

I use this product constantly--it would be a great stocking stuffer for someone who loves to cook!

**This post has been written of my own accord because I like the product. I have had no contact with the Ziploc people, and they have not offered me anything in return for reviewing this product.

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Kathy - Panini Happy December 10, 2010 at 8:28 PM  

Glad to know you like these - I've been thinking about trying them (just pulled something out with freezer burn on it tonight, in fact). Maybe a new year's resolution :-)

Victoria Wheeler December 11, 2010 at 12:29 PM  

I may or may not end up posting this twice; I don't know if I did it right the first time.

About what price does the system run not on sale?

Mindy December 11, 2010 at 4:27 PM  

I think it's about $7.99 in our local Kroger. It comes with 3 quart bags (non-reusable). You can easily find quart and gallon bags at the grocery store too for about the same price as regular Ziploc bags.

Victoria Wheeler December 12, 2010 at 8:57 PM  

That is very, very reasonable. I might have to invest, as well!

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