Are there any decent resealable bags (e.g., Ziploc)? (Solved!)

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johnmeyer

Master of the Pit
Original poster
Nov 19, 2015
1,689
451
Central Coast, CA
[edit] I eventually found a solution to the problem I describe below. Click ->here<- to go my post, later in this thread, where I describe the solution.

I could make this a long post, by telling you about all the tests I've done, and my correspondence with Ziploc, but here's the bottom line: I have found that ALL of my Ziploc and Hefty resealable bags leak -- badly. This is true of brand new bags, taken out of a box that was just opened.

I kept wondering why I was getting freezer burn on everything put into Ziploc bags, and why I would go to my fridge to take some food out of a Ziploc or Hefty bag from which I had removed all the air (using my Foodsaver canning attachment attached to a straw inserted into an almost-closed bag), only to find that they were filled with air even though the seal had no breaks or bubbles in it.

To find out what was going on, I filled new Ziploc and Hefty bags with air. They were straight out of a freshly-opened box. I then sealed them (making very sure I had sealed them correctly), and then put them underwater in a sink, just like you do when looking for a leak in a bicycle tire.

Every single one of them streamed bubbles from each end of their interlocking seals.

OK, so these companies have developed quality problems. No big deal, I'll find a better product. However, after trying to research on the Internet, and after looking at Uline and other places that sell commercial-grade bags, I'm no closer to finding a solution to this problem. I can, of course, use my Foodsaver and get a perfect seal, and also get the advantages of the marvelous plastic they use which doesn't let any odor out, or oxygen back in. However, for constantly opening and closing a juicy eight pound ham (which is what got me started on this), a well-sealed Ziploc is a lot easier.

So, does anyone have any recommendations to replace Ziploc and Hefty bags which are no longer manufactured to the standards they used to be?

[edit] Here's a link to an Amazon review I wrote earlier today. I'm providing the link because at the top of the review is a video which visually shows the problem I've described here. I did the test with a brand-new Ziploc bag:

Ziploc Bag Review
 
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I switched to turkey oven bags with twist ties.  They leak too...but I expect it.  Because of this I always make sure the leaky part is in a position where it does not have the opportunity to leak.
 
I can certainly get a bag that doesn't leak liquid simply by doing what you're suggesting: tie a not in the open end of the bag. However, I was looking for something that is truly air-tight, that won't let air leak back into the bag, something which accelerates the aging of the food in the fridge, and contributes to freezer burn when the food is frozen.
 
 I buy the cheap zip lock type of bag , in the gallon size for short term freezer storage . I think a box of 12 is $1.50 . However I wrap the contents in plastic wrap then into the bag . Stuff I use weekly / common use . Long term is vac'ed . 

I read a post on here about folding the sealed edge down before adding to the bag , so as not to "mess up " the zipper . Common practice for me now . So simple , but great idea . 
 
I use the hand held FoodSaver vacuum sealer.  It uses bags that are similar to Ziplock, but they have a special valve and seal great.  We use them for just about everything.  Best place to buy the bags is Bed Bath and Beyond.  They are pricey compared to a Costco sized box of Ziplock bags, but we wash them and reuse them.  We can get anywhere from 2 to 10 washes out of each bag. 
 
 
Buy a vacuum sealer and start using vacuum bags. Over the long run they're cheaper and your food will remain in much better shape.
As I said in my original post, I own a Foodsaver (vacuum packager). It is definitely a lot better than any Ziploc or Hefty bag, not only because the vacuum and seal, but because of the infinitely better plastic they use. However, for something like my holiday ham, it is a real pain to try to re-seal because of all of the juice that comes out of a ham. Also, it takes a long time to do the sealing, something I don't mind for long-term storage, but not for something that I will open and close a dozen or more times over the course of the next two weeks.
 
 I buy the cheap zip lock type of bag , in the gallon size for short term freezer storage . I think a box of 12 is $1.50 . However I wrap the contents in plastic wrap then into the bag . Stuff I use weekly / common use . Long term is vac'ed . 

I read a post on here about folding the sealed edge down before adding to the bag , so as not to "mess up " the zipper . Common practice for me now . So simple , but great idea . 
Yes, I too sometimes do the "double-wrap" method of first wrapping in aluminum foil, and then putting that into the bag. That's what I'm doing now in order to get some utility out of these lousy bags.

