Before I get into my FoodSaver® Handheld Vacuum Sealer review, I want to paint you a picture: it’s a typical weekday and you head off to your local supermarket to do the groceries. You go through the rigmarole of packing everything into the trolley, through the register, into the car, out of the car and, eventually, into your fridge and cupboards. Then you go and throw one-fifth of what you’ve bought into the bin.
According to OzHarvest¹, the average Australian household does exactly this, wasting around $3,800 per year in the process. On a global scale, approximately half of all fruit and vegetables are thrown away each year.
We don’t do this on purpose; most of the time, it’s simply because we don’t have easy ways of keeping food fresh. The new FoodSaver® Handheld Vacuum Sealer promises to solve this problem using the concept of vacuum-sealing, in a simple and easy-to-use format. Let’s see if this clever little device, available now at Harvey Norman, really is the smart food storage solution we’ve been looking for.
Smart Food Storage: Getting Started with the FoodSaver®
Upon receiving the FoodSaver® Handheld Vacuum Sealer to test, I was impressed by the small size and light weight of the device. Forget the laminator-size contraptions of the past – when they say ‘handheld’, they mean it! The FoodSaver® took up about as much countertop space as perhaps a jar of garlic, which is just perfect if you’re a little pressed for room in your kitchen.
Alongside it, in the box, was the FoodSaver’s charging cradle along with two vacuum-seal containers and four vacuum-seal bags, enough to store plenty of leftovers and work lunches.
Using the FoodSaver® Handheld Vacuum Sealer is very easy. All you need to do is position the sealer over the button on the container lid and press the silver button. You then just have to wait until the little rubber button depresses to show that a vacuum has been achieved inside the container.
Recharging the FoodSaver® is also easy. Honestly, I didn’t even need to recharge the device while I was reviewing it, however all that’s required is to place the FoodSaver® in the dock. There’s no fiddly cables to deal with!
FoodSaver® Handheld Vacuum Sealer Test #1: Avocado
Perishables are one of the hardest things to keep fresh for longer. You can put them in the so-called ‘crisper’ in your fridge, but, good luck… As a first test of the FoodSaver’s powers of preservation, I chose a personal favourite, yet one that’s hard to keep fresh – the avocado.
Picking one out isn’t easy. The guidelines are simple enough – not too green, not too purple, should give slightly (but not too much) to pressure. Nailing that sweet spot is hard, but even worse is keeping it there. Unless you’re using the whole avocado in one go, you can essentially kiss the leftovers goodbye. Leave them a day and they’re covered in spots, another day and it’s inedible brown mush.
Avocados Australia² say our farmers are now growing approximately twice the amount they were only 10 years ago to feed our obsession with smashed avocado. Demand is high, so they’re not exactly cheap – making it all the more annoying when you have to throw some away.
For the purposes of the experiment, Test Subject Avocado was cut into two halves. One would be vacuum-sealed in the FoodSaver® container, while the other would serve as control and was to be left uncovered in the crisper.
The following images, taken after two days, tell a very clear story.
The FoodSaver® half had only a few very small flecks in the otherwise fresh green flesh:
The half in the crisper however, isn’t something you’d want to smash on your sourdough:
While conducting the test I noticed a very practical design feature. The included containers are clear, meaning that you can tell how fresh your food is with just a glance – no need to open it up and break the seal.
From this one test, it’s clear the FoodSaver® is a great way to keep food fresh for longer, including your perishables. I can see the FoodSaver® being particularly handy for fresh foods needing delicate storage such as speciality cheeses and salumi (prosciutto, salami and so on), where you might buy a large amount in bulk and then vacuum-seal the rest to enjoy later.
FoodSaver Handheld Vacuum Sealer Test #2: The Weekly Lunch
With FoodSaver having clearly impressive powers, it was time for a bigger test – the work lunch.
I’ve always been jealous of those picture-perfect meal prep inspiration shots you see on Instagram. For me, the work lunch isn’t something I’ve been able to quite crack. My attempts to make something the night before have rarely survived a night in the fridge and my hour-long commute without becoming soggy, stale, wilted or any combination of the above.
As a result I’ve turned to the convenience of microwave meals, but these tend not be favourable to the taste buds or the waist line. It seems like the FoodSaver vacuum sealer was exactly what I didn’t know I’d been looking for all these years.
After just a couple of minutes at the shops one Thursday night, I’d found the perfect lunch to try out with the FoodSaver. A delicious salad consisting of walnut, beetroot, fetta, spring onion and greens, topped with smoked salmon. All lovely ingredients when fresh, but not so much after a day or two (especially the fish and dairy).
The included large 5-cup container was the ideal FoodSaver® accessory to store it in.
I figured a snack would be a nice touch as well, so I also pulled out the FoodSaver® bags.
The FoodSaver® bags are ideal for smaller items and were perfect for the carrot sticks I had prepared. I was intrigued to see if the bag was as effective as the other FoodSaver® accessories – and indeed they were. Just aim the device on top of the sealer hole and away you go, much like a space-saver vacuum bag.
While I personally was satisfied with the FoodSaver® preserving the salad overnight, it occurred to me that it might be more interesting to see how it performed if I left it until Monday – a full weekend to prove itself.
Taking it out of the work fridge on Monday afternoon, things looked pretty good considering it had been left for over 72 hours. While some of the pink colour of the beetroot had leaked into the fetta (hardly the end of the world), there was otherwise no sign of spoilage. An incredible result compared to the soggy mess you’d get without vacuum sealing. The ultimate test is always taste, and I was seriously impressed. The greens were crunchy, the fetta had remained crumbly, and the salmon was tender and succulent. My search for ways to keep food fresh was over, and my lunch woes were solved! Finally, I could forget the bland, watery microwave dishes and embrace freshness once and for all.
A further treat awaited – the 3pm snack. Paired with some cream cheese, the carrot sticks were as crisp and fresh as they had been from the packet, and the ideal way to power through the afternoon. If you’re looking for ways to enjoy fresh food at work or keep food fresh at home, the FoodSaver® is one of the most convenient ways of doing so. It’s so light and handy you could even put it in your bag for keeping things fresh on-the-go.
Where To Buy The FoodSaver® Handheld Vacuum Sealer
If you love fresh food (but hate the waste) and need an easy way of keeping your food fresher for longer, the answer is the FoodSaver® Handheld Vacuum Sealer. It’s lightweight, small and capable and a fun little companion to have in the kitchen for preserving the life of everything from work lunches, to fruit and vegetables, to fresh prosciutto from the local deli.
Ready to make the most of your weekly shop? Visit your local Harvey Norman store where the friendly staff will show you how the FoodSaver® can help you. You can also check out the entire FoodSaver® range by shopping online.