There are three main types of vacuum sealer machines on the market in Australia (see Types of Vacuum Sealers).
Chamber Vacuum Sealers are generally bulky, expensive machines manufactured for commercial kitchens and substantial usage.
Whereas, External (Suction) Vacuum Sealers and Handheld Vacuum Sealers are perfect for the home as they are comparatively inexpensive and small enough to stash away in a drawer or on a pantry shelf. There are pros and cons to both types of device, which we’ve detailed in this post.
It is important to note that if you decide to invest in an external/suction style vacuum sealer, we strongly recommend that you go for one with an accessory hose.
Read on and we’ll explain why.
What is a Vacuum Sealer Accessory Hose?
Sometimes called a vacuum sealer accessory port hose, an adaptor hose, an air suction hose or an attachment kit, it is simply a piece of piping that fits into a specially designed port in the body of the vacuum sealer machine. Once you turn the vacuum sealer on, air is sucked through the hose. Simple, right.
Why should you want an Accessory Hose?
Because this apparently uninteresting piece of plastic piping is the key to vacuum sealing a range of containers beyond a simple ziplock plastic bag.
A regular food vacuum sealer is great for sucking the excess air out of a plastic bag and heating the edges closed. But what if you want to seal a mason jar closed? Or a food container? Or a bottle of wine? Or even a reusable ziplock bag?
The brilliance of the adaptor hose is that it comes with a variety of attachments that allow you to seal all of those things.
The Advantages of Vacuum Sealing in Mason Jars
Sometimes, storing things in a jar is far easier than putting them in a bag.
If you want to store dried goods like uncooked beans, rice or nuts and keep them on your pantry shelf rather than taking up space in your freezer, jars are ideal as you can stack them and they look great all lined-up and ordered.
Another major win for storing in jars is that they are solid, not malleable. This makes them perfect for holding food that is stored in liquids, like pickled onions, or is partly runny, like jam. Trust me, if you put your pickled onions or strawberry jam in a vacuum sealer bag, things get messy rather quickly once you begin sucking out the air (along with the liquid/jam) from the bag.
And anyway, do you really want to scrape the contents of a marmalade jar into a plastic bag just so that you can store it for longer? It’s not the most appealing idea!
The Accessory Hose and the Mason Jar
With an accessory hose, you have a couple of options:
- Jar sealer kits – You can simply fix the suction hose into the top of the jar sealer attachment and vacuum the air out. And that’s it. Jar closed and food vacuum sealed until you want to use it again.
The downside of this is that you have to buy the right lids. Of course, many of the big vacuum sealer makers offer their own range of jars to go with their devices, but there are also a few generic brands on the market if you shop around. At the time of writing, the Ball Jar Wide Mouth range is consistently getting very positive feedback and is available in Australia.
Another thing to note is that many vacuum sealers offer at least 2 different sized jar sealers. This is because jars come with varying mouth widths – just compare your favourite brand of marmalade with the average jar of pickled onions and you’ll see what I mean. The FoodSaver Wide-Mouth Jar Sealer (and accessory hose) is an excellent solution to this problem.
- Vacuum sealer canisters – Another option is to take any regular jar that you wish to vacuum seal and then screw its lid on loosely. You then put the whole thing in a vacuum sealer canister, and suck all of the air out. This seals the jar closed until you pop it open at a later date.
The FoodSaver 3 Piece, BPA-Free Canister Set isn’t cheap, but you are paying for an excellent brand with a reliable track record and, importantly, it is available in Australia.
As I’ve already pointed out, vacuum sealer canisters can be comparatively expensive, but their versatility means that you can just about vacuum seal anything in them. If you’re into your food storage hacks, they are absolutely worth the investment.