Yes, You Can Use a Handheld Vacuum-Pack Machine to Seal Salad in a Jar


Handheld vacuum-system by FoodSaver

Some people say it can’t be done. They say you can’t seal salad in a jar with a handheld vacuum device, which would mean you must use a more expensive full-size vacuum machine that takes up a fair amount of space in your kitchen.

IT’S NOT TRUE. Don’t believe it.

Reynolds sealer-4.jpg

Reynold Handi-Vac also works.

To convince the skeptics, I made a quick little video to show you how. This same method works with the FreshSaver by FoodSaver and the Reynolds Handi-Vac. Between the two, I prefer the Reynolds Handi-Vac because it seems a little easier, but they both work. I have not tried any other brands. Of course, you may prefer the regular, full-sized vacuum-pack machine because of its versatility, but the handheld is cheaper for those of you who want to dip your toes in the water before diving head first into the world of vacuum-packing.

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Have you tried sealing quart jars with the wide-mouth attachment and a handheld device? I would love to hear about your experience.

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{ 69 comments… read them below or add one }

Margaret Brown June 24, 2015 at 4:41 am

I recommend writing the food item’s name, the date and the cooking instructions either right on the bag or on a freezer bag label, that you stick to the bag to save you from having to find the cooking instructions on the recipe later. Once you’ve done that, just fill and seal your vacuum food bag as you would a regular zipper storage bag. The Reynolds bags have a maximum fill line. With the bag lying flat on the counter, make sure there is no food above the maximum fill line or directly under the air value. Next, press the vacuum sealer tip against the air valve and press the on button to remove air from your bag. When the bag is tight around the food, release the on button. Quick-as-a-wink, your food is vacuum sealed and ready for the freezer.

Freezing Appetizers

I freeze appetizers such as crab melts and pizza bites using the RHV sealer. When I am ready to cook, I take the appetizers right out of the freezer and vacuum sealed bag, and put them directly into the oven for a quick broil time of 8 minutes. I use the RHV sealer when freezing sweet and spicy meatballs, and when I plan to serve these, I thaw, remove from the freezer bag and reheat in the microwave for a quick bite to eat on busy nights.

Freezing Cookie Dough

I use the flash freezing method for freezing cookie dough. (You may refer to my April, newsletter/article, How to Flash Freeze Make Ahead Cookies, by clicking on my website in my resources box. ) The RHV sealer is very handy for freezing cookie dough. If you don’t want to use all of the frozen cookie dough at once, you may take what you need and reseal the bag. For fresh baked cookies every time, that’s convenient.

Freezing Breads

If you’ve tried freezing breads using a plain freezer bag or plastic wrap, you may have found that once thawed, your bread was maybe a little freezer burned and didn’t really taste so great. It’s okay! The RHV will change the way you feel about freezing bread! Whether I bake banana bread, cinnamon bread, blueberry bread or our family favorite, strawberry bread, I have used the RHV sealer to freeze these and many more breads and have had great results. After baking two loaves of bread (many of my bread recipes will yield two loaves) I wait until they are completely cooled. Next, I wrap them in plastic wrap before placing them in a vacuum bag to freeze. This way, when I am ready to take them out of the vacuum sealed bags to thaw, the breads are already wrapped and ready to eat in about 4 hours. Also, by wrapping the bread in saran wrap first, the freezer bag stays clean and may be reused. Even if they do need cleaning, the vacuum bags may be washed and reused. Breads are great, economical, yet thoughtful gifts to give, especially around the holidays. Once you’ve tried the RHV for freezing breads, you’ll be hooked, and thrilled, when you have a loaf of bread handy in your freezer for whatever the occasion.

