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Freezer Food/Storage?

Last post Sun, Feb 19 2012 2:17 PM by Helene. 12 replies.
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  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 6:06 AM

    Freezer Food/Storage?

    Well... I did it... I bought a small-mid sized upright freezer for extra storage and savings. I am really excited. I will receive it tomorrow and plan to keep it very organized. I like to use tupperware style containers to store and freeze. They are stackable and easy to transfer out of the freezer to fridge to defrost and then do an easy reheat. Any advice for a first time freezer? I say it like that because I have experience freezing foods for a small freezer but not an extra one that will end me up with more food here then I am use to. There are also things I want to start doing that I wasn't really doing enough of before like BULK batch cooking for freezing purposes, Spider's emergency protein idea and also compartimentalized meals for those who need a quick balanced meal. I love cooking fresh and am pretty on top with this but it will be nice to have helpful extras/back ups on hand when need be. It will also be nice to have extra storage for sales/markdowns I come across that are a hit and miss - buy them now because they are gone tomorrow style...We have a new store that just opened and has a great deal on ground beef which I buy for my dog only. I am hoping to bulk buy his ground beef and freezer store it while this sale is available, not sure how long but better safe than sorry especially since he consumes 2-3lbs raw meat per day. I am hoping all these little changes will have big results... better savings and a mindfully stocked home store to shop from!

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 9:33 AM In reply to

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

    Tupperware-style containers are not your best choice for freezing; they allow air into foods, therefore moisture, which leads to more freezer burn, and faster, which makes food go bad much sooner. Also, the cold of a freezer will make plastic much more brittle to the point that it will break much more easily. For most meats, I unwrap the plastic (carefully, so it doesn't tear), remove the plastic tray, and then rewrap the plastic.  That gets rids of the air space that leads to the meat going bad so much faster.

    I wrap cooked freezer foods in plastic in one-person servings (for larger families, wrap in packages of whatever size you will use at one time), the put the wrapped items in labeled freezer bags - those can be reused later because they never actually touch the food. For soups and stews, or any prepared foods with a high moisture content, I line an aluminum container with plastic wrap, fill the container 3/4 of the way full, fold the plastic down, and then put the lid on it.  Once the food is solidly frozen, I remove it from the container and package as above.  I like the small loaf-pan size aluminum containers because I have a stack of similarly-sized plastic containers, so when I take things for lunch, I can put a wrapped item in the plastic container - by lunchtime it has defrosted enough to remove the wrap, and then I can heat it in the microwave.

  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 9:41 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

    BargainBinge:
    Any advice for a first time freezer?

    With all the cooking you do, you have never had a larger one?

    I know you like to cook fresh but for those of us with families or busy lives, we can tell you...bulk cooking and freezing is a budget and lifesaver at times. For you, when you are not well as it happened recently, you can still make your good meals but with less effort.

    The biggest saver is being able to buy meats at the lowest prices and meal plan from what you have on hand. Determine what you use most often like that ground beef for your dog. Those are the things you will really stock. We all like a little something special from time to time but we don't need an onging stock of it.

    You can decide which beans, sauces or other foods would store well with precooking and freezing. Some things just don't freeze well.

    Enjoy!

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 9:48 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

    karenteacher:
    Tupperware-style containers are not your best choice for freezing; they allow air into foods, therefore moisture, which leads to more freezer burn, and faster, which makes food go bad much sooner.

    I use Ziplock style bags and can keep meats for a good six months or more depending on the bag quality. I have had frozen foods still be good at a year.

    I have used some plastic storage containers for short term things and have had them crack. Mom has some made for freezing and does not have the problem of foods going bad quickly on her or cracking with them. I would thicker plastic and better seals on the covers make a difference but I would still be cautious of the kinds of food I put in them.

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 10:42 AM In reply to

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

    I use a combination of things to freeze leftover foods depending on what I have on hand. I have a vacuum sealer that we use for meats when I remember to buy the rolls for it, lol. We use ziploc bags and plastic tupperware type containers for soups, pasta sauce and chili. Just make sure you don't drop the plastic containers when they are frozen because they will break. I like to freeze the soups in single serve containers so that my husband can take it for lunch when he decides he doesn't want sandiches. Your new freezer will be one of the best investments you can make.
    Riley
  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 10:49 AM In reply to

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

    If you're going to invest in some containers, I prefer square or rectangular over circle type of containers.  You can stack them much more easily and they make better use of space.

    If you're using freezer bags, make sure you label what the food is on the inside of the bag after it's frozen.  That way the label won't fall off and you won't have mystery packages.  If you have any special instructions either write it on the bag or put it into the bag after the items are frozen.  This will help with other cooks in the family being able to help prepare meals.

    Have fun, I LOVE my freezers and don't know what I'd do without them.

  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 11:59 AM In reply to

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

    Thank you all for the great advice.

    Karenteacher: Your advice is very legit. I love your foil tin idea. This is the perfect alternative for me if not doing plastic containers.

    My problem is my OCD with organization and stacking. Loose bags will drive me batty which is why I haven't used freezer bags as my main source of storage. I have them and use them but not as my primary so Karen's solution will work well since they stack. Vacumm sealing also is of interest to me.

    Let's say I make a try of lasagna and need to cover it... Am I to securely wrap it in plastic or foil? which is better?

    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
  • Wed, Jan 18 2012 1:21 PM In reply to

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

    I wrap raw meats in plastic wrap, then in butcher paper...if we are butchering a LOT of meat.  Otherwise I use my vaccuum sealer, which really prevents "freezer burn".  Wrap things in amounts that will be needed.  For me I put things in one or two person packages, that way I can thaw what is needed.  Of course there are some packages specifically frozen to feed a crowd.  Hamburger for your dog could be frozen in daily amounts, so you only thaw what is needed for the next day.

    I really recommend your next big kitchen purchase be a vaccuum sealer.  It will make all the difference in your freezer experience. 

  • Sun, Feb 19 2012 12:25 AM In reply to

    • bugger
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    • Joined on Sun, Feb 19 2012
    • Posts 1

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

     I have a bit of an OCD issue myself! Everything has to be in it's place...but be eye pleasing. I would put your foods in a ziplock bag and then put it in a tuperware. I know it sounds like overkill and the tuperware isn't essentially doing anything other than make your food stackable, but hey! It's whatever you gotta do to not drive yourself crazy right!?  

  • Sun, Feb 19 2012 3:36 AM In reply to

    Re: Freezer Food/Storage?

    Bugger if I were using ziploc bags I would do the SAME thing. I need clean cut straight foreward stacking, not lopsy opsy bags that may not be perfectly flat and all stack the same... lol so not cray to me! or then we are just both coo coo crazy.
    "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." ~Chinese Proverb~
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