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I'm the sort of shopper who can never have too much food in the freezer. Bags upon bags of frozen veg are currently crammed in as tight as I get can them, as one of the 'rules' of the Slimming World plan I'm following is that a third of what I eat each day has to be fruit or veg. The trouble with this is that my freezer quickly had a layer of escaped peas and sweetcorn at the bottom. It was whilst doing my supermarket shop that I came across one of JMLs video presentation stands, where a TV advertises a product showing what it can do, and the product itself is on the shelves around it . I became convinced that this was something I needed , and impressed with the video showing this sealing all manner of packets, I popped one into my trolley. I can't rememeber how much I actually paid at the time, but I can't imagine it was more than around £7, although prices online show it at around a fiver . It is really a smaller version of those heated crocodile sealers I use at work . Its about 16cm long, and has a large magnetic patch on the back meaning I can store it on the freezer door. It uses two aa batteries (not included), which are easily fitted, and has a safety guard over the heated rollers . To use, you simply pull it along the top edge of the bag and the heated rollers melt the sides of the bag together a little . It actually does take a few uses to get into it - pull it akong the bag too fast, and nothing will stick. Too slow, and the plastic begins to burn. Once you have the technique and timing right though, it's very simple to use, and as well as using it to seal my frozen veg back up after use, I've also used it to seal up my boyfriends sandwiches for work to keep them fresh, and to reseal large bags of crisps after snacking . The product claims to securely seal even bags containing liquid, but I have not been brave enough to try this yet . I think this is a great easy to use little product, that does the job it is intended to do . It's not really that neccessary though - the little twisty ties you get with sandwich bags work just as well really. I like it though, especially the fact that it is small and compact, and easy to store . I also like that it is not heavy in the hand, and that thge size of it is comfortable to grip securely. 4 stars - a handy kitchen gadget, but not an essential.
I brought this when it was new on the market. It seemed like a really good idea and I thought it would be a great way to save money and space when storing opened food packaging. It is a great little thing and it does do the job well. To use it you just press the clamp down on the packing of the food you want to seal in and gently but firmly guide it along untill you have made a seal. It is very simple and once you have practiced a couple of times, it becomes very easy to use. I had a few problems with this. The first was that it has a magnet to keep it on the fridge but the weight of the unit seemed to pull it down sometimes and I would find it on the floor. The second is that it goes through an awful lot of batteries, which means it isn't as cheap as it would appear, although this will of course depend on how often you use it, we use ours quite a bit, but I wouldn't consider it to be above average. The other problem, which is the biggest, is that it doesn't always seal every type of packaging and can take a while on thicker materials. You have to be really careful not to move it too quickly or you just have to go back and start again. Sometimes, I haven't been able to seal a product and have had to use another method. Having said all of these things it is still great for sealing things like a block of cheese or a packet of crisps. We don't really use ours much now, but when we do it's very handy and I can see it would be very good for someone with limited kitchen space.
I recently bought a lot of dried fruit and nuts from Holland & Barrett online and on their website they were selling the JML Handy Seal. It was only £4.99 and I thought it was a good price for a useful gadget. It basically seals bags so that you can keep the contents fresh, which is important if you buy food in bulk and hate things going stale. I hate throwing food away, so I do my best to keep things fresh, but I often run out of clips and food boxes. The Handy Seal measures 16cm long x 4cm wide, so it fits nicely in your hand and it only weighs 10g so it's not heavy at all. It also has a massive magnet on the back of the main body, so you can stick it on your fridge or other magnetic appliances for easy access. It takes 2 AA batteries, which are very easy to insert and remove, as is the plastic battery cover. I have to say that I was surprised how quickly it drained the batteries. I used it about 10-15 times before the batteries needed changing, but I was using rechargeables and perhaps normal batteries would last longer. The batteries operate a small heating pad, which is activated when you squeeze the Handy Seal together. The heating pad has a safety cover to prevent it heating up when you're not using it so that's a good feature. So to seal a bag you just need to slide the Handy Seal along the edges of any plastic bag, squeezing air out as you go along. You're supposed to place the sealer in the centre of the bag and slide away from the centre towards the side of the bag, then go back to the centre and slide to the other side. The video on the JML website which demonstrates the product made it look really easy to use, but there is definitely a knack to using it! It's not that it's complicated; you just have to do it slooooowly to give the heating pad a chance to heat up and seal the bag. The detailed instructions provided in the box explain how to use the Handy Seal most effectively and they explain that certain plastics will be easier to seal than others. When used on really thin bags it will seal and also cut through the plastic. I have used the Handy Seal on a variety of bags, for example: - dried fruit and nut bags - fresh vegetable bags, e.g. spinach - frozen vegetable bags, e.g. peas - crisp bags, e.g. Kettle Chips - foil based bags, e.g. polenta - sandwich bags There isn't anything that I haven't been able to seal, but I haven't tried it on a bag containing liquids yet as I don't have THAT much confidence in it! Sometimes I get a tiny gap if I haven't lined up the two seals properly, but it's not a big deal as I just go over it again. There's something mildly satisfying about using the Handy Seal - a bit like peeling dried PVA glue off your hands (one of the best bits of doing Arts & Crafts at school!). I'm giving this product 4 stars because it can take a bit of practice to get right, but I do think it's very good value for money and it's a gadget that does work and I do use it a lot. This is the first JML product I have ever bought, but it has given me confidence to buy more things from them in the future. For more info and to watch the video demonstration please visit: http://www.jmldirect.com/Handy-Seal-PH4885/ Available from the JML website £4.99, or from the following retailers: Holland & Barrett £4.99 Argos £4.88