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Digging through the archives, this was a post from 2011 that still so helpful to getting control over your freezer!
Your freezer can save you a ton of money! Today I want to share my best tips freezer storage techniques. While it’s great for storing all your ice cream… put your freezer to work storing extra food, freezer meals, pre-cut food and pre-cooked meats and so much more. Buying items when they are on sale and in-season is key to saving in the grocery store. Making sure those items are stored properly only helps to increase your savings.
Don’t quite think it’s a big money saver? Check out my 6 reasons why I think having an extra freezer saves time and money.
Best Freezer Techniques
Freeze the right things
What 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 is a can of coke!)
Tip: In the 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.
Prep things the right way
You can freeze all things in the world but it doesn’t do any good if you don’t prep 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 year’s season! Here’s a quick guide for how to freeze fresh vegetables.
To prevent freezer burn on food, it’s good to get things cold in the fridge before putting them in the freezer. If you put warm or hot food in a container or freezer bag and steam collects in the container and then freezes, it can cause the food to be less yummy when you take it out of the freezer.
Freeze things in the right containers
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.
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.
Here are some of your options for storing things 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. Make sure you work the items to get out as much air before freezing.
Vacuum Sealing: This requires purchasing a vacuum searler unit, normally around $100. You also have the expense of buying bags and other supplies to continue using the sealer. If you store food often, though, it could be well worth the purchase. 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 this option out!)
Liquids: I love to freeze extra broth (it is only good for 24 hours once opened in the fridge). Pour left over liquids into ice cube trays freeze and then put into plastic bags. This also works for cooking soups, baby food and more.
Any tips I forgot on the best freezer techniques? Share them in the comments!
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