I'm not sure what you mean about folding the sealed edge down, but if I can get better results by improving my technique, I'll do it.
 
I use the hand held FoodSaver vacuum sealer.  It uses bags that are similar to Ziplock, but they have a special valve and seal great.  We use them for just about everything.  Best place to buy the bags is Bed Bath and Beyond.  They are pricey compared to a Costco sized box of Ziplock bags, but we wash them and reuse them.  We can get anywhere from 2 to 10 washes out of each bag. 
Now that's an interesting idea. I wonder if my Foodsaver can use those bags (I bought my Foodsaver at least fifteen years ago). I'll look into that as soon as I post this.

Thanks to everyone for your help and your excellent answers
 
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picture the bag as you are going to fill it . Take the open end and fold it outward and down so that when you fill nothing comes in contact with the sealing surface . I got the idea from someone on here . 
 
Yup in Bear's Canadian bacon he does this when using cure when putting in refrigerator to cure. Look at this post and it will show you that move. It does keep the seal area clean to prevent leaking.

Warren
 
Quote:
 
picture the bag as you are going to fill it . Take the open end and fold it outward and down so that when you fill nothing comes in contact with the sealing surface . I got the idea from someone on here . 
Oh, I see what you mean. Wow, why didn't I think of that before?

Thanks!

BTW, I've looked into the Foodsaver resealable bags, and that looks very interesting. I'm exploring where I can get them, along with the adapter I need so I can use my Foodsaver to do the sealing.
 
Another good trick when dealing food in the vac packer is to freeze them first, then vac pack them. They don't have to be fully frozen. Just enough to form them up. Place ion wax paper on a sheet pan place in freezer. 4-8 hours is usually enough.

We do this for soft foods too like burgers (we grind and form our own), fish, etc. formsoups, chili, stew place in vac bag place in freezer. Once hard take out and vac pack.
 
Another good trick when dealing food in the vac packer is to freeze them first, then vac pack them. They don't have to be fully frozen. Just enough to form them up. Place ion wax paper on a sheet pan place in freezer. 4-8 hours is usually enough.

We do this for soft foods too like burgers (we grind and form our own), fish, etc. formsoups, chili, stew place in vac bag place in freezer. Once hard take out and vac pack.
Yes, I always do that with juicy food. However, it is useless for food that I want to access multiple times, like a ham, and also for items that I don't want to freeze, which includes pretty much anything that will not be used in its entirety after thawing. As you know, you never want to re-freeze most items because of the big quality loss. Cook's Illustrated just did a test on this, just to make sure it wasn't an old wive's tale, and found that every person on the tasting panel could tell the difference between meat frozen once and meat frozen twice.

Back to the main issue: re-sealable bags. The need for them just isn't just for items that are juicy, but which you don't want to freeze, but also dry items that you want to access multiple times, like nuts.

Of course cannisters can help for some of these tasks. I do have a huge collection of cannisters and canning jars (I have the canning attachment for my Foodsaver) and I use those for small juicy items. This works really well for soups where I want to save several quarts of soup, but only heat up one serving at a time.

When the stores open up tomorrow I'll try to find some of the resealable vacuum bags that were suggested a few days ago. I've read the reviews of those bags and they sound quite promising.
 
I guess I miss read your post. in your original
Post you were complaint about freezer burn and using Ziplocks.

For reusable bags I have been using the zipper vac bags that Lisa has at Vac dealer unlimited. They come in pint and quart size bags. Add whatever you want vac pack, seal. Freeze if you want. Remove from freezer, open the zipper end. Use what you want zip back up and place back into fridge.
 
I bought a vacmaster vp215 earlier in the year.  I've bagged fresh catfish fillets, five deer, bbq sauce and multiple other items.  Wet or dry, it doesn't matter  They have several bag options.  I bought the resealable bags and the heavier 5 mil for pokey type foods.  The bags are cheaper in the long run and the ease of using it goes a long way.  
 
I guess I miss read your post. in your original
Post you were complaint about freezer burn and using Ziplocks.

