Monday, November 16, 2009

Sinister Plot

Those of you who have read a fair number of my blog posts know that the subject matter varies quite a bit, from raging political commentary to a bunch of nonsensical sentences strung together and sometimes it ain't easy to tell which one it is.

Today I am going to provide you with some helpful kitchen advice, making this the eclectic, all-purpose blog.

I'm sure you are all aware of the Food Saver device, the vacuum food packaging system that removes the air from your leftover food package to enable fresher, longer storage.

It is very expensive (at least to me it is).

A while ago I heard about a similar system made by Reynolds, the company that is best known for aluminum foil. Their method employed plastic bags, similar to the familiar Ziploc bags you see everywhere, except these bags had a tiny opening that allowed air to be sucked out of the bag and prevented it from going back in. The Reynolds system used a hand-held battery-operated device that you placed over the bag opening, pulled a trigger, and then the device sucked out all the air. The price was about $10.00 for the machine plus a few bags. A lot cheaper than a Food Saver and it accomplished the same purpose.

This worked well except that it was a little difficult to properly position the device on the bag. You had to place it just right in order for it to work. On top of that, it used up batteries fairly quickly.

Extra quart and gallon-sized bags were available at the store; we got ours at WalMart.

Then one day I couldn't find the bags. But there was a new kid in town: Ziploc was marketing a similar product. They had the same type of bag, but a manual vacuum pump mechanism. I bought some of the Ziploc extra bags to see if it worked with the Reynolds machine and yes, it did.

I'm wondering why the Reynolds items disappeared and Ziploc appeared, though. Some sort of legal action?

Then I remembered the VacuVin device I had stashed in a drawer that my cousin had given me a while back. In case you don't know what this is, it is a vacuum pump device that you use to preserve the remaining contents of a wine bottle (air oxidizes and ruins wine so you want to keep whatever you don't drink free of air) by placing a special rubber stopper in the bottle, then placing the VacuVin over the stopper and pumping out the air.

Why not use the VacuVin to pump the air out of the food bag? No batteries would be wasted. I tried it and it worked perfectly. In fact, as you can see from the picture below, the mouth of the VacuVin seems to be exactly the same size as the circle on the Ziploc bag that shows you where to place the pump.

The process works great. After using the pump it is obvious all the air has been sucked out of the bag because it form-fits around the contents. That's a good way to preserve lunchmeats - just use what you need, seal up the bag again and then suck out the air.




So that's your helpful kitchen hint! That vacuum pump (doesn't have to be a VacuVin but I just happened to have one) plus those extra bags make for a system of food preservation that works just as well as a Food Saver at much lower cost, and uses no electricity or batteries!

Now the problem: it seems to be very hard to find the extra bags anywhere. They seem to have disappeared off the shelves! And that's what the title of the blog is about because I am wondering if Food Saver had some sort of hand in getting this much lower-cost alternative removed from stores? First Reynolds disappears, now so does Ziploc. It's like the game of Clue. Colonel Food Saver killed the vacuum pumps in the WalMart room with a gaggle of attorneys.

But I could be totally wrong and am jumping to wild conclusions. It just seems strange to me that I can't find them anymore.

Whew, how could anyone write so much about so mundane a subject?




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