Many of us prefer to buy in bulk. The reasons are obvious: it saves money and ensures we have a ready supply of cooking ingredients. The problem comes when it’s time to store all those extra foodstuffs.
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Food storage solutions are particularly necessary if you hunt game or fish. Hunting seasons are short, and you end up with a lot of one type of meat all at once.
One of the best means of preserving that extra venison or fresh fish is to use a vacuum sealer.
Here are my top picks for fish and game vacuum sealers. Check them out here at Amazon. They’ll keep your meats fresh for months – or years – to come!
Food storage solutions
Like any avid cook, I have an obsession with containers. Every time I shop for groceries, I end up in the food storage department going through the various shapes, sizes, and colors. It’s probably because I like to keep the kitchen organized—every piece of kit has its own designated container.
Whenever there are leftovers, I grab a container and in they go! However, many containers intended for food storage do a pretty lousy job at preserving food long-term. Plastic wrap and Tupperware are only going to get you so far, especially if you have a lot of meat.
Why shouldn’t I just stick to containers?
Okay, that’s probably the first question that popped into your mind. There are numerous methods available that promise to keep your food fresh in the fridge. Aluminum foil, containers, Ziploc bags, and plastic wraps are useful but, let’s face it, while they are effective solutions to storing food, they do not preserve our leftovers—be it cut tomato, cucumber, beef curry, fruit, or meat—for more than a couple days.
As such, a reliable vacuum sealer becomes highly indispensable wherever or whenever you need to store food for an extended period without affecting the quality. So, how does a vacuum sealer work?
How vacuum sealers preserve food
A vacuum sealer draws out all the air (along with its moisture) out of any canning jar or food storage pouch and then seals the opening completely shut. No moisture or oxygen around the food means the problem of mold, mildew, insect infestation, or microbes is nipped right in the bud. By the end of the process, you’re left with neatly packed food with 5 times the normal shelf life.
You can’t tell me that isn’t amazing!
Using a vacuum sealer to store meat in the freezer also ensures the sub-zero temperature slows down the enzyme reactions that occur inside perishables. As a result, you can keep meat fresh for months.
Most importantly, foods that are vacuum sealed do not suffer from freezer burn. This will be especially appreciated by people who like to store fish, meat, and poultry in bulk. Bargain shoppers and hunters rejoice!
Preserving meat is easier than you think! Read about the best pressure canners for canning meat.
Freezers can get cluttered fast. Unlike regular containers, vacuum sealed meats don’t take up an obscene amount of space.
Here is another benefit of using a vacuum sealer—it will take much less time for you to marinate fish or meat. Sealing the meat in with the marinade and refrigerating for 30-60 minutes is a lot faster than refrigerating overnight.
There’s more! Vacuum sealers aren’t just good for keeping food fresh. There are models available on the market that allow you to wrap artifacts, secret letters written by your ex, linens, magazines, and plenty of other household items that you want to protect from humidity and dust.
What should I look for when buying a vacuum sealer for fish and game?
Nowadays, you can find a vacuum sealer for every need of yours. But, it is important to have some insight as to what your needs are prior to buying one for your home.
Countertop or portable?
The first thing you need to ask yourself before you go vacuum sealer shopping is whether you are going to use it on-the-go or at home. If you want to use it at home, then you should consider a countertop model. These models can easily seal fruits (dried or otherwise), tasty meats, or fresh vegetables. Whatever your sealing needs are, the countertop model is your friend!
On the other hand, if you are looking at taking the vacuum sealer wherever you go, then a handheld model is best for you. However, this type of sealer is less efficient than the ones you can use at home. Because handheld vacuum sealers are portable, they require batteries to provide power. Additionally, you can only use a handheld vacuum sealer for zipper bag pouches. They don’t work quite as well when used in conjunction with sealable bags.
Flat or vertical?
When working with liquids, the upright sealer is an exceptional choice. The vertical orientation permits a number of models to be outfitted with a canister attachment that provides the suction for sealing bottles or canning jars. A flat vac sealer allows you to use bags of various sealing widths by simply adjusting the loading tray, but this is not always efficient when you want to pack foods with a high-liquid content. Click here to read about the best pressure canners for home canning.
Vacuum sealers are a great concept, and there are a lot of reasons to have one in your kitchen. Do keep in mind that the frequency of use, convenience features, and diversity of products associated with various models are merely a few pre-purchase considerations you will need to think about before you make a purchase.
So far, I’ve focused on sharing the benefits of owning a vacuum sealer for fish and game. That’s because the only potential downside of buying a vacuum sealer is the price. It can be very expensive to buy the a premium model but, with a bit of research, you can find an amazing model that also suits your budget.
That in mind, what is the best vacuum sealer for fish and game? To save you a little time and energy, I’ve compiled a list of some of the popular models on the market today.