For reusable bags I have been using the zipper vac bags that Lisa has at Vac dealer unlimited. They come in pint and quart size bags. Add whatever you want vac pack, seal. Freeze if you want. Remove from freezer, open the zipper end. Use what you want zip back up and place back into fridge.
Oh gosh, I forgot about Lisa's business. I'll search the forum to find the link to her site. That's a great idea.
 
I bought a vacmaster vp215 earlier in the year.  I've bagged fresh catfish fillets, five deer, bbq sauce and multiple other items.  Wet or dry, it doesn't matter  They have several bag options.  I bought the resealable bags and the heavier 5 mil for pokey type foods.  The bags are cheaper in the long run and the ease of using it goes a long way.  
I just looked that up on Amazon. Wow, that is a major-league vacuum machine! It reminds me a little bit of plastic vacu-forming machines. That is most definitely beyond what I can do at this point. Looks like it would be amazing.
 
x4 or is it x5 on vacuum packing anything that goes in the freezer.  If you don't have a vacuum sealer, I seem to recall Sam's Club will have a Foodsaver model on sale this week through new years. 

I've also started buying the pre-cut bags from Webstaurant Store that are made by Ary for their Vacmaster line.  3 ply, 3mil thick, boilable polyethylene and nylon and the heaviest bags I've found so far.  The pre-cut come in 50 bag batches and the price is very reasonable.
 
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Update ...

I ordered some bags from Lisa. Her resealable bags are open on one end so you can seal them at that end, just like you would a regular Foodaver roll bag. However, I did that, blew up the bag, and then sealed it at the "ziploc" side. Unfortunately, it too failed the leakage test. Like the Hefty and Ziploc bags, it let air escape from the edges of the seal.

I keep thinking that perhaps this could be cockpit error, but how hard can it be to get the channel in an interlocking plastic bag to seal? This is especially true of the Hefty bag which uses a "zipper-style" slider to seal the bag.

So, I have no confirmed that three different brands of bags all leak at the edge of the seal, making them unsuitable for anything that requires that the air be kept out (i.e., pretty much ANY food storage!!!).

My next step is going to be to use a little Super Glue in the corners of the bag. My idea is to do this a day before I need to use the bag and then, when I actually fill the bag and then seal it, I'll try not to tear open the glue joint. Super Glue is supposed to be pretty safe stuff (it is used in surgery to close wounds), so I am not worried about contaminating my food.

I'm still amazed that there is so little discussion on the Internet about this total lack of quality. One reason may be that most tests I've read concentrate on whether the bag leaks any liquid contained inside the bag. That test is 100x easier because of the viscosity of water compared to air.

Back to Lisa B's bags: while they failed the leakage test, they are still going to be far more useful than the Hefty or Ziploc bags because once the bag has been resealed, using the zipper lock, you can then use the Foodsaver heat seal on the plastic outside the lock. You have to see the bags to fully understand, but this works because there is almost 1.5 inches of plastic beyond the zipper, and it is made of the same material as the bag, and therefore can be heat sealed. So, I can get the advantage of using the zipper, the biggest of which is the ability to seal a bag full of something really juicy that would foul the vacuum sealer by getting sucked in, and yet get the ability to lock out air by sealing the plastic outside the seal after the seal has been closed.
 
I've never had this issue with zippered bags, no matter the brand. I'm not sure what you're doing differently than I am but pictures would be helpful probably.
 
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I've never had this issue with zippered bags, no matter the brand. I'm not sure what you're doing differently than I am but pictures would be helpful probably.
As for pictures, I did post a link to my Amazon review which includes a 10-second video that shows precisely what I am talking about

My Amazon Ziploc Bag Review

BTW, I just tried putting some Superglue (a special version for plastic) in the corner of the bag. I then sealed the bag, let it stand for an hour, and then blew it up with air, re-sealed it, and did my underwater dunk test.

It worked!

So, I do have a workaround, although it will be a pain to do each time.

BTW, I think the reason more people don't have this problem is that they've never tried this test.
 
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I have the same bags that you're talking about. I put a paper towel in it to create space and sealed it. I cut the top off and the only way I could get any air bubbles was by squeezing the bag pretty good. It didn't leak any when just holding it under water.
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