Friday, January 18, 2008

Reynolds Handi-Vac: It Really Sucks, But That's a Good Thing

One of the things on my sister-in-law's Christmas wish list was a food sealer, a contraption that seals your food inside plastic in order for it to last longer in your freezer. I'd seen them on TV but always thought they were a waste of money. Why not just put the food in a ziploc bag and suck the air out with your mouth, or with the vacuum cleaner like normal people do?

So when I received the Reynolds Handi-Vac to try out, I saw that they liked my way as well, although theirs is maybe slightly more sanitary. The Handi-Vac is a breeze and works like this: put your food (chicken breasts that have NOT been sitting in your van for three days, for example) inside the special, reusable vacuum freezer bag, seal the zipper, and press the tip of the Handi-Vac flat against the air valve on the bag. Press the 'On' button and extract the air from the bag. Repeat with the other ninety pounds of chicken breasts you've purchased from Costco.

The food sealers that I've seen are big and bulky and take up a lot of counter space, which is a big deal if you're like me and barely have room on your counter to slice an apple because of all the coffee makers and copies of People magazine laying around. The Handi-Vac is small and easy to store - in fact it's only slightly larger than our ear thermometer, which no doubt will make for some hilarious stories the next time my husband's running a fever in the middle of the night and I go looking for the thermometer half asleep.

Also, the Handi-Vac is incredibly affordable. Some of the counter-top food sealers can run as high as $300, where the Handi-Vac can be bought, as a kit that includes the vacuum freezer bags, for $9.99 at Target. That's a savings of $290, which you can then spend elsewhere in the store, maybe on ten pairs of shoes or twenty Xhilaration purses.

Finally, the re-usable bags were a big attraction for me - other food sealers use rolls of plastic that can't be used again. I don't see why the landfills should suffer just because I bought enough steaks to last me until the next century, and now I need a hundred cubic yards of non-biodegradable matter to seal them away in.

If nothing else, go check out the cool demo that they've put together. I've watched it a couple of times, and now I'm going to have to go have a nice, fat T-bone steak. Maybe I've got one in my freezer.

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