A vacuum sealer is in the "Want, But Do Not Need" category in my small kitchen. One day, maybe, I'll get my hands on one. For now, when I need to package up a batch of berries or some stir-fry ingredients for the freezer and want to press as much air out of the plastic bag as I can, there are two tricks I keep up my sleeve.
My favorite way is to use a simple plastic straw to suck out as much air as I can. First, press out as much air as possible by hand, then insert the straw in a corner of the bag and seal the bag around it. Suck out the air through the straw until you see the bag collapse around the contents of the bag, then — while still maintaining suction — slowly pull out the straw and quickly seal the rest of the bag.
I recently learned a second method from Joe Yonan in his book Eat Your Vegetables. Joe suggests submerging the bag in a bowl of water and then sealing it up. The pressure of the water will push out the air and mold the bag around the food. This method requires less huffing and puffing, but you'll need to dry the bag thoroughly before putting it in the freezer.
While not as perfect as an actual vacuum sealer, reducing the amount of air in your freezer bags with either of these methods will help slow down freezer burn and keep foods at their best while in their frozen state.
Do you have another favorite method for "vacuum-sealing" your freezer bags?
(Image: Emma Christensen)