Reynolds Handi-Vac: Does it Work?

Reynolds Handi-Vac: Does it Work?
By: Lauren Keith

You requested it, and now I try it before you buy it in this week's Does it Work Wednesday test.  Dozens of you want to know if the new Reynolds Handi-Vac Vacuum Sealer really does eliminate freezer burn.
"It opens just like a regular freezer bag," says Kim Robinson, the co-owner of the Cup 'n' Cork cafe in Cape Girardeau.  
Kim co-owns the Cup 'n' Cork in downtown Cape Girardeau.  Besides the special coffees and wine on the menu, this cafe is also known for it's deli sandwiches, and Kim definitely knows how to serve fresh, quality lunchmeat.
"I've pushed out as much air as possible," says Kim as she seals a regular plastic storage bag with some roast beef slices in it.
Next, it's time to vacuum-seal using the Handi-Vac.
"Press the sealer flat against the bag and into the air valve, and wow! Look at that! That's easy! Awesome!" says Kim.
With the press of the button, the battery-powered Handi-Vac sucks the air right out of the special storage bag.  So far so good...and now Kim places both bags into her freezer. She'll call me when she sees the first sign of freezer burn on any of the roast beef.
"It'll be interesting, I'll say that," notes Kim.
That's for sure! Exactly two weeks later, I return and see freezer least in one of the bags of meat.
"The one in the Reynolds Handi-Vac bags fared pretty well. The meat still has a nice pink color. I'd definitely serve it.  The one in the regular plastic bag, however, did not fare so well," she says.  
I look at the meat and see the roast beef inside the Handi-Vac vacuum-sealed bags is fine.  The meat inside the regular storage bag looks more like beef jerky, and it's going in the trash!
"It could alter the flavor and the texture," notes Kim talking about the freezer burn on the regular meat.
She adds: the meat inside the Handi-Vac bags does have some ice crystals around it, but she says that good, pink color tells her this meat is still very fresh.
"Those ice crystals come from the natural moisture in the meat. It's still fresh and ready to eat once it's thawed," she says.
That means this product did "virutally eliminate freezer burn," just like its claim.  It's $10, batteries included, but to continue using it, you'll have to purchase the separate, special Handi-Vac bags. They're about a dollar more than plain freezer bags.
"A minus. Other than having to buy the replacement bags, I think I would make it a part of my kitchen utensils," says Kim.
Me, too. This Handi-Vac and its special bags are still much, much cheaper than other vacuum sealer systems. It stores a very fresh, A minus on this Does it Work test.  I bought it at Wal-Mart.  It's available in pint and quart size bags.