No matter what you call them — plastic baggies, sandwich bags, Ziplocs (the widely accepted brand-name moniker, à la Kleenex) — everyone’s fought with a zip-top storage bag as you’ve desperately tried to squeeze the air out of it.
So when we spotted this simple trick to getting a plastic bag as close to vacuum-sealed as humanly possible (read: sans extra kitchen gadget), we were intrigued. Slate‘s L.V. Anderson demonstrates a trick she learned from her mom — instead of trying to squeeze out excess air with your hands, leave a small opening in the middle of the seal and then suck the extra air out with your mouth. It’s definitely one of those “mom knows best” tricks that you probably can’t believe you haven’t been doing this whole time.
Still, for everyday food storage needs, “close” sounds like good enough for us mere humans.
1. This is how you probably use a Ziploc bag
Most people put their food in their Ziploc, try to clumsily press the air out with their hands, and seal it. Come on, don’t pretend like you haven’t tried to wrestle and squeeze the air out of a Ziploc bag and then hastily seal it before more air can get in. The problem with this approach is that there’s always still some air left inside.
2. But wait, there’s a better way!
All you have to do is throw your food in the bag, and seal it MOST of the way, leaving a tiny gap. You don’t even need to press the air out, just leave it as is…
3. It’s time to get intimate with your Ziploc bag
The next step is to put your mouth over the little gap you’ve left in the top of the bag, and getting intimate with it, suck until you’ve sucked all the air out of the bag. Voila! You have essentially vacuum-sealed your food, eliminating extra space caused by the air in your Ziploc bag. I told you it was a simple fix!
Watch the full video below, and prepare to have your mind blown once more: