We've kept track of our most frequently asked questions and are posting them here so you can save yourself an e-mail, phone call, or frantic Google search!
- Help! I haven't received my order. Sad Face. We are sorry to hear that! If you placed your order prior to noon EST, you should have received an e-mail confirmation that your order was received and a subsequent e-mail with detailed tracking information. If this is not the case, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the quickest response (it's easier for me to grab your email and look you up that way). If you have received confirmation, and it's been more than the standard 2-3 business day delivery time, I sincerely apologize - please email me at email@example.com!!!
- What are your shipping costs? All orders under $50 cost $7 shipping. All orders $50+ are FREE Shipping!!
- Will your bags work in my Foodsaver machine? YESSSS! That is the beauty of our generic bags. They have a textured "channel" on one side and the other side is smooth meaning they will work in ANY tabletop vacuum sealer. And they don't have any branding or logos...totally transparent so you can have a better view of that delicious steak!
- Are your bags BPA free? OF COURSE. More details here. We understand your concern and hope that our response helps you in making informed decisions for you and your family. Please let us know if you have any further questions or concerns.
- What are the bags made of? They are made of polyethylene (a type of plastic) with an outer layer of nylon for added strength and rigidity.
- Can I reuse a bag? Yes, but it depends on the previous contents of the bag. Bags that previously contained fruits, vegetables, breads, dry goods, and many desserts can be washed and reused. Bags that contained raw meats, fish, eggs or un-pasteurized cheese should be discarded after use because they may contain invisible bacteria that will remain after washing. Bags that contained greasy or oily foods should also be discarded, as they may be difficult to clean. The Vak Shack Bags can be washed by hand, or in the top rack of the dishwasher. Use a wooden clothespin or a clip to hold the bags in place. Dry completely. They can then be re-vacuumed.
- If I purchase a roll, can I make two bags with one seal? Rolls come sealed on the outside edges for the length of the roll. You can cut the material to your desired length, but you will have to seal both ends closed so that it resembles a standard pre-cut bag. You could then divide a single "bag" (meaning 3 sides are sealed) into "2" compartments by sealing down the middle.
- Why are the rolls more expensive than the bags? Convenience in being able to determine the length you need. And sometimes this is not the case - just depends on the sizing!
- Why don't you ship to Canada? As of June 23, 2016 we stopped shipping to Canada due to extremely high postage costs. Postage was often more expensive than the products themselves :( We are sorry.
- My promo code isn't working. Humor me and make sure you've typed it in exactly as shown (copy & paste is the best method). Read the fine print...most offers have an expiration date and exclude machines. Also, we've recently only been accepting US orders due to extremely high postage rates. If all else fails, I'm sorry (technical issues are the pits!), please contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org and I can manually adjust for the discount. Go ahead and place your order and if the coupon code is legitimate and you meet the requirements, I will issue you the appropriate refund.
- How can I sign up for your newsletter? You can text THEVAKSHACK to 22828 or click here.
- How can I get a coupon? Sign up for our newsletter here, check our Facebook Page, or our website for the most current coupons and promo codes.
- How much meat can fit into a pint, quart, or gallon bag? The standard
- How do I choose between rolls or pre-cut bags? This is a very personal decision. Most people love the convenience of the pre-cut sizes. Between the pint, quart, and gallon there really is a size for every need. But occasionally you'll have rack of ribs or a cut of meat that is too narrow for a gallon bag and so if you had an 11" wide by 50' roll you'd be able to cut the length of the bag to ANY size! So, I always suggest purchasing a roll or two of each width (8" or 11") to have on hand. I promise, you'll be surprised at how often you reach for it!
- What kind of machine should I buy? If you're sealing fewer than 50 bags per week, I would suggest the most basic machine. You can find vacuum sealer machines at major retailers such as Wal-Mart or Costco or on our website we offer great deals on the highly reputable Weston brand machines. My personal favorite is the Weston Harvest Guard.
- How much is shipping? Free shipping on orders over $50+. Standard flat rate shipping is $7 on orders less than $50.
- I can't get ahold of you. What gives? We are a family business and sometimes things come up (with any business, to be honest). Check our most recent newsletter or Facebook page for active updates - sometimes we are traveling or in the car and can not take orders or look up existing orders. The quickest way to get in touch is our Livechat feature here on the website, followed by email Thevakshack@gmail.com, a Facebook post and lastly, you can leave a voicemail at 866-542-7022 which is checked periodically.
- I found the same products cheaper somewhere else. That's great! We also love a good deal. Which is why we offer a Price Match Guarantee. Make sure you're comparing an "apples to apples" deal (think bag dimensions, quantity, quality...) and then e-mail me with the link to the better deal or send me photo of an in-store deal and I will review. If it's the real deal, we will price match for you!
- Can I use zipper pouches with this machine? As long as the bags are designed for channel tabletop machines and have 3 sides sealed you will be able to pull a vacuum seal.
- What are the standard storage times?
