So you might find this kind of amusing, but I am a zip-loc-aholic I’ve used more ziplocs than probably most small towns. I know… the landfills, right ? Sorry. They just work so well, for a million things.
But anyway, I just wanted to go over a few things that might not have been mentioned about using freezer bags (not the regular weight storage bags) for SV.
First off, you want to be really careful not to get seasonings on the zipper. This can… no, this WILL prevent it from properly sealing. Now, what you can do, is to turn the top edge inside out so that you can more easily avoid the zipper when putting your seasoned meat in the bag, “however” with the top edge turned inside out, you need to be really gentle, as overspreading the corners of the zipper, can also cause leaks. If you do accidentally get a little seasoning on the zipper, again with the zipper folded inside out, you can carefully run a small stream of water over it, to wash it right out. Wiping it out will totally not work, and risks damaging the zipper.
Also, do NOT use the type with the little square plastic zipper. Those are made for people who are ziploc ‘challenged’… not SV’ers lol
Watching out for this stuff, I still always double bag everything for SV, but I have yet to have had any of my bags leak.
Oh and BTW, if its any other brand of zip bag, other than Ziploc, it probably sucks ! I learned that way back, and haven’t used any other brand since. And no, I don’t work for Ziploc, but maybe I should
I bought a bunch of them when I first started, but stopped using them after the first couple of tries. They were impossible to reuse as they just wouldn’t clean completely after cooking steaks, they didn’t hold the vacuum for very long in the freezer, they were very expensive compared to the “embossed bag stock” version.
They went in a cupboard along with the suction valve machine, and I got a external vacuum sealer and embossed bag stock.
Now, I have a chamber vacuum and use plain (but food grade) bags and am glad to see that my bag supplier in the UK is prototyping biodegradable sous vide bags (which currently aren’t considered freezer safe, unfortunately).
Get a good quality vacuum sealer (the cheap ones are crap) and embossed bag stock rolls, they are so much better than ziplocs!
I used freezer Ziploc bags when I first started some 5 years ago, and was clipping the bags to the edge of a pot, but switched to FoodSaver zipper bags, with the vacuum port ,not long after. They’re sturdier bags, with better zippers. The freezer Ziplocs tended to seep at the ends of the zipper if they slipped a little on my rack and the zipper went slightly under the water level.
Why in the world would you try to reuse them ? They are disposable ? Granted, with the outer bag, which did not actually have food in it, we dry those off, and reuse them for something else, but not another Sous Vide.
I would probably end up getting a good quality vacuum sealer "IF I was having any problems whatsoever with freezer Ziplocs, double bagged. But I’ve done several so far, and none have even leaked from the first, to the second bag…
Expensive, you said ? I think 50 for $7 is very reasonable. And as for convenience, I never run out of Ziplocs anyway And honestly, walking into our local Wal Mart, I think they are only $5.95… and obviously, no S&H
On my first couple SV’s I was trying to clip the zipper above the water line, and that worked, but was a little bit of a PITA. Then I got the little stainless rack, that holds my bags vertically, so the that the excess bag tries to stand straight up anyway. Its does kind of lay over on the surface of the water, and inevitably, whatever tiny bit of air I was not able to get out, rises there too, so that keeps the top edge floating above, instead of sinking.
In any case, I often go and lift the corner of my silicone cover, and take a glance to make sure the water in my SV tub is crystal clear (no leaks) and so far, it has been crystal clear for the entire SV cooking
Just to reiterate, freezer Ziplocs (in Ziploc brand) have a 100% success record for me so far. They are cheap. And they are easy to get a really good vacuum in (with the straw method). I don’t think the submersion method works so great… maybe that, along with a straw too.