Test Kitchen Essential Tool, Part 2

Like many busy people with families and increasingly little time, I do a good deal of my shopping in bulk. I've got my over-stock cabinets above the coat closet and my freezer in the basement, and both get lots of use.

A number of years ago, Seal-a-Meal was in heavy rotation on the infomercial circuit.  It's basically a vacuum that sucks out all the air from heavy-duty food-storage bags intended for the freezer.  I thought it was just about the stupidest piece of equipment ever.   Who needs this junk? Just go shopping, I thought (pre-kids, of course). But when we covered the product at the magazine shortly after that and I had the chance to actually try it out, I quickly changed my tune.  The bags protect even the most delicate meat from freezer burn for up to a year. Seal-a-Meal has become an indispensable tool in my home kitchen and the test kitchen as well. With many on the market, there are a lot of choices.

Of course, the whole sous-vide craze (sous-vide is gently poaching in vacuum-sealed bags) legitimized Seal-a-Meal's use by chefs and hipsters alike (neither of whom, I can assure you, feeds a family of five after working a busy day cooking for an editorial staff of seven).

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