This is post #2 in the Frugal Food: Freezer series. Be sure to check out post #1 “Frugal Food: Foods You Can’t Freeze“.
Wrapping and packaging foods for the freezer can seem intimidating at the beginning. Should you use butcher paper? Zippered freezer bags, or plastic storage containers? Which packaging should I use for which foods? How much food can I freeze at once?
First a few quick freezing tips:
- Make sure the freezer is set at 0F or -18C or lower.
- If you plan to freeze a lot of food at the same time turn the thermometre of the freezer to it’s coldest setting for the day before.
- Don’t try to freeze to much at once. Try to freeze no more than 3lbs (1.5kg) of food per cubic-foot capacity of your freezer within a 24 hour period.
- Freeze in usable quantities. If you have a household of 2 people it doesn’t make sense to freeze a container with enough to feed 8 people. Think about how you’ll use things before you freeze them and package accordingly.
- Make sure you use only vaporproof/moistureproof packaging that is designed for use in the freezer. Packaging should be able to withstand freezing and thawing without breaking or cracking. If you choose glass containers make sure they are freezer-proof.
- Square container take up less space and stack better than round containers.
There are two types of packaging for freezing foods: rigid (best for foods like soups, stews, casseroles, etc.) and flexible (best for firmer foods like fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.). Either type should be vaporproof, leakproof, durable and able to withstand freezing temperatures.
Packaging meat & fish for the freezer: While you can freeze meat and fish in their grocery store wrappings for short term freezing (up to 1 month) meat and fish are best wrapped in butcher paper to freeze. I probably should take a bunch of photos of the process of wrapping meat but I’m not one to reinvent the wheel if I don’t have to LOL. Here’s a great tutorial on wrapping meat for the freezer with nice illustrations.
Next we’ll talk about how long foods can be kept in the freezer before they start losing flavour, nutritional value and texture.