The Reynolds Handi-Vac Vacuum Food Storage System (RHV) is a wonderful product. I use my vacuum sealer ALL-THE-TIME. Freezing make ahead recipes using the RHV helps to preserve the texture and appearance of my family’s favorite foods.
When I mention using a vacuum sealer for freezing, I am surprised at how many people think they are either too expensive, or too much of a hassle to use and to operate. This is not the case with the RHV vacuum sealer.
RHV- Where and How Much
The RHV is an economically priced, hand-held vacuum sealer that removes air from the specially designed Reynold’s food bags. To purchase an RHV, look no further than your grocery store. The RHV is conveniently available at most major grocery stores and mass retailers like Walmart and Target. The RHV is located with the storage bags and wraps in the storage bags isle. The average cost of a vacuum sealer starter kit is $9.99 and the kit includes 3 quart size vacuum food bags. A carton of 14 quart size bags or 9 gallon size bags is approximately$3.29.
RHV- How to Use
Before freezing, I recommend writing the food item’s name, the date and the cooking instructions either right on the bag or on a freezer bag label, that you stick to the bag to save you from having to find the cooking instructions on the recipe later. Once you’ve done that, just fill and seal your vacuum food bag as you would a regular zipper storage bag. The Reynolds bags have a maximum fill line. With the bag lying flat on the counter, make sure there is no food above the maximum fill line or directly under the air value. Next, press the vacuum sealer tip against the air valve and press the on button to remove air from your bag. When the bag is tight around the food, release the on button. Quick-as-a-wink, your food is vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer.
I freeze appetizers such as crab melts and pizza bites using the RHV sealer. When I am ready to cook, I take the appetizers right out of the freezer and vacuum sealed bag, and put them directly into the oven for a quick broil time of 8 minutes. I use the RHV sealer when freezing sweet and spicy meatballs, and when I plan to serve these, I thaw, remove from the freezer bag and reheat in the microwave for a quick bite to eat on busy nights.
Freezing Cookie Dough
I use the flash freezing method for freezing cookie dough. (You may refer to my April, newsletter/article, How to Flash Freeze Make Ahead Cookies, by clicking on my website in my resources box. ) The RHV sealer is very handy for freezing cookie dough. If you don’t want to use all of the frozen cookie dough at once, you may take what you need and reseal the bag. For fresh baked cookies every time, that’s convenient.
If you’ve tried freezing breads using a plain freezer bag or plastic wrap, you may have found that once thawed, your bread was maybe a little freezer burned and didn’t really taste so great. It’s okay! The RHV will change the way you feel about freezing bread! Whether I bake banana bread, cinnamon bread, blueberry bread or our family favorite, strawberry bread, I have used the RHV sealer to freeze these and many more breads and have had great results. After baking two loaves of bread (many of my bread recipes will yield two loaves) I wait until they are completely cooled. Next, I wrap them in plastic wrap before placing them in a vacuum bag to freeze. This way, when I am ready to take them out of the vacuum sealed bags to thaw, the breads are already wrapped and ready to eat in about 4 hours. Also, by wrapping the bread in saran wrap first, the freezer bag stays clean and may be reused. Even if they do need cleaning, the vacuum bags may be washed and reused. Breads are great, economical, yet thoughtful gifts to give, especially around the holidays. Once you’ve tried the RHV for freezing breads, you’ll be hooked, and thrilled, when you have a loaf of bread handy in your freezer for whatever the occasion.
Several of my main dish recipes and soups can be cooked first and then frozen using the vacuum bags and the RHV sealer. These are easily and quickly defrosted and reheated in the microwave for speedy mid-week meals. These main dishes include: pulled pork, sloppy joes, meatballs and gravy, spaghetti sauce with meatballs and sausage and taco meat. Beef stew, chicken and spinach tortellini soup, hearty chili and Italian wedding soup are soups that I freeze using the RHV sealer. For other main dish recipes, I assemble the ingredients ahead and use the RHV sealer to freeze the meal before cooking. These include lasagna, chicken cannelloni, taco lasagna, chicken and spinach stuffed shells and chicken enchiladas. I allow 24 hours for these meals to defrost in the refrigerator and then I bake according to the recipe’s directions. The RHV is perfect for maintaining the freshness of marinated meats like teriyaki chicken, Thai chicken thighs, London Broil Strips and marinated steak. For turkey and hamburger patties, the RHV sealer truly maintains the food’s freshness and appearance. When freezing foods, the RHV sealer is a must-have tool for your kitchen. For make ahead meals, appetizers, soups, breads and cookies, the fresh and delicious taste of my foods comes through every time.