When I was a child, if you had told my mother - my saintly, longsuffering mother - that I would grow up to be someone who was interesting in preserving food, growing a garden, and hunting down heirloom tomato varieties, I am quite certain she would have laughed in your face. I was, after all, a wild child - I think the term in those days was "strong willed" - a crazed bundle of nervous energy with, to put it kindly, an "artist's temperment." I couldn't be bothered to learn to walk, read, or sew. I steadfastly resisted learning to make my bed, clean my room, put my dirty clothes in the hamper (confidential to Mom & Sis: remember the story of the little girls who had to go to school in their nighties?). Gardening? Please! That was too close to work! I should mention that I still had to work in the garden, and I think I learned to like it at some point, because I do remember it fondly, and am glad for the education. No, I was destined to be a lady of leisure, or a writer, I had an overactive imagination that kept me busy concocting long and intricate stories. Oh, weird children. At least we make interesting adults.
Why do I start here? Well, to give hope to you parents. Whenever I meet parents of wild kids - and I don't mean poorly reared brats, I mean naturally wild children - I always try to reassure them that their creative children will eventually grow up to be perfectly reasonable adults. They might still be odd ducks, but they don't need to be medicated within an inch of their lives to make them mangeable. They'll be fine. Of course, to the parents of some of my friends, I might not be considered a "success," being that I have yet to cross that 6-figure income threshold, and don't wear a power suit to work every day. Fortunately, I don't have those parents. Oh, did I get too personal? You know how I'm prone to digression. Is digression a word? Hold, please. Yes, it is, indeed, a word.
All of this meandering to get to today's point. I have purchased a FoodSaver. And a freezer. A big one. (Husband cheerfully noted, whilst standing in Lowe's, that we could both fit into it if need be. I'll try not to think of circumstances in which I might need to be frozen.) This means, I can "put things by" (don't you just love archaic phrases?) and still be eating locally in the wintertime! I'm giddy with the thought. Husband is just happy because this means the freezer in our kitchen can be completely devoted to popsicles. And gin. So far, I love the FoodSaver. I have to admit, I'm not really one to buy something which has previously been hawked on infomercials, but having been in the restaurant business for awhile, I know how nice a vaccuum sealer can be. I have been vaccuuming anything willing to sit still and have the air sucked from it. Croissants don't so well, just for the record, must use the "pulse" setting for that.
Things which have been vaccuumed: goldfish crackers, coffee beans, bread, safety pins (just out of curiosity), aforementioned croissant,
Things which have been vaccuumed and frozen: green beans, sausages, berries of all manner (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries), cherries, peaches, broccoli, canned tomatoes, homemade stock, sweet corn, zucchini, baby squash, and a few ready-made entrees.
The nice thing about the foodsaver bags is they can be placed in boiling water. So, I blanched sweet corn for 3 minutes, cut it from the cob, and put it in a bag with salt, pepper, and a pat of butter. Then, on a dreary Tuesday sometime in February, I can put it in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes, cut open, and voila! Instant side dish. Same thing goes for the short ribs Husband made a few nights ago (recipe forthcoming).
Dear FoodSaver: Please feel free to send me free freezer bags and other accessories, in exchange for free adverts.
If I buy a dehydrator, you'll know I've officially lost my mind.
I bought this Tilla FoodSaver model at Costco. I would recommend buying one with a "pulse" mode, especially for things which are juicy or easily crushed. It cost $140, but came with 3 canisters and 2 rolls of bag material. There is a similar model available at Target, which costs $170 but doesn't have the pulse feature or the canisters. I think I paid about $40 for 8 rolls of bag material at Costco at the same time, 2 rolls of 8 inch wide bags, and 6 rolls of 11 inch "bags." This is way cheaper than the bags at Target. You can also use bags made by competing brands of vaccuum sealers. I hope that helps!