The Fresko V8 is a multifunctional vacuum-sealer. It’s available now on Kickstarter for the early bird price of $49 (approximately £37).
The V8 can vacuum-seal food to keep it fresher for longer. As well as using the sealed bags to extend the life of stored food, you can use them in sous vide cooking.
There’s also a round vacuum attachment at the back of the device that can be used alongside special corks to re-seal open wine and to vacuum-seal food in compatible Tupperware containers.
Design and features
The Fresko V8 is a countertop appliance measuring 42 x 10 x 11cm and weighing 1,951g (4.4lbs). It’s relatively large and heavy and will need a dedicated storage spot with easy access. I wouldn’t be able to lift it from a high shelf with one hand.
It’s attractive, with a silvery surround and a black plastic surface that features a touchscreen interface. It feels solid and well-designed. And it’s very straightforward to use. One of the points of difference between the Fresko and a traditional vacuum sealer is that it works extremely quickly, with no need to clamp the device over the plastic.
Here’s how to use it. Put the food you want to sous vide or store into one of the plastic envelopes that comes with the device. It’s sealed on three sides. Place the bag so that the open side fits into the slot on the front of the Fresko V8.
From the screen on top, choose between ‘dry’ and ‘moist’. These settings allow you to protect and prepare either dry food such as nuts or water-rich food like fruit or meat.
The machine will automatically draw the air out from the bag and heat-seal it.
Using it with a sous vide
I prepared a steak and cooked it in the Russell Hobbs slow cooker sous vide, a brilliant 6.5 litre countertop appliance that works as a slow cooker, meat cooker (with inbuilt temperature probe) and sous vide. Its RRP is £99.99 but it’s now on sale for a very reasonable £69.99 at a couple of retailers, including Currys PC World. It’s well worth it.
For those that don’t know, sous vide means “under vacuum” in French. It’s a method of cooking whereby food is vacuum sealed in plastic and cooked in a water bath. Because you can precisely time the cooking and measure the temperature of the water bath, it’s hard to overcook food and the finished product will be tender and juicy.
The Fresko V8 made a perfect seal and the finished steak was indeed good, although when you cook meat in this way, you’ll still want to finish it in a pan or with a chef’s blowtorch to sear it.
Sealing food for storage
If you find you often throw out half-empty containers of food, a vacuum sealer like this could save you a lot of money. Sometimes you want a salmon steak but can only buy a twin pack. Although you dutifully wrap the unused steak in clingfilm or stick it in Tupperware, it still ages and dries out. By the time you’re next in the mood for one, it’s considerably less appealing.
If you have a vacuum sealer, as soon as you open the packet, you can re-seal whatever you’re not using and fridge or freeze it. When you come to eat it, it will be just as appetising as when you first bought it.
There’s only one problem with the Fresko V8. As it heat-seals the bags, they’re not reusable. You may be able to get a couple of uses from each one but ultimately, they’re going to end up as waste. That means that not only are you locked in to buying new plastic bags for the life of the appliance, but you’re creating plastic waste every time you use it. So, while it solves the problem of food spoilage, it creates a new environmental problem in its stead.
For a more sustainable – and cheaper – option, you can buy a set of reusable bags and a manual vacuum pump from Amazon for £9.99. There’s a downside to this as well, though. If you’re cooking meat or fish in a bag and intend to re-use it, you must make sure that it’s been properly cleaned or risk contamination.
Price & availability
It’s currently only available on Kickstarter, although it should have wider availability in the near future. The early bird price ($49/ £37) is excellent for an appliance of this kind and is half of the projected RRP. It’s due to ship in November.
This is a really well-designed appliance that’s attractive, simple to use and efficient.
There’s no doubt that it performs well and is satisfying to use. If you have a professional cooking business, the Fresko V8 would be an excellent purchase. And large families who find food waste is a problem could well save money with the appliance.
But it’s hard not to have mixed feelings about a product that’s so reliant on single-use plastic: it’s a high-waste product that solves one problem by creating another.
For a lot of people, the Fresko V8 is going to be an over-engineered solution to a problem that could better be solved by a meal planner and some Tupperware.
Bear in mind that this product is currently optimised for the US. If you’re in the UK and want one of the first batch of appliances, you’ll need to buy a step-down converter as well, like this one that costs £15.65 from Amazon.
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