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How do you determine bag size (Foodsaver, open roll)

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    How do you determine bag size (Foodsaver, open roll)

    One thing we've wondered about is how to properly measure the right size for Foodsaver bags when using an open roll.

    Typically, we start with the open one end, seal it -- then make a best guess estimate of how much bag we may need. Cut it at that point and proceed with the fill/suck/seal process.

    Sometimes we end up with way way way too much extra bag at the "top" of the bag. Sometimes we end up with barely enough bag to get it inserted into the Vac Channel to get processed properly.

    For some things, like bratwurst, the size guessing is pretty straightforward and easy. But for larger/awkward-sized items - like a roast, it's hard to guesstimate how much expansion the bag might need vs the length to allow for proper closure.

    What are some tips/tricks y'all use to better measure and avoid wasting baggie roll unnecessarily?

    It kind of depends on the thickness of the item I am sealing. I don't use mine very frequently, bur I seem to remember my rule of thumb being 4" beyond the end of the chuck roast (for example), more or less as needed for the open end to lie flat for sealing.


      Unfortunately I have the same issue. My spatial awareness really stinks. My wife gets it right every time. From repetition, I know what I need for a tri-tip and/or a standard steak. Otherwise, I’m just like you. I’ll be watching responses for tips. Thanks for the question!


        I do pretty much what you do. Sometimes I'll kind of hold the meat above the roll to get an eyeball feeling for how long the bag needs to be, but then you have to allow for extra, etc. Me, I'd rather waste a couple of inches by cutting it too long than the reverse, too.


          I eyeball it…try to leave 4-5” more than needed, more if the object is thick or odd shaped. I usually err on the side of too much bag…that’s a much easier issue to deal with than too small.


            I don't know, stick the food in the open end, seal it. Then cut the other end long enough and then seal it too.
            Sorry, if I'm overthinking it. Don't listen to me.


              I try to go a little long these days, a couple of inches of flat is nice to write on. 2 packs different size rolls are $20 on Amazon and last me a year.


              • gboss
                gboss commented
                Editing a comment
                I like the space to write but I hate dealing with the flappy frozen plastic in the freezer.
                Cheap breaks the tie. Short as I can.
                Last edited by gboss; December 19, 2021, 02:01 AM.

              I just eyeball mine, usually make 'em an inch or three longer if it's something thick - like a brisket, butt or ham.

              I dunno, I never thought about the 'spatial awareness' aspect of it.

              Here's a question - where are you storing your roll and how are you cutting it? My sealer (Foodsaver, too?) has a storage bin at the top with a cover, the material feeds out a slot and it has a built-in razor cutter. I have found this works pretty well, because I put the meat on the counter in front of the sealer and drag the bag material out of the roll to the far end of the meat, then just cut it off. Since the roll is a bit higher off the counter, this usually gives me 2-3" extra on the length for if I need to fold down a 'collar' to get the meat in, or just some extra room for sealing.

              Then I take my cut length of bag and seal one end. I wonder about this because you mentioned sealing one end and then cutting it to length. With my roll stored above, I'll pull out and cut sometimes 6 or 8 lengths before any sealing, if I'm doing a bunch of steaks or whatever.

              Note, if I'm double bagging something - large and long cooks like brisket, or something bone-in like a ham, etc., - I do try to make the second bag just a bit longer to fit things in easier. I've never had too much trouble, but it seemed fairly intuitive to me with the roll stored above the sealer to just pull down as much as you need, eyeballing with the piece of meat in front of the machine.


              • WillTravelForFood
                WillTravelForFood commented
                Editing a comment
                DogFaced PonySoldier - so you doublebag more for potential punctures (and possible seal fail) rather than for enhancing cold storage protection?

              • RickyBobby
                RickyBobby commented
                Editing a comment
                This is similar to what I do. I don’t have the same brand sealer, so I just store the roll of bags in the cupboard near the sealer. When I get ready to make the bag, I hold the roll above the meat and pull the length to cover and add an inch or two. Not a perfect science and have certainly ended up short on occasion, but it’s usually in the ball park for me.

              • DogFaced PonySoldier
                DogFaced PonySoldier commented
                Editing a comment
                WillTravelForFood, Yes I only double bag when cooking, I don't actually store and save a whole lot, but have never felt the need to double up for that. Maybe not the worst idea, though...

              I usually have the product right next to me when I start cutting my individual bags. But, it’s still an eyeballing game.


                I have used the pleated bags for larger items but haven't had the best luck getting them to seal so I rarely use them. A paper cutter works great for me to keep a straight edge on the 8 & 11" bags cut from rolls. I'm probably being cheap but I wash and reuse the bags a few times. I'm patiently waiting for my Foodsaver to die.
                Last edited by Skip; December 19, 2021, 09:42 AM.


                • Draznnl
                  Draznnl commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Don't think of it as being cheap Skip. Think of it as being environmentally responsible. No reason not to reuse good platic bags rather than throw them out.


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