- Can tomatoes be vacuum packaged? Yes, the whole tomato may be pre-frozen and then vacuum packaged and stored in the freezer. This may cause the texture of the tomato to change and become limp after thawing. It is not recommended that fresh whole tomatoes be vacuum packaged and stored in refrigerator or at room temperature. If the tomato has been properly processed into tomato products, it may be stored in the refrigerator but this depends on the processing that was used.
- Can cooked food be vacuum packaged? Yes, with the exception of tomatoes (see FAQ #2 below). Cooked foods must be at least room temperature before vacuuming or you run the risk of bacterial growth.
- Are there any foods I should not vacuum package? Yes, do not vacuum package soft cheese, mushrooms, or garlic.
- How can berries be packaged with crushing them? Wash the berries and dry thoroughly. Pre-freeze the berries by placing them on a cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer for about 2 hours. Now, you can vacuum package them without crushing them. To store fresh berries in the refrigerator, place them in a FoodSaver® Canister and vacuum package it. The berries will last up to a week or more this way.
- Can mushrooms be vacuum packaged? No. Do not vacuum package mushrooms.
- Can frozen food be vacuum packaged? Yes, but look for sharp edges that may cause a puncture in your bag. Place a paper towel around the sharp edge, then vacuum and seal the bag. The paper towel will not change the taste or texture of the food item it is near.
- Can celery be vacuum packaged and then frozen? No. Due to the high water content of these vegetables, it is recommended that you do not freeze them. Instead, wash and dry them thoroughly, vacuum pack them in canisters, and store in the refrigerator until needed. They will last up to 6 weeks in this manner.
- Why can't certain vegetables be vacuum packaged? Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts give off gases when they are stored. This gas will cause the bag to expand, and the vegetables will go bad. The best way to store all vegetables is to blanch them first, then cool, dry, vacuum pack and freeze.
- Why vacuum seal? Exposure to air causes food to spoil quicker, causes freezer burn, mold, staleness, and rancidity. The FoodSaver® vacuum packaging system removes air and seals in flavor and quality. With a full line of FoodSaver® Bags, Canisters and Accessories to expand your food storage options, you can now enjoy the benefits of a scientifically-proven method that keeps food fresh up to five times longer.
What storage temperatures are safe?
To preserve foods safely, it is critical that you maintain low temperatures. You can significantly reduce the growth of microorganisms at temperatures of 40°F (4°C) or below. Freezing at 0°F (-17°C) does not kill microorganisms, but stops them from growing. For long-term storage, always freeze perishable foods that have been vacuum packaged.
It is important to note that vacuum packaging is not a substitute for canning and it cannot reverse the deterioration of foods. It can only slow down the changes in quality. It is difficult to predict how long foods will retain their top-quality flavor, appearance or texture because it depends on age and condition of the food on the day it was vacuumed packaged.
IMPORTANT:Vacuum packaging is NOT a substitute for refrigeration or freezing. Any perishable foods that require refrigeration must still be refrigerated or frozen after vacuum packaging.
- Can foods be defrosted while still in the bag? Yes. But, you MUST defrost all vacuum packaged perishable foods in the refrigerator. Never leave any perishable foods at room temperature while they are still vacuum packaged. Vacuum packaged perishable foods must be refrigerated or frozen. The food inside the bag is not sterile.
What are the benefits of vacuum packaging?
Foods keep their freshness up to five times longer. Foods don't get freezer burn for several years because they don't come in contact with cold, dry air. There are many benefits to vacuum packaging:
You save money:
Foods last longer, so you throw less away. You can buy lower-priced bulk quantities and re-package at home into smaller portions exactly the size you want. Leftovers stay fresh in the freezer for several months.
You save time:
Make fewer trips to the grocery store because foods will last longer. Cook several portions when you have time and vacuum packaging single servings in a bag or right onto plates. Marinate meat and fish in minutes instead of hours.
Enjoy your favorite foods all year, even when they are out of season. Protect non-food items from corrosion and moisture-damage. Create first aid and emergency kits in the home, car and boat. Outdoor enthusiasts can vacuum package supplies to keep them clean and dry.
- Why does my vacuum packaged meat turn brown? Is it safe? When red meat is vacuum packaged, it tends to turn a darker shade of brown due to the lack of oxygen in the bag. The contents are perfectly safe for eating.
What does removing the air do?
The vacuum packaging process extends the life of foods by removing most of the air from the sealed container, thereby reducing oxidation, which affects nutritional value, flavor and overall quality. Removing air can also inhibit growth of microorganisms, which can cause problems under certain conditions:
Mold - Easily identified by its fuzzy characteristic. Mold cannot grow in a low oxygen environment, therefore vacuum packaging can virtually eliminate it.
Yeast - Results in fermentation, which can be identified by smell and taste. Yeast needs water, sugar and a moderate temperature to grow. It can also survive with or without air. Slowing the growth of yeast requires refrigeration, while freezing stops it completely.
Bacteria - Results in an unpleasant odor, discoloration and/or soft or slimy texture. Under the right conditions, clostridium botulinum (the organism that causes Botulism) can grow without air and cannot be detected by smell or taste. Although it is extremely rare, it can be very dangerous.
