This One Item Dramatically Cut Down Our Food Waste
Can you guess what it is?
I really hate wasting food. It's one of my biggest pet peeves. My husband teases me for leaving restaurants with a to-go box that's bigger than my remaining portion of food. When I got the opportunity to review the NutriChef vacuum sealer, I didn't immediately think it would help with my food waste aversion.
After about of month of testing, though, it became clear that not only did the NutriChef cut down on food waste, but it kept my leftovers fresher longer. I've yet to see freezer burn on any of my vacuum-sealed food. Below, I listed out some pros, cons and overall takeaway from my time with the NutriChef, plus some additional thoughts from other editors who tried it.
This is sort of an unexpected bonus, but I actually loved the wine preserver that came with the NutriChef. Wine bottles don't disappear as quickly at my house anymore now that I'm pregnant, and my husband is the only one drinking. So, the preserver attachment was actually very handy! You can even use it to reseal other liquids like oil and vinegar.
I loved using the vacuum sealer for preserving herbs. I can't tell you how many times I end up with more chopped cilantro than I need. This sealer takes care of awkward leftover amounts by compressing them into one small bag devoid of air. No more browning, slimy herbs!
Healthy cooking isn't such a chore when fresh, pre-packaged food is accessible. "This vacuum sealer is a game-changer for meal prepping," said editor Laura James. "Instead of cooking meals on Sunday that will only last a few days in the refrigerator, I've been able to cook several healthy dishes, portion them out, vacuum seal and store in the fridge and freezer for up to five times longer."
Marinating and meat preservation was much easier. There's no need to worry about leaks or air contamination with vacuum-sealed bags. Regular plastic zip-top bags just don't keep marinades concentrated on the meat which means less liquid permeates the meat.
Freezer burn is a problem of the past. "Unlike unsealed meals stored in regular plastic bags, the vacuum-sealed food didn't develop freezer burn," Laura observed.
It saves space. Most of the time, my fridge is stacked full of glass storage containers of food. Because vacuum-sealed bags of food lay flat or stack neatly on end, I now have more usable space in my refrigerator and freezer.
The sealer itself is actually pretty compact. I am a neat freak, clutter-controller. Before a new kitchen gadget enters our house it must be small, useful and/or multipurpose. The NutriChef vacuum sealer checked all of those boxes. It's slender and requires very few accessories. Since it can seal, vacuum seal and reseal pretty much anything, it's kind of a staple item for conscious food-wasters.
While the vacuum sealer helped me quit throwing out so much food, it created another problem: more plastic waste. I'm a religious user of reusable bags and generally avoid plastic as much as I can. It made me uncomfortable using and tossing so many plastic bags. (Readers, if there's an alternative option, please tell me about it!) I suppose the bags could be reused, depending on what was previously sealed in them, but I wouldn't cross-contaminate, for example, sealing veggies in a bag that held meat.
Overall, I was impressed with this vacuum sealer. As I said before, I always hesitate to bring in new kitchen items, but this one proved to be a worthy addition. I use it sparingly only because I don't like using plastic. The resealer attachment is a great tool to keep liquids from spoiling and for removing excess air from containers. And at just $55, this is kind of a no-brainer buy.
"The vacuum sealer basically pays for itself," Laura said. "I don’t have to feel bad about wasting leftovers, spending too much money at restaurants or eating unhealthy fast food. It gets five stars from me!"
Happy vacuum-sealing, folks!