Vacuum packing

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There are "specialty" products that can be used to vacuum-pack (e.g.) foodstuffs. But, AFAICT, they all use "special" media to do so -- special bags (that you are now dependent upon for continued use of said product).
Does anyone make a vacuum sealer that can be applied to more generic media? Or, does the medium need special characteristics (e.g., air channels) to be useful?
E.g., when shrink-wrapping to a "card", you draw air *through* that card (perforations) to pull the plastic film down onto the card (and "set" it with heat).
Could you, for example, have a device that just took regular plastic bags (Ziploc, "baggies", etc.) and use them for this function?
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On 11/22/2015 10:55 AM, Don Y wrote:

You are still saddled with "special media" (only to the extent that this apparently is for Zip-Loc brand) but Zip-Loc makes a manual vacuum sealer for their bags.
At only $9 it would be worth a shot.
http://tinyurl.com/p4s6ewc
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On 11/22/2015 10:02 AM, Unquestionably Confused wrote:

But that seems to still use "special" ZIP loc bags. I.e., I wouldn't mind using *normal* ZIP loc bags -- even if they were damaged (e.g., thermally sealed) in the process. I just object to having to buy a bag made *just* for that particular purpose -- and having to make sure I can continue to find them in the future.
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On 11/22/2015 11:50 AM, Don Y wrote:

[snip]

My bad, it appears you're correct. However, check out the second link(s) provided. That should do the trick.
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On 11/22/2015 11:50 AM, Don Y wrote:

I know a business owner who vacuum seals his bbq and ships it anywhere in the USA. I guess if it's worth using it's probably made specifically for using for vacuum sealing at least until someone invents other options.
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On 11/22/2015 12:50 PM, Don Y wrote:

I suspect the regular ones aren't strong enough, nor enough quality control to hold any kind of vacuum.
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Some interesting work arounds if you have the sealer already and just want an alternative to the special bags
This one is very good

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OM2WTfpJQaY

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On 11/22/2015 10:09 AM, Unquestionably Confused wrote:

Excellent! That looks like exactly what I want! Thanks!
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Don Y wrote:

Let me add a "me too!!" to that . I'm betting that just the part of the seal with the lines will allow this to work . My oldest and his wife gave me a vac saeler a while back , haven't used it yet because of the special bag needed . This rocks !
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On 11/22/2015 11:09 AM, Terry Coombs wrote:

I'm not sure that I follow your meaning...? What "lines"?

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Don Y wrote:

If you look at the top of the bag between the lock groove and the edge , there are some lines molded in , probably intended to give a better grip . Those molded lines might act as evacuation vents . I'll have to dig my unit out and try it .
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On 11/22/2015 1:26 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

Ah, OK. You're hoping they are "thick enough" to play the same role as the (thick) zipper.
But, what would you gain by doing this? You'd still have cut off the zipper (or, are you thinking you can keep the zipper and not "melt seal" the bag)?

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Don Y wrote:

This might let the bag seal without repeating the cycle like the guy in the video . Might not too ... and might not work at all . .
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On 11/22/2015 2:41 PM, Terry Coombs wrote:

Ah! Because those "ridges" (lines) aren't as dramatic as the zipper! Good point!
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On 11/22/2015 11:55 AM, Don Y wrote:

That's cool!
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wrote:

It looks like people use all sorts of containers for vacuum sealiing. This one http://tinyurl.com/ohhtmrh (youtube) shows Mason jars being vacuum sealed.
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On 11/22/2015 5:58 PM, Dean Hoffman wrote:

Those work great. BUT! After thinking about it, reducing the small amount of air in the container by half can't have a dramatic effect. Yes, every little bit helps, but I'm not convinced it's the panacea that the youtubers claim. I does keep the lid on without the ring.
I save peanut butter jars because they have a seal in the lid. If you poke a tiny hole in the lid and cover it loosely with tape, like black electrical tape, you can suck the air out and seal it with the tape. You need a different kind of interface to the vacuum pump. The handheld foodsavers work fine. I did some test runs and the seal was still good after a few months.
Never did anything with it because I keep coming back to the opinion that vacuum sealing in a jar doesn't do much good.
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On 11/22/2015 11:55 AM, Don Y wrote:

There was a manual pump at reasonable price, but I don't recall the name of it. I suspect they are gone as I can't find any information.
Using standard bags is cheaper, but they don't perform as well so evaluate your use before going that route. Thin bags are more prone to getting perforated in the freezer, plus, they don't offer as much of a barrier. Thin bgs may be OK for a month with dry goods, but if you want to keep frozen meat long term, use the thicker bags. They can be reused too.
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On 11/22/2015 9:29 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Found it
http://www.pump-n-seal.com/
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On 11/22/2015 7:29 PM, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I'm not averse to buying an electric pump/sealing unit. It's the bags (consumables) that are annoying. How many do you keep on hand (and where do you keep them) to ensure you aren't caught needing another "box" -- or, worse, having to scramble to find a new supplier when your previous source opts to no longer carry them.
[E.g., bags for trash compactors]

The thin bags would most typically replace those instances where we are manually wrapping items with saran wrap before placing in bags/containers of similar items. We currently use sandwich bags for nutmeats as a "cup or two" is about all you can easily fit in such a bag and that, coincidentally, is about the amount used in most Rx's.
With a vacuum sealer, I could skip the individual packaging and just dump *all* the nuts (of a given type) into a single large, heavy-weight bag (e.g., a gallon sized "freezer" bag -- instead of using that bag to hold all the little sandwich bags full of nuts!) that I could later open and reseal.
Likewise, put chicken breast portions in sandwich bags that are then packed in a larger bag/container.
[And, in the normal course of use, that bag would end up getting discarded -- so I'd not have to later fight with a "failing zipper" for a bag that should have been discarded BEFORE being refilled, this time!]
We spend a lot of time "saving money" (?) -- buying in larger quantities and then repackaging. I typically dread "shopping day" (annoying chore that competes with more interesting activities). But, on those days when we buy pork, chicken, nuts, etc. -- anything that has to be repackaged -- it is *doubly* dreadful! It's like the few hours of shopping have now been extended by a few more *inside* our home! :<
[At least we don't have to fight for a parking space, here! :> ]
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