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Vacuum Sealer tested

by Des Westmore

For many years I owned, used and abused a Pifco vacuum packer. It was used to seal food and bait for freezing and was in regular use for twenty odd years before eventually expiring only recently. I never really appreciated just how much I had come to rely on the old Pifco unit until it gave up the ghost. The realisation prompted me to get the finger out and source a suitable modern replacement.

I finally identified a vacuum sealer unit that looked the part and got in touch with John Watford at www.bagsoffreshness.co.uk who carries a extensive range of different sealers. Unfortunately John informed me that the sealer I was looking at was about to be discontinued, but he kindly supplied me a pre-release sample of a brand new model (available from July 2009). Bagsoffresshness also stock all the consumables you will require in the way of bags and rolls.

vaccuum sealer in use

The unit is simplicity itself and can either vacuum and seal, or just seal without pulling a vacuum. The open end of the bag is clamped between the unit’s jaws before electric power further compresses the joint and heat is applied. On completion of the vacuum and seal cycle, the mechanism unlatches allowing the newly sealed bag to be removed. The seal formed by the heating element is reassuringly wide, which helps to maintain its integrity.

Pre-formed bags can be used with the unit, or alternatively, bags can be cut to suit from a continuous roll. If choosing the ‘roll’ option, it should be noted that this unit does not have the facility to hold the roll in the machine. Both bags and rolls are of very robust plastic and do not easily puncture or split in the freezer. The plastic used on the continuous roll is suitable for ‘boil-in-the-bag’ (100°C) cooking, while the pre-formed bags are suitable for ‘Sous-vide’ cooking (around 70°C). Simple or more complicated, there are many sealers on the market, however this particular user-friendly sealer does everything that I require and is well worth the estimated £49.00 RRP.

vacuum sealer open

* At the time of writing the review item was yet to be named and not listed on the bagsoffreshness website. John Watford is however happy to answer all enquiries relating to this and other products via www.bagsoffreshness.co.uk

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