I was planning to make my first product review about some of the food samples I’ve received from Foodbuzz.com, but I thought it’d be nice to switch gears for a bit and talk about one of the tools that helps me out quite a bit in the kitchen: the Reynolds Handi-Vac.
Those of you who frequently buy in bulk are probably very familiar with the wonders of vacuum sealers. They allow you to store and freeze things like produce, meat, leftovers, etc., for longer than you’d be able to keep them in the fridge or at the mercy of freezer burn. You can also store dry goods and not have them go stale as quickly. The space you save in your cupboards and freezer is an added bonus as well. But what happens when you don’t have a large family and don’t need to buy food in huge quantities, yet still want to save something for later? I used to go through this a lot with certain meats I’d buy, since I only cook for one or two and don’t need to cook an entire London Broil all at once. And what if you’re like me and have a kitchen the size of a thumbtack? One of the conventional vacuum sealers could solve the freeze-and-save-for-later dilemma, but where could it possibly be stored? You can’t really vacuum seal a vacuum sealer to shrink it for easy storage (though that’d be kind of interesting to see). And then there’s the price. Though I could see the need for this type of gadget, I’m not always in the position to spend $40-50 on what I’d consider a luxury. Heck, after I pay my rent I’m usually left with that amount of money and have to make it stretch for 2 weeks, so fun kitchen toys are not always on my shopping list.
Fortunately, the folks at Reynolds came up with what I think is a wonderful solution. They created a compact, hand-held mini-vacuum sealing system that works beautifully. It comes with both gallon and quart-sized bags that are specifically designed for the Handi-Vac and starts at a mere $9.99 at most grocery stores and places like Target. Ridiculously simple to use, all you do is put the food in the bag, seal the zippered part, place the vacuum sealer on the suction point of the bag and wait a few seconds for your items to be vacuumed sealed. It’s a little noisy, but other than that it’s a perfect little gadget. Measuring only about 7”, you’ll find it’s also pretty easy to store. Extra bags are available for around $3 in both sizes as well.
The only drawback I find is that the bags are not reusable. I’m okay with the reason: sanitary issues require that one dispose of the bags after they’ve been used, especially when they’ve been used for meat products. It would just be nice if you could reuse the bags at least once to save on cost & waste. But all in all, it’s a very useful gadget and the price is right. Someday I’ll graduate to a bigger kitchen and appliances; for now, this little Handi-Vac makes a world of difference for a Poor Girl like me. :)