Introduction: Poor Man's Vacuum Sealer

Picture of Poor Man's Vacuum Sealer

Vacuum sealers are great because they store food with virtually no air. The result is almost no freezer burn. That's the upside.

The downsides of vacuum sealers are:

  • They are expensive, usually well over $100.
  • The bags are surprisingly expensive (because they need to be specially designed or its hard to get out all of the air.
  • They are fiddly. Even if you are trying to be quick, they aren't that fast. But if you want to do a good job, you normally need to push and prod your product to get trapped air pockets out.

My system is cheap:

  • The sealing machine costs nothing.
  • The bags are cheaper.
  • I can vacuum seal 5 bags this way in the same time it takes to do one with a vacuum sealer.

Oh, and this system actually is less prone to air pockets, but is gentler on your food (particularly important for vegetables.)

Step 1: Bag Your Food.

Picture of Bag Your Food.

  • Put food into a ziploc style bag.
  • Close the zipper most of the way, keep a finger in the opening.

Step 2: Vacuum Your Food.

Picture of Vacuum Your Food.

  • Immerse your food in water, keeping just the opening out of the water. The water is great at pushing the air out of every cranny and nook.
  • While it is immersed, close the last bit of zipper.

Works pretty good. Works really well! Its fast, its cheap, its reliable. I have stored meat in my freezer this way, and seen no freezer burn after a year.


waldosan (author)2017-09-15

this is a very good idea, i'm shopping around right now for DIY vacuum setups for freezer bags, it's not exactly what i'm looking for but definitely a solid plan B.

Yonatan24 (author)2015-08-29

The only downside is that you waste a lot of water with this process...

nytowl520 (author)Yonatan242015-08-31

Why not just reuse the water for something else? Watering plants, washing dishes, etc... no need to waste the water. *shrug*

Moose Dr (author)nytowl5202015-09-01

Or use a very small water container, just large enough to hold the necessary water.

The last time I used it, I was doing a few dozen servings of home-grown broccoli. The previous time, I was preserving moose. In both cases I was doing a whole lot of sealing. One sink-load of water becomes inconsequential in that scenario.

sickdog74 (author)2015-09-01

Sweet! I've been sucking the air out like a filthy animal. This is more civilized!

Moose Dr (author)sickdog742015-09-01

I think the reason this works so well is that it expels the air from the bottom up. Vacuum sealers end up with trapped pockets of air because they suck from the top down. They address this problem with micro-ribs in the bags to prevent trapped air. The suck-a-straw method surely has the same problem.

nytowl520 (author)2015-08-31

A very easy way around having to pay ridiculous prices for a vacuum sealer! Will have to start doing it this way!

(My old way was to try to "suck" the air out myself, and it was always a pain, and not exactly hygienic!)

stenbuecken (author)2015-08-30

Great idea!

Terry de Boer (author)2015-08-28

Wow! what a great idea. I never would have thought of it, but now I can't wait to try it!

Thejesterqueen (author)2015-08-28

Inexpensive and it works! Takes a little longer than just sucking the air out with my mouth, so I will be using it for meats and other things that I won't use my mouth for

shreekulkarni (author)2015-08-28

Great idea

nathanaloysiusbash (author)2015-08-28

Wow! great results!

crapflinger (author)2015-08-27

wonder if using a denser liquid would be even better? likely wouldn't make that much of a difference...obviously don't try it with a sink full of mercury

ooops! too late!

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