Freezing Meals

Several of my main dish recipes and soups can be cooked first and then frozen using the vacuum bags and the RHV sealer. These are easily and quickly defrosted and reheated in the microwave for speedy mid-week meals. These main dishes include: pulled pork, sloppy joes, meatballs and gravy, spaghetti sauce with meatballs and sausage and taco meat. Beef stew, chicken and spinach tortellini soup, hearty chili and Italian wedding soup are soups that I freeze using the RHV sealer. For other main dish recipes, I assemble the ingredients ahead and use the RHV sealer to freeze the meal before cooking. These include lasagna, chicken cannelloni, taco lasagna, chicken and spinach stuffed shells and chicken enchiladas. I allow 24 hours for these meals to defrost in the refrigerator and then I bake according to the recipe’s directions. The RHV is perfect for maintaining the freshness of marinated meats like teriyaki chicken, Thai chicken thighs, London Broil Strips and marinated steak. For turkey and hamburger patties, the RHV sealer truly maintains the food’s freshness and appearance. When freezing foods, the RHV sealer is a must-have tool for your kitchen. For make ahead meals, appetizers, soups, breads and cookies, the fresh and delicious taste of my foods comes through every time.

Jane Doiron is a busy working mom of two boys. She is an Elementary School teacher with a passion for cooking and experimenting with recipes. With her busy schedule, Jane has found that make ahead meals (meals prepared in advance) are time-savers, money-savers and are the best alternatives to eating “take-out”, which is not usually a healthy meal choice. Jane’s cookbook is the result of her years of seeking out new recipes, experimenting with family-favorite recipes, and turning them into make ahead meals. Make ahead meals can be frozen ahead, assembled ahead, or cooked ahead and reheated. The recipes in her cookbook are a combination of all three and were specially formulated without compromising the food’s taste and texture. Along with make ahead meals, in her book, Jane also shares her favorite dessert, appetizer and side-dish recipes, as well as helpful tips, like, make ahead tips for the holidays, freezing, must-have items for freezing, and many more useful cooking tips for making recipes ahead.


harriet May 26, 2015 at 4:35 pm

Hi, thanks for sharing experience!


Dee Garza March 5, 2015 at 10:39 am

The Waring Pro handheld was mentioned. Is there tubing that works with this machine? Would the Foodsaver brand tubing allow me to use the Waring Pro to seal jars? Thanks!


Paula March 5, 2015 at 1:42 pm

I have only seen this in a picture online, never in person. But it appears to have a small suction cup on the nose that one would only need to be placed on top of the hole of the large mouth jar adapter as seen here. Hope this helps. Let me know if you try this and how it works.


Dottie Sinkler February 25, 2015 at 9:12 am

You just saved me a lot of money and using your method of salad in a jar means that I do not have to throw away wilted lettuce and a jar is ready every day of the week for my salad. It is easy to add veggies and cheese to my salads after removing the tops from the jars of lettuce. Thanks again.


Paula February 25, 2015 at 5:44 pm

You’re welcome, Dottie. Thanks for the testimony.


Justin January 27, 2015 at 9:54 am

Thanks, Paula!


Justin January 26, 2015 at 10:29 pm

Thanks for posting this. How do you attach the foodsaver hose to the Freshsaver vacuum?


Paula January 27, 2015 at 7:04 am

The hose is not used with the Freshsaver. Position the rubber end of the Freshsaver over the hole on the jar attachment and apply pressure downward to create a seal, then vacuum. There are pictures on the post and a video if you are still uncertain how it works.


lucyluella January 26, 2014 at 12:52 pm

Bought this a couple of years ago and it has been awesome. No more wasted slimey lettuce after 3-4 days. Stays good into 2nd week. Use it every time I buy lettuce. Couldn’t be happier.


TimC November 23, 2013 at 6:39 am

I want to say a big THANK YOU for your work!

I must mention that it is not necessary to press down on the jar adapter for it to work. Pressing down too much will actually defeat the vacuum adapter. I’m thinking that may be the problem with Lani’s efforts?

Another thing: you can tell if the jar lid will seal or not by feeling the seal area with your finger. If it is smooth and does not “drag” a little, it will probably not seal well. I have taken a little artist brush and painted a little water around the seal area before applying the vacuum…seems to work. (maybe that will help Lani as well?)

It’s so refreshing to see someone who believes in what she is doing and has fun while doing it!

Thanks again!


