Freezing Guide

Freezing and Packing Guide

Freezing Guide

There is lots of book on this subject of freezing, some are really good but others make you buy expensive proper packaging to freeze your foods. I don’t have a vacuum sealed machine, I use containers, sealed bags, canning jars, and even baking dishes and pans. I know you already own one or all of these items, I listed above.

downstairs freezer
Downstairs Freezer

Freezer management is crucial. Use labels in every piece of frozen foods, you will thank me later. Honestly defrosting something you didn’t want to frost for lunch or dinner can be frustrating. I will offer just two pieces of advice. Buy different sizes of bags, containers and extra sealer bags- you will always wish you had bought a more bags or containers. The second part is keep the freezer organized. Preparation helps with unwanted freezer burn, tasting tough and unpleasant on thawing.

A well stocked freezer is a great asset, saving you time and trouble. But it can also save you money!

Freezing and Packing Guide
Freezing and Packing Guide

Freezer Management and Maintenance

A well stocked freezer is a great asset, saving you time, trouble and money. Here are some things you can do to make you life easier.

Labeling:

I used to write down a list of the contents in each package and when I froze it. Lets say it was time consuming. I started labeling each bag, container and boxes in the freezer and this helped lots. I know some have color coded but for me it was confusing and too much hassle looking for the list I made with the codes.

The solution is a really simple and no effort system using a marker pen and white sticky labels for the freezer. I simply write on the label what the food is, the date and quantity. Plus I add on the right side ( or left side) a mark depicting what sort of food it is. You know M for meat, F for fish, P for poultry, V for vegetables and so on.

Food Rotation

It is important that you don’t keep putting new foods on the top of older items, otherwise you will simply keep using the freshest food, leaving the rest ti fester underneath. I have worked in the food industry for over 16 years and we always used FIFO (First In First Out). We always made sure to rotate the foods in all the departments. We always put the fresher goods behind the ones and older ones in top.

Managing Quantity

When you unpack your shopping instead of putting the food quickly in the freezer, stop and think for a second. It will be so much easier to break down those packages before hand instead of defrosting too much and wasting it. Take the time to separate them into numbers you are likely to use in one go, wrap them properly and label then before putting into the freezer. By doing this you will never have to thaw more than you need.

Storage Times

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that food lasts in the freezer forever. Anything frozen in time will start deteriorating after a while and some items more quickly than others. Check how long you can keep it in the freezer and eat the foods within that period. Remember that if you pass the time of eating the food, it can impair the texture and flavor of the item and you may not enjoy them very much.

Cleaning Your Freezer

I know its a pain the behind but its so important to keep the freezer clean and hygienic.

  • Before using your new freezer for the first time, wipe it out with a clean cloth rinsed in a bowl of hot water and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. This should be done every time you defrost it too.
  • Wipe the outer surfaces regularly with a clean, damp cloth with detergent especially around the seals
  • Remove any spills or damaged bags of food if you notice them
  • If you have a freezer chest in the garage or outdoors, polish with silicone wax from time to time to protect it
  • Brush or vacuum the dust and cobwebs of the pipes and wires at the back of the freezer or refrigerator from time to time.

Defrosting the Freezer/Refrigerator

Once year, you should defrost chest freezer once a year and for an upright at least two or three times a year. In between times scrap off any frosty ice that accumulates inside the freezer and wipe down under the draws. I will collect dust and pieces of debris from the food.

The best time to defrost your freezer or combo when the stocks are low. Its good idea right before you go to your huge shopping and during the cool days. Never do this in the summer because it will take longer to reach temps and some foods could spoil during this process.

Packing It Right

Protecting your food in the freezer is very important. The food will get freezer burn and there is now way to fix that. It will color, texture, nutrients and flavor. To prevent oxidation, which makes food smell and taste unpleasant, all air must be excluded too.

Packed meat
Packed ground meat

Proper Freezer Packaging

There are loads of suitable wrappings and containers available to store your frozen food properly. Here are the most useful.

  • Plastic Wrap- You must use plastic wrap that is suitable for the freezer. I like to use the multipurpose one, which can be used in the microwave and for other food wrapping too.
  • Foil- Heavy duty foil is best because it won’t tear easily. Use if to cover foods as a lid over an open container to wrap bread, meats, cakes and other solid items completely, and to protect bone ends before wrapping in plastic wrap or polythene bags.
  • Foil Containers- They are ideal storage containers for storing everything from soups to casseroles. This are great for prepared dishes that can be thawed and reheated in the same dish in the oven.
  • Heavy-duty Polythene Bags- These are designed for freezing food and comes in variety of sizes, either loose or in rolls. Its good to have varies sizes handy and they are durable.
  • Plastic Containers- These are hard plastics with airtight lids. The are great for soups, chili, casseroles and stewed fruit. They are great for items that can easily get freezer burns like cream cakes, delicate pastries and pasta dishes.

These will work for you and don’t forget to always label food packages for freezing. This will make it easier when you store them.

Tips For Perfect Frozen Foods

The purpose of freezing fresh food is to preserve it for later use. Freezing saves money on items that you can use at later use.

  • Do not freeze damaged or over-rip foods, they will deteriorate quickly and won’t with freezing.
  • Prepare and freeze raw foods separately from cooked
  • Clean surfaces and utensils for each use
  • Cool cooked and blanched foods before freezing
  • Remove excess fat on meats and such because it will deteriorate faster.
  • Wrap foods properly and exclude as much air as possible from the packs
  • Never thaw foods then put it back in the freezer without cooking first or you may get food poisoning
  • Don’t overload your freezer or refrigerator. It will not be able to maintain the correct temperature and food can deteriorate.

How long in the freezer

Freezing keeps food safe almost indefinitely but there is still recommendations storage times for different foods

  • Raw ground beef- 3 to 4 months
  • Ground beef casserole- 2 to 3 months
  • Cooked ground beef, crumbs (for taco, etc…)- 2 to 3 months
  • Soups, chilies, sauces- 3 to 4 months
  • Meatballs, burgers- 2 to 3 months
  • Bacon- 2 months
  • Bread- up to 6 months
  • Broccoli, Cabbage, Corn, Beans- up to 1 year
  • Butter- salted 3 months, unsalted 6 momths
  • Chicken- cooked chicken 2 months, uncooked chicken 12 months
  • Fish- up to 4 months based on the individual entry
  • Hotdogs- up to 2 months
  • Ham- cooked and uncooked 1 month
  • Ice cream- 3 months

I hope this helps you the next time you rearrange your freezer and help you preserve the quality of foods.

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