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In the past, I have shared 6 reasons why I think having an extra freezer saves time and money. In this article, I want share tips for the best way to freeze foods. I think some of you will be amazed at what can be frozen.
To start, you can freeze all things in the world but it doesn’t do any good if you don’t store them properly. Depending on the food you are freezing the prep will be different. In general for vegetables you will need to clean and blanch them just long enough to stop any further ripening. This helps to preserve color, texture and flavor for 9-12 months depending on the vegetable. That means you can buy items in season and store them until the start of next years season! Here’s a quick guide for how long to blanch and how to prepare each vegetable.
If you are storing cooked meals, either package them in square freezer safe containers for easy stacking or in freezer bags with all the air removed. Casseroles can be the one exception. I would recommend storing them in disposable pans and make sure they are packed to the top.
So we have everything blanched and ready, it’s also important to note what you are storing them in. You have a number of options today, but depending on what you pick you make increase the storage time of your food by 6 months or more! The number one thing working against you in food storage is oxygen, so working hard to remove as much as you can from your food is best. Check out a food storage guideline to see how long food is good for if stored properly in the freezer.
Plastic Freezer Bags – The most affordable way to store items, Make sure you are using a bag labeled as “freezer”, there is a huge difference between these and regular storage bags. Lay the bag flat and smush it to get out as much air as possible. Depending on the brand you pick most bags can keep food for 1-2 months without freezer burn starting.
Double-Wrapping – Wrapping your food in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil is a technique that can actually work better than plastic bags. This is best for casseroles, and cuts of meat. Still work the items to get out as much air before freezing.
Vacuum Sealing – This requires purchasing a vacuum unit, normally around $100. You also have the expense of buying bags etc to continue using the sealer. If you store food often it could be well worth the purchase though. Foods stored using this method can last up to 1-2 years without freezer burn beginning. To store moist foods like soups and stews make sure you have the appropriate vacuum containers. (Lately we are seeing a lot of deals on these so don’t rule it out!)
What exactly can you freeze?
I would say almost anything! Aside from normal things, we freeze cheese, eggs, milk, refrigerated rolls, cream cheese, etc. Also don’t forget about things you can freeze to save time later: cooked rice, chopped onions, broths, and more. Obviously the one thing to stay away from though is a can of coke!
Tip: In south it is also common to freeze flour, bread and other similar products. Remember if you freeze any baking ingredients that you should always warm them to room temperature before cooking.
Want to see more on this freezer series?