Derek’s Tech Talk Tuesday: The FoodSaver FM5000 Series Vacuum Sealer
I do love a good household gadget. I don’t deny that the novelty of some of them does wear off quicker than others. So, something that is both fun and functional is more likely to maintain my attention for a longer time. You might recall my new coffee mill that I reviewed previously?
At Christmas time Christa, my wife, treated me to a FoodSaver vacuum sealer that she bought on a great deal. I since did some research on the units only to discover that the FM5000 series was a fairly significant upgrade on the unit she had spoiled me with. With her approval I returned the unopened Christmas gift and ordered the newer model from Costco at a small $25 premium to my returned Christmas gift.
The FoodSaver vacuum sealer allows me to vacuum seal break-bulk, leftover or baked perishable food items in vacuum bags or containers. This significantly extends the life of the food and minimizes food waste. Upon learning some sealing and storage tricks, it’s well-suited to
- freezing meat, fish
- freezing or refrigerating hard cheeses (blocks or grated)
- freezing fresh vegetables or fresh fruit
- freezing or storing baked goods
- storing powdery foods like coffee
- freezing liquids (e.g. soup, stock, broth, etc.)
- preparing lunchtime snacks, sandwiches and leftovers
It’s also great for storing non-food items such as
- infrequently used silverware to prevent it from tarnishing
- creating a waterproof package for keeping items for outdoor excursions dry, such as matches, maps, batteries, camera memory cards or even a change of clothes!
The options and uses are diverse. So, here are a few things I have discovered about my FoodSaver.
The downside of the FM5000 series
While the upgraded version does have the disadvantage of being a little bulkier than some of its smaller predecessors which affects ease of storage, I wouldn’t leave the unit occupying premium countertop real estate anyway. It’s not a daily use appliance (in my household), so I choose to store it in an easy-to-access kitchen cupboard.
This introduces a potential further disadvantage: that of being “out of sight, out of mind”. The trick with maintaining interest in the appliance is that I need to ensure I create reason to use it at every opportunity.
For those who hate creating landfill waste, you might dislike the fact that you’re generating more plastic waste with the bags you custom-create from the vacuum seal roll. There are storage container solutions that FoodSaver offer, but these come at a premium price and need to be bought separately.
Having addressed these minor disadvantages, let me launch into what I love about this appliance.
The upside of the FM5000 Series
This appliance is sleek and pretty cool looking. It comes in a black, stainless steel or white finishes, depending on the model type.
One key design feature that was a strong selling point to me from the get-go is that the vacuum sealing roll slides into an easy-to-access open roll storage space where it is always visible so you can see how much material remains on your roll. You don’t want to be tucking the roll away in a compartment where you can’t monitor it and where it may run out on you part-way through a bulk storage operation!
Two key operating features that drew me to this particular model are the PulseVac feature and the Marinate feature.
The PulseVac button enables me to be in control of the amount of air that is removed from the food pouch that I am wanting to seal. So, if I’m attempting to vacuum seal some home made baking that might become deformed or damaged if I evacuate the bag completely, I can use the PulseVac button to evacuate the air until just before it starts to deform the contents. I can then stop the vacuum and initiate the sealing process without damaging the food. Those fragile cookies or sugar art items can now remain intact but not get stale! It’s also great for vacuum sealing pre-grated cheese and not suctioning the contents into a solid blob!
The marinate feature is my other favourite. Should you forget to marinate your meat overnight, the FoodSaver marinate function will allow you to achieve the same results as an overnight marinate within 30 minutes! The downside is that you will need to purchase the specialized marinating containers with lids that are fitted with the vacuum valve. You can, no doubt, just vacuum seal your meat with the marinate in a bag and get similar results, but the FoodSaver containers are more suited and convenient for this purpose!
The appliance comes with a very handy – quite literally – retractable hand-held sealing accessory that is used for vacuum sealing purpose-designed FoodSaver reusable ziploc bags, containers and even corked bottles. Each of these are accessories to the appliance and will need to be bought separately if they didn’t come bundled with your device.
I am still becoming familiar with my new toy and its functionality. I am playing with ways to try to optimize bagging, sealing and minimize packaging waste. One learns over time what works best for what purpose.
On the whole, I frequently buy bulk meat packs from Costco, break it down into smaller portion packs and freeze them separately for use later. I might pre-marinate or pre-season some of these. My FoodSaver will now enable me to do this equally easily. I’m expecting that it may even aid in minimizing freezer burn of some of my perishables.
I anticipate that I’ll be intentional about using it as often as I can, while also remaining on the lookout for deals on some of the accessory containers that I can scoop up and include in our kitchen container repertoire. This will, no doubt, introduce ease of storage and diversity of use of the appliance, ensuring that it doesn’t get forgotten in the kitchen storage cupboard!