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Ways to Use a FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer That Have Nothing to Do With Food

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My vacuum sealing machine is one of my favorite kitchen appliances. I vacuum seal fresh fruit to extend the use by at least two weeks, often much longer. I vacuum-seal meat before I freeze it to stave off freezer burn, which keeps it perfect for a year or longer. I could go on and on about how my FoodSaver (www.everydaycheapskate.com/foodsavervacuum) saves our food bill, but today I want to tell you all the ways I use the thing that have nothing to do with food!

But first, two general vacuum-sealing tips:

CONVENIENCE

I’ve learned through trial and error that for my FoodSaver to work at maximum efficiency it has to be handy. It cannot be stuck in a cupboard or on a pantry shelf. If I have to make the smallest effort to get it out and plug it in, I stop using it because I forget, or it’s such a hassle I decided to skip using it “just this one time.” My FoodSaver has to sit on the counter with nothing obstructing it — always plugged in and ready to go. And the bags have to be equally handy. I keep them in the drawer immediately below the counter where FoodSaver resides.

REUSING BAGS

If you are going to be storing items repeatedly (take hamburger buns for example — I seal a dozen, but then open it to remove the number I need and reseal the bag) make sure to start with a larger than necessary pouch the first time. This way, you can open by cutting off the seal, and then reseal for another time or two. If you’re storing dry goods (not food), simply reuse a bag for another item if it becomes too small for your original intended use. They don’t have to be trashed after one use. You can also wash bags and dry thoroughly to use for other food storage.

SILVER

I vacuum seal anything that tarnishes that I do not use on a daily basis, such as sterling silver flatware, silver trays and bowls. By removing the air, the items do not tarnish because the enemy (oxygen) has been locked out. This protects my silver things from harsh polishes and protects my time. I hate to polish silver.

COINS

All of my commemorative and other coins are safely vacuum sealed. This protects their integrity and collectible value. Because the bags are clear and I seal them in a single layer, their beauty is visible.

JEWELRY

If you do not wear it regularly, vacuum seal your jewelry — costume as well as finer pieces. It keeps these precious possessions clean, sparkling and at their peak of beauty. And when you’re ready to wear them, no polishing or cleaning required. They’re ready to go.

PHOTOGRAPHS

I have precious, antique photos sealed for protection. Note: I do not vacuum the air out, however, using the seal-only feature so that the vacuuming process doesn’t cause transfer of the photo to the plastic.

DOCUMENTS

Open oxygen is the enemy of old paper. By sealing (seal only) family heirloom documents, I’m protecting their longevity.

WATERPROOF

I use my FoodSaver to create waterproof pouches for money, maps and more for camping or emergencies.

PASSPORTS

Vacuum-seal your passports before putting them into the safe. This keep them dry and mold-free. (Lots of moisture can show up inside a locked and sealed safe, which is why just about everything in mine is vacuum sealed.)

AMMO

Ammunition needs to be kept dry. There is no better way to do that than with a FoodSaver. Vacuum sealing removes the oxygen and keeps moisture out. A simple way to do this is to take a FoodSaver bag and fill it with loose ammo and then vacuum seal it. Store it in your bug-out bag or ammo cans. You can also take a prefilled magazine and vacuum seal it.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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