Lani October 23, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I need help, guys. I bought the Foodsaver handheld sealer and a million mason jars–no luck. Can’t get it to work. So I bought the Reynolds sealer since I’d heard it’s easier to use, but I am apparently so dumb that the easy-to-use venue is still too hard. As a last ditch effort, I tried the tape method. Alas, my last ditch effort was a big, fat fail. Seriously–what am I doing wrong?!


Paula October 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Have you read this post?


Colin October 14, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Thanks for the video! Now I can purchase the jar adapter!


Megan October 13, 2013 at 6:56 pm

I’ve been using your method for a few weeks now and really enjoy it! I had an awful time with the Foodsaver handheld vacuum. Maybe I had a defective unit, but I could never get it to seal a jar. It was much too weak. Instead, I invested in a Waring Pro Pistol Vac… about $50 off eBay. Same convenience as the Foodsaver with a more powerful motor.

I also give my lettuce a little vinegar bath (diluted with water) while cleaning. It seems to perk up the lettuce a bit.


Sheri June 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Hi Paula,
I am wondering if you can use the handheld vaccuum device and the tape method together if that would work instead of using the jar sealer? I cannot find the Ziploc manual pump or the jar sealer attachment here in Canada except on and the jar sealer would cost $45 with shipping! I can get the handheld foodsaver vaccuum device for $25 at Walmart. Thanks.


Heidi June 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm

You can get them at


Jonathan May 9, 2013 at 12:03 pm

How does the manual Ziploc pump compare to the Reynolds electronic pump? I mean is the Reynolds one more effective or is just more efficient? I can handle the time/effort of using the Ziploc manual pump if they are both just as effective.


Marilyn Maroon May 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

Thank you so much!! I just got the attachment and used my handheld
Freshsaver and it worked. I had a small bag of carrots and was just trying it for the first time to see how to do it and am thrilled. There are so many uses now that I can use to save money by keeping food fresher longer. If not for your video and answers I would not have done this.


Marilyn Maroon May 6, 2013 at 10:26 am

Great video with lots of info. I just purchased the hand-held FoodSaver and am looking to purchase the attachment for the wide-mouth jars, but when searching some come with the cord/hose and some do not. You said ” You absolutely need a hose like you get with a regular FoodSaver machine to seal themโ€“unless they have recently changed them.” Is that for all containers? Should I buy the one with the hose and then I can take the hose out to use on the jars? Am a little confused. Or do I need one attachment with the hose for containers & one attachment without the hose/


Paula May 7, 2013 at 9:37 am

If you don’t have a full-size FoodSaver machine, you don’t need the hose. The hose detaches so if the hose comes with the attachment, you just take it off when using any kind of handheld device. Does that help?


Kaytie April 10, 2013 at 3:13 pm

This may be a silly question but I have the FoodSaver Handheld, and plan on getting the jar attachment, but which do I get? The wide mouth or the regular and what size jars are good to use? I’m planning on sending them to work with my husband. Not sure if that helps out on what size we would need. Any advice would be great.


Paula April 11, 2013 at 7:47 am

Buy the attachment that fits the size of your jars. Since you are buying both, I highly recommend the widemouth jars for ease of sealing, filling and cleaning. See this post.


Natalia @PrepUtilityVehicle March 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm

Hi, Paula, I just found one of the Freshsavers second hand, and was doing some research. One place said you can’t use them with other Foodsaver products so I was delighted to see your blog post and video! Thank you so much! ๐Ÿ™‚ I am really excited to start doing this.

I have just spent *2 hours* googling the voltage/amp of these things, because the one I bought is missing the cord, and the specs aren’t shown on the Freshsaver itself. I can’t find this info ANYWHERE and I am exhausted! I hoped you might not mind checking your cord for me to tell me the important specs so I can try to match mine up with a cord adaptor. I know it’s a bit of trouble, but I don’t know anyone with one and can’t seem to find out any other way!

