Hacking Essentials: Vacuum Sealer Hack

By Andy Anderson ! @ThePretentiousChef
from Wichita, KS

Believe it or not, this came to me in a morning dream. Like a lot of you, I have a food saver vacuum sealer system. I really do like how it prevents freezer burn, and if you use it to remove the air from things like hard cheeses, it can greatly extend their lives in the fridge. What I do not like is the expense of the “special” vacuum bags… So, I came up with this hack that allows you to use regular Ziploc bags, and only one vacuum sealer bag that you will use over-and-over again. So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

serves Several
prep time 5 Min
method No-Cook or Other


  •   1
    vacuum sealing unit... any make or model will probably do just fine
  •   1 large
    vacuum sealer bag
    ziploc freezer bags, various sizes

How To Make

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    Let’s start with the vacuum sealer unit. I have a large food saver system that I really like; however, just the other day I received a very inexpensive vacuum sealer to test out, (it was free to me, but you can pick these up for $23.00). I figure that if my hack will work with this unit; it will work for any dang unit. Vacuum units are quite simple… You stick a bag (with food) into the unit, and it sucks all the air out of bag. Then it seals the bag. Easy/Peasy.
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    You need a good vacuum sealer bag that is a bit bigger than any of the various size Ziploc bags you are going to use. For example, the largest size Ziploc bag is a gallon size, so your vacuum sealer bag needs to be big enough to hold that size. As to the smaller size Ziploc bags; they will easily fit into the same vacuum bag because… Well, because they are smaller.
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    Ziploc bags come in regular bags, and freezer bags. In my testing, I discovered that the regular bags will not hold a seal… You need freezer bags. I have had two freezer bags (one in the fridge, and one in the freezer), and after several weeks they are still holding their seal. In addition, you want the “double seal” bags that you press to seal. You DO NOT want the bags that have the slider. That will become obvious when we work through the process.
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    Good vacuum sealer bags run from .22 cents to up to a whopping .50 cents per unit. I can get bulk double-seal, Ziploc gallon-size freezer bags for .06 cents per bag. In addition, if you are buying the smaller bags, they are even cheaper.
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    Take some food, and place it into the Ziploc freezer bag, and make sure you do not seal the bag.
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    Place the Ziploc bag into the vacuum sealer bag, making sure you have access to the press-to-seal portion of the bag.
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    Place the bag in the sealer, and suck the air out.
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    When the air is out, DO NOT press the seal button on the machine. Instead, run your finger over the press-to-seal portion of the Ziploc bag, while it is still in the machine, and still inside the vacuum bag. You have now sealed out all the air in the vacuum bag, AND the Ziploc bag.
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    Finally, release the vacuum on the machine, remove the bag , and extract the sealed Ziploc bag from the vacuum sealer bag. You now have a nicely sealed (inexpensive) Ziploc bag of food, and you can use that single (expensive) vacuum bag over-and-over again. In this example, I sealed some cheese, and my reading glasses :-)
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    Keep the faith, and keep cooking.