Freezer Series


Whenever you freeze anything, even if it’s an entire meal or just a few slices of meat, you’ll need a few tips to make sure your food stays fresh. While freezer methods vary depending on what you’re freezing, these few tips will work for any item:

10 TIPS FOR FREEZING

1) Label each item well, so you know what it is and what date you froze it. Also consider adding number of servings, instructions for cooking/reheating, and expiration date.

2) Make sure foods are stored well. Most foods can be frozen in store packaging for only 1-2 months. For longer storage, move the item into a freezer bag, remove as much air as possible (unless freezing liquid, which will expand), and seal for freezing. Double package for extra protection (e.g. wrap meats in aluminum foil and then place inside a freezer baggie).

3) Thaw foods in the refrigerator for 24-48 hours. Foods thawed in the refrigerator can be safely refrozen without changing taste or quality.

4) For quicker thawing, thaw food in water tight container and thaw in cold water in the sink. Change water every 30 minutes or so until food is completely thawed.

5) And for the quickest thawing method ” head to the microwave! Assume about 6 minutes per pound of food on low heat.

6) Make sure your freezer maintains a 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower temperature.

7) Freezer burn happens sometimes and it can alter the taste of foods. Cut away freezer burnt sections before cooking or reheating.

8) Divide bulk foods into family-size portions for freezing, so you can thaw and cook/reheat, and enjoy the entire amount. For example, move large bags of vegetables into smaller bags that hold about 2-4 servings. Also move chops, steaks, and chicken breasts into 2-4 servings.

9) Spices and herbs in meals do become more flavorful while in the freezer, so take this into consideration when preparing meals. Items with jalapenos may be too hot to eat when you take them out to enjoy, if the meal was already spicy to start with.

10) Pastas continue to absorb liquid during freezing, so undercook pasta meals slightly before freezing so they are not gooey mush when you reheat them.

Check out the entire Freezer Series HERE to see what you missed!

What are your favorite tips for freezing food and keeping it delicious?

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Freezer Series: The Lingo

by Beth Montgomery on June 18, 2009

in Frugal Cooking, Frugal Series


Blanching: When freezing some raw vegetables, it’s important to blanch first. Enzymes cause vegetables to lose their flavor and color, making them less appealing or even inedible when thawed. Blanching stops these enzymes. To blanch, boil 1 gallon of water in a large pot. Only blanch 1 pound of vegetables per gallon of water at a time. Submerge vegetables using a cheese cloth, strainer, or basket. Immediate pack vegetables in airtight containers in family size portions.

Cooking Party: Inviting many friends over to cook together.

Freezer Cooking: Cooking meals specifically to freeze and use enjoy at a later date.

Ice Cube Freezing: Placing fresh items in water, then freezing, locking the item inside an ice cube to keep it more fresh.

Meal Exchange: Cooking one meal several times, then swapping with friends to enjoy many different meals.

OAMC: Once a Month Cooking means cooking an entire months (or weeks) worth of meals up front, then freezing to heat.

Sugar or Syrup Packing: Some fruits require sugar or syrup packing to properly freeze raw. To freeze fruits using sugar pack, sprinkle the required amount of sugar over the fruit. Gently stir until the pieces are coated with sugar and juice. To make sugar syrup, dissolve the needed amount of sugar in cold water. Stir the mixture and let stand until the solution is clear.

Tray Freezing: Placing smaller items such as diced onions or muffins on a cookie sheet or tray first to freeze, before placing in a freezer baggie. This allows you to quickly and easily grab out just a few to use without them being clumped together.

Check out the entire Freezer Series HERE to see what you missed!

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Freezer Series: Getting Ready

by Beth Montgomery on June 11, 2009 · 1 comment

in Frugal Cooking, Frugal Series


When it comes to saving money, the one item I own that I couldn’t live without is my freezer! It allows me to stock up on so many products when the prices are rock bottom and then freeze them until I’m ready to use them. So many foods can be frozen, including full meals to save you time and money in the kitchen.

With a new baby on the way, I know I won’t be in the mood to cook once we get home from the hospital, so I’m starting to stockpile a few meals now. Due to popular request, for the next few months, I’ll be sharing my tips on freezing foods, meals, and more, including some delicious recipes made to be frozen!

To prepare for my meal stock-up, my husband came home yesterday with various size freezer Ziploc bags, aluminum foil, and aluminum casserole dishes. While I was cooking up our delicious enchiladas last night for dinner, I doubled the recipe and froze one for after the baby comes.

To get the recipe for super easy enchiladas visit HERE. To freeze them, prepare the meal in a casserole dish (I used an aluminum one) as if you were about to stick it in the oven. Instead, cover with aluminum foil. Write on the top of the foil what is inside, the date you froze it, and cooking instructions (e.g., bake at 375 for approximately 20 minutes, serve with sour cream & guacamole). Now stick the dish inside of a freezer bag for extra protection and to avoid freezer burn. Get out as much of the air as possible and stick it in the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy the meal. When it’s time, just get it out and stick it in the oven to cook!

To start freezing foods and meals, you’ll need:

various size freezer baggies
magic marker
cookie sheet
aluminum foil & casserole pans (or other inexpensive pans)

Author’s Note: The Freezer Series ran 14 weeks from June until September. A new topic was released each Friday, followed by a delicious freezer recipe on Saturday. It   included the following tips, tricks, and topics:

The Lingo
10 Tips for Freezing
Meats
Vegetables
Fruits
Breads
Dairy & Eggs
Herbs
10 Extra Hints & Foods
Breakfast, Lunch, & Dinner
Meal Kits
OAMC & Freezer
Cooking Parties & Meal Exchanges

Have a specific question about freezing or a topic you’d like discussed? Or tell us what you enjoy freezing! Leave a comment and share!

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