Consider using a vacuum sealer for the ultimate in food preservation and storage. Similar to food dehydration, vacuum packaging prevents food from exposure to air and moisture, which causes food to spoil. An airtight seal also locks in the food's flavor and quality.
Benefits of Vacuum Sealing
You can combine dehydration and vacuum sealing for long term storage, but either alone should do fine. Which foods you dehydrate or vacuum pack depends on the food.
For example, if you dehdyrate meat, you get jerky. And you can't use the jerky for anything other than jerky. But if you vacuum pack the meat (and freeze), you can still grill or bake or prepare the meat any way you like.
If you store a lot of food in the freezer, a vacuum seal won't allow the food to touch the cold, dry air, so you avoid freezer burn.
Another common use for a food sealer is quicker marination. In normal marinating, food sits passively in liquid, soaking it up over several hours. With a vacuum to suck out the air, you can draw the marinade deep into the food. You can cut down on marination time to minutes instead of hours.
There's a method of cooking called Sous-vide cooking. The term means "under vacuum" in French. How you do it is you pack the all the ingredients in a bag, seal it, and then poach the bag in hot water. You can do this manually with a straw and a ziploc, but you'll get better results with a commercial vacuum sealer.
Best Vacuum Sealers
The best selling and best rated vacuum sealer is the FoodSaver V2440.
The V2440 is the best selling and best rated at Amazon. It has 69 reviews and averages a 4.5 out of 5 rating. It has many satisfied customers, but it's an older, discontinued model. If that's not an issue, you can save a lot of money buying this one.
FoodSaver Pro Kit
If you need a full vacuum kit, consider the FoodSaver Pro III Kit. In addition to the sealer, you get one FoodSaver Rool, 3 1-quart bags, 2 1-gallon bags, 1 1.5 quart canister, bag storage, accessory hose, and hose storage clips.
With 44 reviews, it averages a 4 out of 5 rating. Satisfied customers were most happy about the durability of their machine. They claim to have used it regularly for years with no issue.
The other things they liked were the features not typically found in older, cheaper models. These features include the built-in roll cutter, hose storage, quieter motor, and better appearance.
Amazon has a large selection of food savers. The FoodSaver brand dominates the market, but you'll see there are more companies making fine alternatives. Other manufacturers selling these small appliances include Deni, Rival, and Seal-A-Meal.