This doesn’t take care of longer term, but it certain adds to what was in the original article. If you own (or are considering getting) a FoodSaver machine, make sure to get and use the canning jar attachment(s) – one or both, depending on whether you want to use just wide mouth or that plus regular mouth jars. The cost of the plastic FoodSaver containers is quite high, but at just $10 for the wide mouth attachment plus all the canning jars you want to use (relatively inexpensive, and totally dishwasher safe), you can vacuum pack your food all you want, and it will keep far longer.
For example, we can get a two-pack of iceberg lettuce at Sam’s Club for just a bit over what a regular grocery store sells just one. While a head of lettuce does happen to require the very wide cylindrical FoodSaver plastic container, the principle is still the same – we wash the lettuce thoroughly, strip off any outer leaves that have started to turn brown, let it drain a while, wrap it in paper towel (as recommended in the article above), then vacuum pack it. It still looks and feels as fresh two weeks later, giving us time to eat the first head of lettuce.
We also get raw milk “for pets” (selling for humans is not legal in our state), and it comes in ½-gallon canning jars. We have a nice glass pitcher we used for pouring the milk. After putting one quart of milk in the pitcher, we wipe the canning jar lid good and vacuum pack the remaining quart left in the jar. We’ve had zero problems with spoilage over a 2-week period except when we forgot (or didn’t bother) to vacuum pack the remaining milk. At $8/gallon, we don’t like wasting it.
Most FoodSavers come with an auxiliary vacuum port and the tubing with connectors at both ends. The following Amazon link has some of the current models that can use the canning jar adapter, but most of the older models use it as well. And below the link is a brief list of some examples that have pretty much held true in our experience (obviously the formatting is poor, but it’s a simple 3-column table with three sections: freezer, refrigerator, and pantry, and how long each food category lasts normally vs. the FoodSaver on each line.
FREEZER — Ordinary Storage — FoodSaver System
Beef, Game & Poultry — 6 months — 2-3 years
Fish — 6 months — 2 years
Soups & Stews — 3-6 months — 1-2 years
Coffee Beans — 6-9 months — 2-3 years
Vegetables — 8 months — 2-3 years
Bread — 6-12 months — 1-3 years
REFRIGERATOR — Ordinary Storage — FoodSaver System
Cheese — 1-2 weeks — 4-8 months
Lettuce — 3-6 days — 2 weeks
Berries — 1-6 days — 1-2 weeks
PANTRY — Ordinary Storage — FoodSaver System
Flour & Sugar — 6 months — 1-2 years
Rice & Pasta — 6 months — 1-2 years
Cookies — 1-2 weeks — 3-6 weeks
There are things that shouldn’t be vacuum packed (just a little research will show several good articles on the internet), and FoodSaver instructions come with at least basic warnings about what NOT to vacuum pack (due mainly to botulism concerns). We love our FoodSaver, and use it very regularly. It’s easily saved us considerably more than the cost of the unit plus the canning jar attachments.