Thank you in advance if you’re able to help. And thank you for the video too. ๐Ÿ™‚



Natalia @PrepUtilityVehicle March 26, 2013 at 6:14 am

Thank you so much for the picture, Paula. What a help! ๐Ÿ™‚


Violet March 9, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Was on my way to bed bath and beyond to spend lots of $ (even with the 20% off coupon!) … Now I’m rerouted to Walmart to save lots of dough! Thank you for posting this. Great news!


Paula March 9, 2013 at 5:18 pm

Hi Violet. Glad to save you some money. The regular FoodSaver machine probably works better and easier but the handheld devices are so much cheaper, it’s a good way to try it and see how you like it.


Tracy Clark March 8, 2013 at 10:07 am

Absolutely love it… I am a salad junkie, this will be perfect for me. I knew that I was Collecting those mason jars for a reason. Now I know what that reason was. Ha ha ha!
Thanks SOOOOOO much! -TracY ๐Ÿ™‚


Paula March 10, 2013 at 8:25 am

Hi Tracy,
Yes, yes. Great use of Mason jars. Turns salad into a “fast food”.


Marilyn Myers March 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm

Thank you so much for this information! You saved me a minimum of $80.00! My seal a meal quit vacuuming. I have the hand held in both glad and food savor. Used both with the jar sealers and worked perfectly! Thanks again!


Sara February 11, 2013 at 2:05 am

I have been attempting to find ways to seal the jars as well. I bought the handheld foodsaver and the wide mouth mason jar attachment. I tried the two together and could not get them to work. I also tried the the ideas above and still can’t get the seal.

I read the above post about puttung a hole in the top of the lid and putting the electrical tape all the way across the lid and loosely – I finally had such a tight seal it was hard to open;)


irene January 16, 2013 at 12:55 pm

can the vac pack be used to seal hot brine pickles


Paula January 17, 2013 at 8:57 am

No. Although I’m no pickle expert, vacuum-packing is a “cold” process. Anything that needs to be heated is a completely different game.


Kenneth January 26, 2014 at 5:27 pm

The jar will naturally vacuum seal itself as the jar and its contents cool, so there is no vacuum sealing to be done. Instead you just need to make sure the lid and collar are on properly.


irene January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm

can the vac pack seler be used for hot brine on pickles


Cheri January 11, 2013 at 3:03 pm

Thanks I will give all your suggestions a try. I thought it was working at one point but when I removed the white attachment it pulled the flat off with it. And I had sealed it for at least 45 to 60 seconds before. I will see what I can get to work. Thanks again.
Also when I ordered the attachments from, I got a 2 piece small canister set. I can’t get them to seal with the hand held sealer either and didn’t know if anyone else had success with sealing them other than the larger sealer. I tried both the foodsaver and the reynolds sealer. Thanks


Paula January 11, 2013 at 5:09 pm

Two observations:

The wide mouth jars seal much easier than regular jars, in my experience.

The canister sets from FoodSaver are of dubious value. Mine all developed cracks in the bottom within the first month so they would not seal. You absolutely need a hose like you get with a regular FoodSaver machine to seal them–unless they have recently changed them.


Cheri January 11, 2013 at 11:56 am

I don’t know what I am doing wrong. I just got the large and regular sized attachments. I tried using both the Reynolds battery operated unit and the Foodsaver rechargeable unit. Neither would make a seal for me. I tried to make sure that the I had it centered and had pressure on it to form the seal. I held it on there for up to a minute. But every time I pulled the attachment off, it pulled the mason jar flat off with it. I don’t know what I am doing wrong. Thanks for any advice.


Paula January 11, 2013 at 2:38 pm


Sounds like you are doing everything right. But since it’s not working here are some suggestions to try.

1. Place another flat lid upside down on top of the original flat lid and then the attachment.
2. Try a different jar. Is it possible there is a nick at the top causing you to lose seal?
3. Make sure no pieces of lettuce are sabotaging your efforts.
4. Try a different lid. Maybe the one you tried was flawed.
5. Make sure there is no obstruction inside the workings of the attachment, like a piece of dried food.


Terah October 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Checking out the salad in a jar… used Romaine lettuce, mentioned spring lettuce ? doesn’t work well – just your standard head of lettuce – can this be done in a jar? Please advise, would love to try this. Thanks.


