Monday, 16 February 2015

Andrew James vacuum sealer review/ uses

Not so long ago I fulfilled a desire to buy a food dehydrator...It soon became apparent to me that I needed a vacuum sealer as it's playmate, so I purchased this Andrew James model. Like the dehydrator it is at the budget end of the market but it has ticked all the boxes I needed it to. 

 

It comes with a roll of bags but I decided to buy some extra in the form of some different sized bags and a roll, which is essentially a hollow tube that you seal to size.


The lid is opened by pushing two buttons on either side of the machine. The machine lid is  closed properly when both buttons make a definite clicking sound. 

 


 

If a bag is too big for purpose it can be cut and resealed. The edge to be sealed is just put inside the lid, the lid closed down and then the Seal Only button (on the top of the machine) is pushed. It seals the bag edge silently and it's then removed when the light goes out. The tube version is simply cut and sealed at the bottom to form a bag. Easy. 

  

Once your bag is sorted and filled it's time to seal it. A section bag around an inch or so needs to be left unfilled at the top because the edge goes a bit further into the machine, level with the vent shown in the above left hand side picture. The lid won't shut properly if the food is too high in the bag. As before, click the lid down and push the Vacuum Seal button on the top near the Seal Only button.

The machine makes more than a little noise when the vacuum is working and it's satisfying to see and hear the bag crickle as the air is sucked out. The tone of the noise changes slightly as the process nears it's end and when the seal light goes out it's done. Sometimes the bag doesn't shrink so there's a Cancel button on the top inbetween the other two buttons for this to be halted before the seal button illuminates. 

 

This device is useful for those heading out on bushcraft adventures; jerky, fruit leather, dried fruit and vegetables (the pre cooked) potatoes above right are out and about at Gilwell and got married with a steak.


The bags are quite robust so I find that making a small incision in an unsealed edge helps if out and about with a snack on a walk etc (mango in this instance). It makes tearing it open really effortless. 


It is possible to mnake small portion size bags of pretty much everything you may need when camping. The above picture (from L-R), HP sauce, dessert wine(!) and golden syrup...


I have found that if you take a length of the vacuum bag roll ( or an 'A4' bag and snip the sealed end off) you can make a two compartment bag. Simply push the bag til the top is up and over the switches on top and the halfway point is aligned with the sealing strip. Close the lid and seal (the excess will stick out of the top still).


This will give you two seperate pouches sealed together so two different things can be sealed in. The example above is Chinese chicken and potatoes to take out and about as a complete 'boil in the bag meal.

 

Liquids are a different proposition to solids and need to be frozen first. I put the liquid in a bowl, slide it into the bag and then carefully tip it out whilst holding the bag upright, this makes for clean sides.


 This is Alexanders soup being sealed. It is being pictured because it was pretty much, but not 100% frozen. You can see at the top of the bag that the small percentage of not-quite-frozen liquid had been encouraged to try and get out the top of the bag by the vacuuming process so it was a close call. Although this machine is a budget model I have no complaints and I really should get round to leaving a review.


I grated some horseradish root to have with some roast beef and to torture my family with the aroma! The spare shavings were dehydrated for around three hours at 40 degrees and then ground into a powder with a mortar and pestle.


My eldest son was going on a school field trip and I couldn't find a packed lunch ice block. I froze a 1 centimetre depth of water in a tupperware container, removed it in lukewarm water and then sealed it as an impromptu ice block.


If you are away on a more conventional stay somewhere it is very easy to pouch up things like washing machine liquid/ conditioner, sun block etc without the need to take large and heavy bottles.





25 comments:

  1. Homemade soup/stew/chili are cold in single-serving portions. When the contents are unmoving, pop them out of the containers. Heap the sleety "cubes" together and vacuum-seal. Now you possess your plastic containers for something else. I do the equal with Sloppy Joe Meat, Spaghetti Sauce, Stroganoff..... Prepare formerly and withhold. BTW, I exclusive jazz the freezer on my side-by-side icebox. I like your post.
    Thanks.

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  2. Thanks for sharing! I'll try it for my harvest.

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  3. It's a pleasure. You've reminded me that I haven't yet posted a product review :)

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  4. It's a pleasure. You've reminded me that I haven't yet posted a product review :)

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  5. Vacuum sealer depot25 May 2015 at 09:24

    Love your post! Easy to understand and follow! I'm looking for a good vacuum sealerand this one seems to fit best.

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  6. Good to know, thank you. I deliberately wrote it as a sort of extended review for any else thinking of taking the plunge.

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  7. There are different types of vacuum sealer bags on the market. From the material that they are made of, their sizes, number of bags in pack to the way that they can be packet like in rolls. They can vary in many things but most important thing for you to look for when buying is that they are quality bags. Cheaper bags can have leaks that would allow air to get back in slowly so point of sealing the bag without the air would be lost.

    Vacuum sealer bags are made of more than one layer, which makes them more resistant. These bags prevent your food from freezer burn and I am sure that there is no person who hasn't experienced that. When your food is in freezer, in contact with air, gets dried out, changes color and you have to throw it. That is wasting the money. With these bags, you don't have to worry about that. They prevent liking and that way they keep flavor in so your food tastes the same as before packing.

    As we said, vacuum sealer bags are essential in proper food saving so you must bay special bags for this purpose. However, if you buy bags that can be reused and resealed, that means that you can use them more than one time and it is way of saving money. They are, of course, more expensive but can be used for longer.

    Most of these bags can be boiled due to cooking or thawing and are microwave safe. Their ability to be dishwasher safe makes them helpful in everyday duties in the kitchen. At the end, addition to all this useful properties is that they are transparent which means that you can easily identify what is stored in the bag. It can be irritating when you need something from the freezer and you cannot recognize it.


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  8. Excellent information in there, thank you.

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  9. Your article is very helpful for me. It's easy understand :)

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  10. Great, thanks for letting me know :)

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  11. Vacuum sealer bags to store food must be approved by FDA. Whenever we buy any vacuum sealer bag to store food, we must check that the product is approved by FDA or not. I recently buy some vacuum sealer bags from www.sealersunlimited.com and they are FDA approved bags. You can also try it.

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  12. I will be sure to let you all know in a future blog post.

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  13. Thank you for a such detail review about the vacuum sealer. It is always good to hear first hand how someone used a product or if they had any difficulties while using it. This helps me narrow down my list of which vacuum sealer to purchase.

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  14. Glad it was of use to you Ann.

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  15. Vacuum sealers bags are ordinarily associated with protective food packaging. They are extensively used to prevent or retard the decaying action of air and the microbes in the air on raw or cooked food. click here for more info.

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    Linda Bedolla

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