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System
FoodSaver is one of the most recognizable brand names in the vacuum sealer market. Their starter kits are a great option for those new to the vacuum sealing game. The V2244 kit includes a 11″x 10″ heat seal roll, 3 quart-sized heat seal bags, 2 gallon-sized heat seal bags, and an accessory hose.
The compact size makes this a good basic choice for a home kitchen. It’s incredibly easy to use with a 3 step system. Just fill the bag and place the open end into the machine, lock the lid on the machine, and press the button. Voila! You’ve just vacuumed sealed your meat.
Not a lot of extras here, but maybe you don’t need them. Even better, the removable drip tray is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning. Use this for fish and game, but also meal prep, or preserving large dishes as well.
FoodSaver Vacuum Sealing System
For something that offers a little more than the previous system, check out the FoodSaver 2-in-1 model. You get all the perks of the other Foodsaver kit, but the 4840 also includes a built-in retractable handheld sealer that seals zipper bags, canisters, containers. This offers a little more versatility in terms of the size of what you can store.
What else makes this model special? The device features moist/dry food settings. You can seal liquids, such as bags of juice, milk, and other products that have a high fluid content. It also has a patented removable (and dishwasher safe!) drip tray and works great even on delicate food, like fruit.
Gourmia GVS435 – Stainless Steel Vacuum Sealer
I love versatility in my kitchen tools. Gourmia’s stainless steel sealer features 8 ways to preserve food: vacuum & seal, pulse, manual seal, canister, gentle, moist, normal & dry. You can use it to preserve game, but it also has settings for delicate foods, like bread, or even liquids.
One great thing about this brand is that it can be paired with generic bags, unlike the two above options, which will save you a substantial amount of money in the long run. It comes with a starter kit of a few bags to get you started though, so you’re saving money right away with this product.
This machine also comes in 3 sleek colors to match any kitchen decor, and has convenient LED indicator lights to let you know when your food is ready for storage.
VacMaster VP120 Chamber Vacuum Sealer
Now things are getting serious! If you need a real powerhouse of a vacuum sealer, the VacMaster can preserve a LOT of meat. Additionally, the 11.75″ x 11.5″ x 4″ chamber allows you to vacuum package liquid-rich foods. Venison stew, anyone?
This model is the priciest of the bunch, by far, but for the huntsman, it’s well worth the investment. It’s also perfect for sous vide cooking. It features a wide range of preset programming, as well as an automatic lid. With a huge capacity, you can vacuum seal and store almost any amount of food you could want!
FoodSaver FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum Sealing System
The FreshSaver cordless, handheld model is perfect for use with deli meats, cheeses, and other smaller foods stored in the fridge or pantry. The nozzle catches overflow liquids and is dishwasher-safe, so cleanup is a breeze no matter where you are.
If you own an RV, this model is great for those camping and fishing trips. It’s portable, convenient, and much cheaper than the other options listed here. It’s also extremely easy to use with a simple one-touch operation, and a cordless feature.
SOMOYA Vacuum Sealer
If you’re looking for a great deal that’s slightly off-brand, check out SOMOYA’s vacuum sealer for fish and game. A major advantage of this model is that it comes with 15 free bags – no need to buy them separately. It’s also compatible to use with other brands of vacuum sealer bags, which can save you a ton of money in the long run.
It’s slim design is perfect for smaller kitchens, or if you just want to save some counter space. It’s also got a quick and easy one touch operation with LED indicator lights when your food is set to be stored. Couldn’t be easier!
The only drawback to this machine, according to reviewers, is that it does not hold up well with liquid foods that you want sealed. They recommend drying out the food as much as possible before sealing, which may not be a huge hassle for you. If not, this is a great pick!
FoodSaver GameSaver Big Game Vacuum Sealing System
For big game vacuum sealing, look no further than the FoodSaver GameSaver. This heavy duty machine can handle up to 240 pounds of meat at a time. It has a replaceable foam gasket, which ensures the strongest seal possible, and can last well through about 80 consecutive seals if your meat is already sliced up. It produces an airtight seam for large bags with huge amounts of meat in them.
Another major plus of this machine is its portability. It has a 12 volt DC adapter that you can use with an RV, boat, pickup, and more to get it to work outdoors. It also has an extra large handle to make carrying this hefty machine easier and more comfortable.
In terms of performance, durability, and capacity, this machine is unbeatable for sealing up large amounts of game and fish. To boot, it has a removable drip tray that is dishwasher safe. This is an awesome option if you have a lot of large game to store.
If you want to use your sealer for a long period, then I recommend that you splurge a little bit. It will be worth it, especially if you have tons of foods like fish, meat, and poultry to store. The extended shelf life translates to huge savings, and a quality vacuum sealer will pay for itself in no time at all!
For more recommendations on products suitable for hunters, see my post on the best hunting knives made in the USA. You might want to check out my recommendations on the best coffee thermos for hunting. And here is my review of the best food dehydrators for backpacking, camping and hunting.
Did you know that vacuum sealers are also great for cooking sous vide? Click the link for information about which sealer is best for sous vide.