Rose September 8, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Thanks for the tip!! I bought my Reynolds battery powered handheld JUST before they discontinued them! Now I have a use for it and it sure beats pulling out my vacuum pack machine each time! Oh by the way, it works GREAT, took just a few seconds to seal the jars!


Paula September 9, 2012 at 7:33 am

Hi Rose,
I couldn’t agree more!!


Grace June 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Thanks so much for this great tip! We just started getting lots of lettuce from our CSA, and this really helps it fit into our small fridge. I’ve pointed my fellow CSA members to your blog, as well.


Paula June 24, 2012 at 9:37 pm

Thanks so much, Grace. Glad to hear from you.


Petra June 19, 2012 at 11:37 am

I was SO EAGER to do this! I have the hand-held FoodSaver, plus the wide-mouth jars and a garden. I picked about 6 pounds of lettuce, washed, salad-spinned it all, and chopped it up just so. ….and realized that I had mason jars that were too narrow, and no matter what I did, I could not get a seal with the wide-mouth jar attachment. I shook my fist toward the heavens, and cursed my bad luck. Then, I came back here to see if there was any advice, and lo! So here’s what I did: I grabbed some old pasta sauce jars and my mason jars (I had too much salad for just the mason jars), poked a hole in the top of all of them, and covered the hold with a piece of electrical tape (the width of the lid). Popped the hand-held FoodSaver over the tape-covered hole, and viola! Air-tight seal, and a fridge full of salad!
I feel like a MENSA member!


Tracy June 18, 2012 at 5:52 am

I have the Food Saver brand handheld unit and absolutely love it! I ended up buying both the large and small jar adapters and use them for all sorts of things. So thankful for your posts on this! Just got my chinois strainer, so your homemade greek yogurt is next on my list.


Paula June 19, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Sounds like you are addicted to vacuum-packing just like I am.

Good luck with your yogurt. Let me know if you run into difficulty.


karen June 11, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Paula, I started reading your blog a couple years ago and have always wanted to try this. FINALLY ordered the Food Saver hand held and jar attachment from amazon, and we just tried it today. Works great! I love eating salads for lunch and this will make it so much easier to have a fresh one each day. Hope you’re doing well, and ‘hi’ to Bonnie!


Wendy April 18, 2012 at 6:15 am

Looks like that Target deal has disappeared…


Paula April 18, 2012 at 3:29 pm


Sorry about that. ๐Ÿ™‚ if you live close to a Big Lots, you might check there for a Reynolds sealer–only 3 dollars.


Elaine April 17, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Hi Paula,

So glad I found your blog! I read it in the evening on my iPad while my husband is watching the Yankees! Just wanted to let everyone know that you can get the Handheld Foodsaver for free this week at Target! I got mine today. There is a $10 coupon on the Target website for the Foodsaver Handheld and also a coupon for it at They let you use both and their price is $19.99 so it is entirely free! How cool is that!


Paula April 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Wow! Free? Doesn’t get any better than that.


Christine March 28, 2012 at 10:50 am

Quick Q that I forgot to ask: is it necessary to purchase a salad spinner in order for this method to effectively work? Or can I just use my regular old colander to rinse my greens?

Many thanks for any help!


Jeanean September 18, 2013 at 6:59 pm

You can find salad spinners for pretty cheap, around $10, at Good Will or thrift stores. I say cheap because I have seen them on Amazon for significantly more.


Vicki Walton March 25, 2012 at 9:29 am

Just found your blog today. Wanted to let you know that I have been doing the same thing for quite some time with a Foodsaver machine and mason jars. I recently discovered that you can also use the $4.25 hand vac by Ziplock that is used for their ziplock bags. I use the pump with the Foodsaver widemouth attachment. It is less expensive, and no batteries or electric needed. (I do not like the bags the pump was designed for because they do not hold a seal for very long).

