Another look to see if FoodSaver saves you money
I was reading this months Costco Connection and found a piece about preserving food. It probably shouldn't surprise anyone that Costco would want to promote it's products for sealing and saving food. With this kind of natural bias, I thought that I'd take everything I see with a grain of salt. Still I thought it was worth a look...
In particular I'd like to look at what they said about the FoodSaver. Costco mentioned this study from University of Arizona. It's a shame that the study doesn't seem to be in a text I could easily scan. You have to listen to the podcast. (Note to Publishers: Podcasts should always be accompanied with a text version when they are made for the web). The article also mentioned that Foodsaver preserves food up to 5 times longer citing a study by the University of California at Davis' Department of Food Science and Technology. Having preserved romaine lettuce for more than a month, I can believe it.
But is Foodsaver a good value?
If you are like the people who throw away $600 worth of food a year from the Costco study, you may think it is immediately worth it. I found that it's not quite that simple. You have to actually use the Foodsaver. It sounds easy, but a lot of the time I tell myself that I will eat the leftovers tomorrow. More often than I like, I lie to myself. When I use it, it does a good job.
The other issue to consider is the packaging materials. When we got the Foodsaver we bought bags - a good amount of bags on Ebay. I tried to save money and got generic bags. The ones I got don't seal as well as the real thing. Finally, I realized that the best solution is simply to get a Foodsaver jar sealer and head to Michael's (or other craft store) and some wide mouth mason jars. Now once a week, I cook up some chicken, steak, and hamburger, cut it into small pieces and jar it. During the week, it's really easy to make burritos, tacos, chicken Caesar salads, spaghetti with meat sauce... and I'm sure a slew of other things that I haven't thought of. I like that the jars are a one-time cost and keep our carbon footprint small (vs. using and throwing out the bags).
In the end, I think the Foodsaver can save you money, but like most anything you have to have discipline. It doesn't always help just to have the tool available. Actually using the tool correctly is the key.
Photo Credit: webg33k
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