Has anyone used the FoodSaver FreshSaver?
Any other ideas for low-budget vacuum sealing of storage bags?
Eivind, All the bags, that I've seen for use with Vaccum Sealers, are not Oxygen Barrier Bags. For the best preservation of your hops, you really want to use Oxygen Barrier bags which are made from a Mylar like material. With a little practice you can get a vaccum with them. The trick is to put a little "Krinkle" in them in the area where the seal takes place. This provides a path for the air to be sucked out of the bag.
If you just use the bags that are made for the sealers, you're still going to have oxygen getting at your hops, how much I can't say.
At Wine Barley & Hops Homebrew, we pack all of our hops in Oxygen Barrier Bags and use a Vaccum Sealer to perform a vaccum on them. We used FoodSaver sealers for a few years but with the use we put them thru they would only last a year. We have now purchased a commericial grade sealer and it's now a year and 8 months old. We use it hard and have had to replace a few parts on it but it's still going strong, it should for the price we paid for it!
I went ahead and got the handheld vacuum sealing thingy plus some 1-quart bags. Since I don't have a lot of hops and only need to keep them sealed for a couple of months, it'll hopefully hold up ok for me. In the end, it may be the regular household use that taxes the devices to its demise...
Tested the little gadget the other day, and it sucked - very well! The storage bags were compressed very nicely, so I think these hops (about 10oz in 5 bags) will keep nicely until the designated brewday.
As a bonus, I can also use this to keep food fresh....
I have used a foodsaver for portioning out pellets since I started buying larger bags. I have kept them in the freezer for a few months with no ill effects, change in color, loss of aroma, etc.
I know I'm late to this thread, but I've been using a foodsaver for several years and even though the bags are not O2 barrier bags, it works well. I buy hops in bulk and then portion out in whatever portions you like to use, for me it's 1 and 2 oz bags. Pellets are very easy. I have found that whole hops are a bit trickier but can be done and you end up using a lot more rolls of bags. I buy the bag rolls when I find a good deal on Slickdeals or on Ebay.