8/4/13

Freezer 101: Choosing the Right Container

Whether you have a small freezer attached to your refrigerator or a large deep freeze, Choosing the right containers for your space and type of food is important to your saving money and preserving your food for longer term storage.

Bags, containers, jars, and  papers or foils are all options to consider. I actually use them all for different reasons!

Lets start with:
Bags:
Make sure you use freezer bags not just your average plastic storage bag. There is a difference in thickness and the freezer bags are designed to prevent air from getting to the foods, and do a much better job of preventing freezer burn.

What I use bags for? Almost everything! Dividing meats into smaller portioned packages, such as hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken etc.  I also use them for storing frozen veggies and fruits such as peppers, onions, carrots, for soups and cooking as well as fruits that I don't feel like canning.

Pro's: Easy and quick! 
Con's Not as "earth friendly" , continually buying more.

Jan's tip for using bags in the freezer:
1)  Always freeze your bags flat so they stack well. 
2)  Don't stack bags on top of each other until they are all frozen so they wont' stick together.
3)  Lastly, if you are putting them on wire racks line the wire racks with a flattened cardboard cereal box, so the bags don't sag through the wires and freeze to the rack!

Plastic Storage Containers:
Great for soups, broths, left overs (especially for individual portions for taking lunch to work), 

Pro's: Easy to use, reusable so very affordable. No leakage or spillage.
Cons: Takes up a ton of room, so limits how much stuff you can fit in the freezer. Not as much of an "earth" friendly option.

Glass Canning Jars: 
Yep! You read it right! Most canning jars are freezer safe. They actually are marked that way on the new cases at the stores now. 
I use this mostly when one of my jars doesn't seal properly when canning, or if i am storing soups or salsa's. 
No need to "can' these jars, just put your food in, put on a seal and a ring and pop in the freezer!

Jan's tip for using canning jars: 
1) Make sure it's an actual canning jar and not a mayonnaise jar.
2) Don't fill it to the top! Leave a 1/2 inch of space for expansion as it freezes. Otherwise you'll crack the glass!
Pro's: Handy if you have the jars already. Much more "earth" friendly
Con's: Costly if you don't have them already. Takes up space in the freezer.

Freezer Papers and Foils:

Foil:  Is great for keeping out moisture, odors, and air. Makes sure it is a good and thick foil. I like to wrap things that will go straight on the grill or campfire in foil, such as veggies packs with a pat of butter, hobo dinners of sliced potoates, meatballs etc., or to re-wrap meats from the store. 

Jan's tip for using Foil: 
1) Make sure your creases and folds are super air tight. Double roll the seams shut and press all the air out of the corners and creases as much as possible. You may want to put the foil packs into a plastic freezer bag as a double seal .
2)Caution: Do not use foil for high acid foods such as tomatoe based lasagna's, fruits etc. the acid will erode the foil.

Pro's: Inexpensive, handy and reusable!
Con's: Can't use acidic foods, hard to label the contents on the foil.

Freezer Paper and Freezer Tape:
Freezer Paper: It may seem old fashioned, but it works fantastic! Reynolds makes a freezer paper, but if you get serious about it you can find larger rolls online too. Freezer paper is a thicker white butcher paper that has a plastic side and a paper side. Perfect for re-wrapping those expensive meats from the store! 
?? Which side do you use to wrap the food? Answer; The plastic side is the food side. The paper side is the outside. (perfect for writing on!) 
Freezer Tape: Perfect for labeling on ALL your bags, jars, containers and papers! You will never regret keeping a roll of freezer tape on hand! 

Pro's: tried and true! will keep freezer burn at bay! Can be purchased in large rolls so is affordable over time.
Easy to label too!
Con's : The initial purchase. 

5 comments:

  1. These are some great tips! What I like best, though, are the plastic containers you are using to hold and sort all those other containers!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Carol! Actually that is next Monday's post! I almost did that post first! :)
      Hugs!
      Jan

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  2. Great thoughts. I didn't know there was such a thing as freezer tape. I just got some new glass containers by Anchor Hocking. They are wonderful! Made of recycled glass, works in the freezer, easy to stack, leak-proof and made in the USA... I'm really happy with them so far!

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    Replies
    1. My son and daughter in law have a set and love them! They are really encouraging me to change over, so I am glad to hear you love them also! The freezer tape is available at Walmart and other places. If you look it up on their online site it'll give you the product number. Take that number to the cust. svc. desk and they can tell you exactly where in the store it is!
      Have a great week!
      Jan

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  3. I've been using my seal a meal and love it. The plastic is clear so I can see what's inside and I can write in the smooth surface. It gets literally ALL of the air out so there is no frezzer burn. The only downside is the price of the bags but even with that, you get a certain amount of bags and then rolls of the material so you can decide the size of the bag. I bought one for my Mom years ago and got it back when she passed away. But I have to say, I have never lost food due to freezer burn using this method so over time, the cost of the bags pay for themselves in saved food. Just my opinion...

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