- Do you have a money-back satisfaction guaranteed? We want you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase. If for any reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase from The Vak Shack, Inc., you may return your item(s) to us within 30 days of receipt for an exchange or refund of the purchase price (less shipping & handling charges or processing fees).
How do I return an order?
You can return your item to our Returns Center at the address below:
The Vak Shack, Inc. ATTN: Returns PO Box 72, Ware Neck VA. 23178 . To ensure prompt processing, we recommend using a trackable shipping method and including a copy of the packing slip or the customer receipt. If you do not have a copy of your packing slip, please enclose a note with your reason for return.
- I've returned my items. How long until I see a refund? Refunds on returned item(s) will be issued in the same payment form as tendered at the time of purchase and should appear as a credit in your account within 1 – 2 billing cycles.
- How do I make a bag from a roll? 1. Cut the desired amount of roll material.
2. Press Seal Button. The red seal light will illuminate.
3. Insert open end of bag into Vacuum Channel until clamp motor starts. The roll material must be centered between arrows. Continue to hold until clamp motor stops.
4. When red seal light turns off, sealing is complete.
- When you get to the end of a roll of bag material, why won't the bags seal? Try cutting off about 1/2 inch from the end of the bag. It is possible that the very end of the roll was compressed when rolled. Also, make sure you have made a straight cut. Check to see if you have the end of the bag over the gasket or into the vacuum channel. It should only go up to the gasket, no further.
- Which side of the bag should be placed in the vacuum channel? The Seal will be effective with either clear side or textured side up. However, if the bag is curling (the end of the roll may do this), place the curled side down to allow for smooth and easy bag insertion.
- How can I tell if a bag is defective? A good way to test a bag is to just seal both ends of the bag-do not vacuum seal the bag. Submerge the bag in water for a few seconds and look for bubbles in the bag itself or near the seal strip area. If there are bubbles, the bag is defective.
- When simmering food, why does the bag split open at the seam? Only place bags with frozen food inside the simmering water. The coldness of the food will keep the bag from becoming too hot while the food is heating up. If the food in the bag was frozen, but the bag split anyway, your bags are most likely defective.
- Which side of the bag should be placed on the seal bar? Place the embossed (rough) side down. If the bag is curling (the end of the roll may do this), place the curled side down over the seal bar and can be used either side up.
- What do I do if my bag melts? If your bag melts, Sealing Strip may have become too hot. Always wait at least 20 seconds for the appliance to cool down before you vacuum package another item unless you are using the Professional II. This model allows you to vacuum package at least 50 consecutive bags without allowing time for the appliance to cool down.
- I am having problems making the first seal on a bag I cut from a roll. Ensure bag is flat and smooth and you have allowed three inches of space between the open end of the bag and the contents inside the bag.
If making a Seal to create a bag, first press the Seal button before inserting the bag. Hold the bag with two hands so the end curls DOWNWARD, gently stretch the bag flat while inserting. Insert a corner about one-half inch of Bag into center of Channel, then rotate bag into channel to activate both flags (on upper bag detection tray). Insert and wiggle side-to-side, while holding with two hands. Insert bag until the clamp motor begins and continue to hold unit the clamp motor stops.
- Air was removed from the bag, but now has re-entered. Examine seal of bag. A wrinkle along the seal may cause leakage and allow air to enter. Simply cut bag and reseal. Sometimes moisture or food material (such as juices, grease, crumbs, powders, etc.) along seal prevents bag from sealing properly. Cut bag open, wipe top inside of bag and reseal. See pages 2-3 for guidelines for specific foods. If you are vacuum packaging sharp food items, bag may have been punctured. Use a new bag if there is a hole. Cover sharp food items with a soft cushioning material and reseal. If you are still experiencing difficulty with air in your bag, fermentation or the release of natural gases from inside the foods may have occurred. When this happens, food may have begun to spoil and should be discarded.
- Can the bags be put in the freezer? Yes. The bags are ideal for the freezer because they will keep all air and moisture out, preventing food from getting freezer burn and becoming dry and tasteless.
- Are the bags safe for food use? Yes. The bags are made of materials that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined to be safe for food use.
- Are the bags and rolls recyclable? Yes, the bags are recyclable under the "Other" category. Please follow the recycling guidelines and requirements of your local municipality.
- Can the bags be microwaved? Yes. You can heat cooked foods, such as leftovers, in a FoodSaver® bag. The bags should never be used to cook raw foods. When microwaving, cut open a corner of the bag before putting it in the microwave so steam can escape. Avoid microwaving foods containing a lot of oil, as oil will get hot very quickly and could cause the sides of the bag to stick together.
- Will flour still get bugs in it after it is vacuum packed? Insects and their larvae cannot survive in a low oxygen environment, such as that created when you vacuum package your dry foods such as flour, cornstarch, corn meal and cereals.
- Can I vacuum package bread? It is not recommended to vacuum package soft breads such as white bread. French bread and hard rolls must be frozen first, then vacuum packed.