A vacuum sealer is a piece of equipment that does two jobs in one; it removes air from a plastic bag and seals it up. These bags are used to preserve the food but are also very multi-purpose. Many of the machines for use at home have a suction motor and a heat sealer while large, commercial versions use an outboard air compressor.
How to use
The idea behind vacuum sealers is that the food the seal up are perishable but by vacuum sealing the, they retain their freshness for far longer than being open to the air. It also helps to stop freezer burn if the items are in a freezer.
Normally, there are three options for sealing the food. Firstly, items are placed in a special plastic bag and the open end of the bag is placed into the machine. The sealer than closes it, pushing out the air. After the air is gone, the bag is sealed, usually using some form of heat so that the plastic melts and creates a solid closure. To open the bag again, it is simply cut below the seal.
Other sealers work by making custom sized bags from a roll of plastic where the user measures out and cuts the right size of plastic. It will then be sealed at one end, the item put into the bag and the open end fed into the sealer. It removes the air and seals the bag.
The final version of these machines has a special attachment that allows them to seal canisters as well. Usually, a hose runs from the sealer to an attachment on the lid of the canister and this is used to remove the air. The canister can then be closed.
Some of the sealers available offer differing levels of suction, meaning the user can have greater control over the pressure exerted on the food. This is ideal if you are sealing up delicate items that may be spoiled if there is too much pressure put on them.
The size of the sealers vary from small, handheld machines right up to industrial sizes commercial tools. These are large scale machines that are fully automated and do the job for supermarkets and other such businesses. They can also handle a far larger capacity than the small, home versions.Seal-a-Meal FSSMSL0160-000 Vacuum Sealer
This is an example of the press-hold-release system of vacuum sealers that can fit 8 inch, 11 inch, quart and gallon capacity heat sealed bags and rolls. It has a patented removable drip tray to collect mess from the food and has a hands-free operating system with indicator lights for ease of use.FoodSaver FSFRSH0051 FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum Sealing System, White
This is a handheld vacuum sealer that is cordless and easy to use. It operates with the touch of one button and is perfect for meats, cheese and other pantry and refrigerated food. It is designed to be used with the FoodSaver FreshSaver vacuum bags and deli containers for optimum performance.