I further discovered that you can use old pickle and spaghetti glass jars. You simply clean the jar, prick a hole through the top with a push pin, cover with a small piece of electrical tape, place the Ziplock manual pump over the tape, and pump maybe 10 -15 times, and it’s sealed! I have had good success maintaining the seal even through the tape. This way, you can still vacuum seal in jars for only $4.25 (the price of the pump) and you can re-use those old spaghetti and pickle jars. As long as the lid has a rubber seal on the inside (and most grocery jars do) you are good to go. This is much like the Pump-N-Seal method. You can see a demo on You Tube at You absolutely do not have to have a pricey machine or even a battery operated one for this to work. This brings the cost down so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of vacuum sealing!


Christine March 21, 2012 at 10:52 am

Ok, I’m so incredibly intrigued by this that I had to do some research as to where I could find the Reynolds Handi-Vac (since it’s d/c and not available at my Big Lots … because I ran out of the house dying to find one LOL) …

Apparently, Reynolds market couldn’t find enough consumers to purchase this product, so they sold the rights/licensing to Debbie Meyer ( … not affiliated in any way. Just wanted to share in case anyone is as interested/desperate to find this product as I am ๐Ÿ™‚

So glad I stumbled across your blog! Thank you for a brilliant idea!


Chelee March 4, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Works great for me! I’ve been doing it for several months.


Joanne K-J March 2, 2012 at 10:00 am

I loved this idea the first time I happened upon your blog. I already had the Food Saver jar attachment and had never used it. Upon reading your blog entry I ran over to my local Big Lots and was lucky enough to find a Reynolds Handi-vac for $3.00 (a bargain!). I not only seal my lettuce, I also trim and seal my green onions, leftover slaw mix, homemade granola and less often used grains and legumes. I am tempted to stock pile one or two more Reynolds units since I believe they are discontinued. The first one I bought had to be returned – the batteries had leaked and it no longer worked – so check before you leave the store.


Paula March 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

OK, I’ll admit I bought an extra Handi-vac myself. At $3, how you go wrong–unless somebody comes up with something better soon.


Paula February 28, 2012 at 8:50 pm

Good information…great video.


mimi February 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm

I love your video! I have a food saver so I really need to give this a try.


Tracy February 27, 2012 at 11:53 am

I’ve been using the Food Saver hand-held device for several months now. I haven’t had any problems, it works easily and perfectly! We love it! My daughter and I have enjoyed having salads for lunch on a much more regular basis thanks to this method. We are having more salads at dinner too, because it’s so easy to throw a salad together when the lettuce is in the frig and ready to go. Because we are a family of 5 and frig space is limited, I use 1/2 gallon sized jars to store our lettuce. We usually get more than one meal out of a jar, I just reseal it when I’ve taken out what we need.


Paula February 27, 2012 at 10:24 pm

Tracy, I’m so glad you mentioned how you reseal your lettuce. Great idea, especially if you don’t have many jars. PR


jt2702 February 27, 2012 at 11:13 am

I love this site as well! I purchased the Reynold brand at Amazon and I love it I did not want to invest in a big sealing system so was thrilled when you did your post on the Reynolds brand and using it on the jars it works like a charm thank so much for all the great info you share it is very much appreciated


kate December 1, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Can you add things to the salad in the jar, like cukes, tomatoes, etc. or do they get all mushy, etc.?


Paula December 2, 2014 at 7:05 am

When vacuum-packed, the vegetables you mention and quite a few others can do weird things, like get mushy and take on a rather strange odor. See this post for my take on the whole subject.


Marilyn February 27, 2012 at 10:28 am

Started following your blog last week when I found Pinterest and pinned your blog. I’m interested in the whole salad preserving idea and am browsing for fairly priced stuff to use. I’ve found a large mason jar lid with Food Saver then I found this: FoodSaver FSFRSH00 FreshSaver Handheld Vacuum Sealing System at a reasonable price. Any reason you’re recommending the handheld Reynolds or other brand over this?


Lorraine February 27, 2012 at 9:57 am

It worked perfectly! A fresh salad ready for whenever you want to enjoy it ๐Ÿ™‚


thekitchenwitch February 27, 2012 at 8:39 am

For some reason, it always tickles me when you post videos!


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