At this time of year, we can all end up wasting food in an orgy of over-buying. So, we try out a gadget that keeps food fresher for longer in the fridge, the fiendishly clever FoodSaver Fresh Preservation system  FFS010

Whether it’s salad bag that’s gone all slimy, some cheese that’s a science experiment or fresh fruit that’s grown a fur coat, we’ve all found something sinister in our fridges from time to time.

And what about those leftovers? The extra portions of pasta, the soup you made too much of and the stew that was a surfeit? Throwing it in the bin is a bit of a waste but the fridge usually does it no favours. The new FoodSaver Fresh Preservation system FFS010 offers a convenient way to keep fresh or cooked produce up to twice as long, without resorting to the freezer, and it does it all by vacuum.

Foodsaver pro machines have been around a while, efficiently vac-packing just about anything ready for the freezer or the sous-vide. But for the home user they’re a bit of a space hog and rather fiddly to use.

The new FoodSaver Fresh Preservation system FFS010 has a very small counter footprint and couldn’t be easier to deal with. It works uniquely with Foodsaver boxes and bags and takes just a few steps to do its job.

Take the boxes, for example. Put in your foodstuff, close the lid with its rubber seals, place the box on the easy to locate raised target spot, lower the adjustable vac head to press against the valve and press the green lit button. A few seconds of noise from the compressor and you see the indicator on the box go down as the vacuum establishes and then it’s done.

You know it’s a strong vacuum as there is no way the lid wants come off, the only way to open the box again is to press the button on the lid to release the vacuum and let air in.

You can now put it in the fridge. The crystal-clear boxes are made from a very strong type of plastic, which mean it’s easy to see what’s in there and they stack nice and neatly.

Being square they also work more efficiently on space than a round bowl covered in sloppily applied clingfilm; yes, we’ve all done it. Of course, as it’s a tight seal on the box no smells get in or oat, preserving the purity of whatever is inside. We also tried using the bags. These are a special kind of bags that are sealed with a double ziploc and have a valve built in.

Again, lay the bag on the target zone, lower the vac head all the way to make contact and press the button. You can see the air leave the bag in seconds. The bags come with the Foodsaver, and you can buy more. In fact, there’s probably no need to get any more as they wash out easily and can be reused scores of times.

Foodsaver recommend that you keep one uniquely for raw meat only though, to avoid any risks of cross-contamination. And while the bags are great for hard cheeses, soft ones don’t survive the pressure all that well.

Having one of these always on the counter encourages you to make double portions of things like stews and chillies and put the other half away for later in the week. It’s always good to know there’s something cheap tasty ready to reheat for when you get home late. 

It will also keep your office lunch fresher all the way to mid-day, too

And it’s a money saver as well, you can take advantage of those 2 for1 deals and vac up the extra when you get home.

Motorise Your Marination

Another trick it has up its sleeve is to speed up marination. Most of us have picked a great recipe only to find the dreaded’marinade overnight’ note, when in fact we need to begin cooking in three hours.

No problem. Just place your meat and marinade in a Foodsaver box, vac, wait a minute, release vac, vac again wait and release and repeat this about five times.

Each time the meat fibres will open up under the vacuum to allow the marinade in, then close around the marinade when the vacuum is released. The overall effect is the marinade is massaged into the meat, achieving in about ten minutes what might have taken ten hours.

Brilliant for BBQs, letting you quickly turn even the most boring cuts into something special even after a last minute.

Suck it and see

The FoodSaver Fresh Preservation system FFS1010 is perhaps a little pricey but looking around it can be found for a lot less than advertised. And while both bags and boxes are not cheap either, both can be reused again and again. It comes with 5 x 0.95L Vacuum Zipper Bags and 1 x 700ml Fresh Container

Ask for one for Christmas, you can keep Santa’s mince pies fresher next year.Note: The FFS1010 is not suitable for preparing food for sous vide and should not be used for that purpose. Sous vide requires heat-sealed bags

www.foodsaver.co.uk  Available at Amazon and Lakeland and Currys among others