So I’ve now been putting the FoodSaver Fresh Preservation System through its paces for a fortnight – has it won its right to stay in my kitchen or will it be consigned to the gadget cupboard of doom? To recap, if you didn’t read my introductory post about the system, the FoodSaver Fresh preserves food by vacuum packing it in boxes or bags which helps food stay fresh for up to twice as long. It is contact with air which starts the rotting process so removing it slows it down.
The FoodSaver Challenge
When it arrived I immediately trialled it with that pesky fruit the, slow to ripen then gone beyond in a moment, avocado! I sliced into what I thought was a ripe fruit only to find that it was still pretty hard (getting that right is SO hard isn’t it?!) I shared this photo which showed the avocado, sliced in half, one half vacuum packed in a bag the other half stored in a bowl with a plate on top and left in the fridge overnight.
As you can see the regularly stored avo was already browning while the vacuum packed half was still green – I left them for three days by the end of which the vacuum packed one was just beginning to turn while the other one was blackened and beyond redemption. This result had me chomping at the bit to see what else it could do – I took on the FoodSaver challenge eagerly!
Storing Fresh Food for Longer
I continued to test all the food stuffs I store regularly – putting most of it into a FoodSaver Fresh box or bag and vacuuming all the air out while keeping a bit of it out as a test. The bags are particularly satisfying to watch as the air leaves and they wrap themselves around the contents – it is like a little hug!
Salad leaves and soft fruit were the biggest revelation – normally the bag of leaves I get with my organic veg delivery lasts for 4-5 days at this time of year before going a bit limp – as you can see 5 days after vacuum packing it the leaves are still crisp and fresh, the fruit juicy and appetising while the test ones are wilting and a bit shrivelled.
Fresh salad leaves…
and the test group, poor little things. Luckily you are not being subjected to the sight of a vacuum packed slug here – because my veg is organic it sometimes comes with little creatures still attached. I almost missed one slimy little devil when I washed this lot and packed it in but spotted it just in time and released it into my garden where I am sure it is getting nice and fat!
The difference is clear to see with these raspberries and blueberries – which ones would you prefer to eat?
I’ve done the same test with soft leaved herbs in the boxes and with woody herbs in the FoodSaver vacuum bags and have been delighted with the results. I usually freeze left over herbs at this time of year but, while this is a good way of preserving them, the flavour of frozen herbs isn’t as good as fresh. Being able to reach into a box or bag and grab a handful of still fresh herbs after a week to ten days is fab. Once done I just popped them onto the FoodSaver Fresh System and vacuumed them again ready for next time.
Tofu lasted really well in its FoodSaver box – still fresh and soft without those tell tale dried up or slightly slimy edges you can get under regular storage conditions. I didn’t have to slice off the outer bit and discard it and I do hate wasting food (hence my very minimal test quantities for this post!). I can see this being a huge bonus for storing the Christmas cheeses which will shortly invade my fridge for those in my family who still eat dairy!
Crackers and Nuts stay fresh for longer – a soggy cracker is a very disappointing thing, I nibble on them most days, usually topped with hummus or vegan cream cheese and they are definitely crisper for longer stored using the FoodSaver. I currently have the nuts I use less frequently stored in FoodSaver bags – cashews, brazil nuts and almonds get used up so fast there is probably no advantage to me in using precious FoodSaver space but nuts I use less regularly like walnuts, pecans and flaked almonds are no longer languishing in opened bags in the cupboard and I am confident they will be all the fresher for it when I reach for them for recipes in the run up to Christmas.
Storing and Using Leftovers Efficiently
I’m pretty good at cooking the right quantity of food for each meal, I’ve had a lot of practice, but occasionally I seem to forget that there are now only 4 of us here for most of the time and that two massive appetites have sidled off to Uni! The FoodSaver boxes are great for storing that leftover pasta, mashed potato, rice, soup or stew when I have over catered. That it lasts longer stored this way means I don’t have to eat the same thing the next day for my lunch but can wait until I fancy it again later in the week – thus I’m more likely to eat it rather than pushing it to the back of the fridge and ignoring it! Also, the clear boxes mean that everything can be easily seen unlike the mugs/opaque plastic boxes I usually use. How often have I been surprised by a mug of green fluff that was, once upon a time, half a tin of baked beans?!
Effective Meal Planning
Knowing that food will last longer using the FoodSaver means that I can more efficiently meal plan. I took advice from Nicole at YumSome and prepped enough onions on Sunday to last a whole week of recipes – having a bag full of ready chopped, fresh and juicy onions to dip into was time saving as was having ready prepped carrot batons and cucumber sticks for lunch boxes. I can see this really coming into its own over Christmas too. I am generally a fly by the seat of my pants cook but I’m converted to prepping the stuff I use every day – I can’t think of many recipes which don’t begin ‘Take one onion…’!
A packed lunch is not improved with a dried out carrot or cucumber stick so I normally prepare them on the fly in the morning when I am really not at my best. Prepping them on a Sunday ready for the week made for a calmer start on Monday and I was still pretty thrilled by Friday – anything which helps with the morning school run is good with me!
Marinated tofu and vegetables are staples of my vegan repertoire so when I saw that the FoodSaver System would speed up this process I was, of course, going to give it a go! I’m not renowned for my scientific know how but what seems to happen here is that the vacuuming not only sucks out the air but also sucks in the flavour. Marinating was certainly quicker with the flavour in this ginger, garlic, agave and tamari marinade pervading the tofu in less time than I’m used to – it also meant that the strong smells from this marinade didn’t pervade everything else in the fridge. The tofu was ready to use in an hour when normally I would give it a minimum of two – I was impressed that the tofu had sucked up the flavouring so well; look out for the full recipe coming shortly!
What is of note in this image is not that the tofu is marinated but that the tofu on the left has sucked up all those wonderful flavours already while the test batch still has a way to go – not the prettiest picture, but it makes the point!
Conclusions – Should It Stay Or Should It Go Now?
The FoodSaver Fresh Preservation System has definitely won a place in my kitchen and will not be joining the spiraliser, the fondue and the bread maker in the cupboard of doom!
This gadget is an enabler – it ensures that my lot get fresh and juicy veg and fruit in their lunch boxes, it has encouraged me to pre plan and pre prep food for the week ahead (which is both good for my sanity and for my pocket) and it has ensured that any leftovers are fresh for long enough for me to get round to using them – again, a money saver.
The FoodSaver is compact enough to leave on the work surface next to the fridge, the boxes are in use every day and the bags have been useful for smaller foodstuffs like herbs and single pieces of fruit or veg. Both are easily washed and reused – the bags are sturdy enough to do this with which was one of my concerns, not being a fan of single use plastic. It is definitely worth buying some extra boxes once you’ve got the hang of this very simple system – if you’re anything like me you will become reliant on it pretty quickly. The FoodSaver Fresh system comes with the gadget itself plus one 700ml container and five 0.95l vacuum zipper bags, I also have the food container combo pack which contains one of each of 700ml, 1.2l and 1.8l storage boxes – it is very useful having a variety of sizes to hand.
Keep an eye on social media over the next few weeks as I continue to experiment with the FoodSaver as the festive season gets into full swing and if there’s anything in particular I haven’t tested give me a shout and I shall attempt to oblige!
This is a sponsored post. I am working as an ambassador for FoodSaver but am under no obligation to provide a positive review. I’m impressed that they have the confidence in their product to encourage me to really put it through its paces. Words and pictures are my own.