Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Freezer Storage Question

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer is hosting a BACKWARDS edition of Works for Me Wednesday today! I was so excited... because I'm super curious about everyone's best suggestion for freezer storage.

Currently, if I buy a large-ish quantity of meat, I'll subdivide it into meal-sized portions and freeze. Ground beef gets frozen in Ziploc bags, chicken breasts usually get flash-frozen then all stored in one big bag. My dilemma really comes with other types of frozen items. For instance, I made chocolate chip cookie dough & froze some - just in a piece of Gladware. I have no idea if this will keep well or not.

Please let me know your best tips for freezing things (especially meal-type items or things other than just plain meat!). We also have relatively few containers that I can use for freezing things, so I may purchase some soon - any suggestions for this, too?


Crazy Lady Cheryl said...

I try to freeze anything and everything in a ziploc, lay flat so it gets it as thin as possible. Once it is frozen solid, you can stand the ziplocs up like books on a bookshelf - or leave stacked neatly. Hope this helps!

Jen said...

I also freeze everything possible in ziplocs. I buy the Freezer kind in various sizes, and I've been pleased with everything. I've frozen rice dishes, soups, meats, and breads. Label the bags before you put the food in then lay them flat to freeze. I've made homemade bagel bites before (also breakfast burritos) and I think those are best to freeze individually then bag. Those won't lay as flat, so I put them on top.

I hope you get some great ideas!

Becca said...

For the cookie dough, you can either make the spoon fulls and freeze then throw in a bag, or you can line a frozen juice can with plastic wrap and shove the dough in. Then close the plastic and put on the lid. (works best with the plastic juice cans that have lids you can put back on)

One good idea for meat is to cut it in strips (chicken strips, pork or steak) and you can even put the marinade right in the baggie. Then you thaw and cook the marinaded meat.

You can use the plastic gladware type containers if you want to pack a frozen dinner. Example: 1 cup mashed potatoes in the bottom, chicken leg thrown on top, and frozen veggie on top (to fill on holes). Then you can take out the chicken leg and nuke the veggies, or leave it in i guess) and there is lunch. Ignore this if you are against heating plastic because the bpa thing. :-)

Jolanthe said...

I freeze cookie dough too - I actually use a small melon ball scoop and make little balls and then flash freeze them on a cookie sheet and transfer into a container.

I make a lot of stuff ahead of time to freeze (muffins, breads, extra meals, etc...) and we also have a lot of meat too (buy a side of beef each year. We do have an extra chest freezer in the basement.

I do use some Ziploc containers, but mainly I use tupperware freezer containers (especially in my fridge/freezer) since they stack nicely....sorta like modular mates in the freezer. ;)

Hope that helps some.

brudcrew said...

I use freezer bags too, but one thing I do to save a little on them is use regular zipper sandwich bags for individual portions and then put those inside a gallon freezer bag. That way I can often reuse the freezer bags and don't end up with one giant mutated chunk of chicken to hack my way through (can you say "time for take-out"). For cookie dough, I make a log of dough on a piece of plastic wrap, wrap it up and then freeze logs in gallon freezer bags (again reuseable). Then when I want cookies I take out a frozen log and slice it up to lay on a cookie sheet. Each one makes 12-14 so I don't end up eating 2-3 doz while the kids are at school ("the batch only makes five"). :)

Rebekah said...

Thanks everyone for the great tips! This is some great motivation to try to freeze more. :)

Kara S. said...

Have you tried a vacuum sealer? I have no idea if it would work for cookie dough, but a vacuum sealer works great for meats and veggies - helps them keep longer and also prevents freezer burn. The Reynolds Handi-Vac is a really great tool. I love mine mainly because you can "re-use" the same bag. For example, when I chop pepperoni or cooked chicken, I put it all in one bag (similar to a Ziploc), seal it, freeze it. Then when I'm making pizza or a recipe for the chicken, I open the bag, take out what I need, reseal it with the vacuum thingy, and toss it back in the freezer. Instead of having portion size bags, I can take my portion out of one bag. There's usually coupons in the Sunday paper for the Handi-Vac and stores like Kroger frequently put them on sale. You could probably get the sealer for about $4 and the boxes of bags range from $1.50 to $3. Definitely worth the investment to prevent freezer burn and such on meat.

Rebekah said...

Thanks Kara - I hadn't even thought about a vacuum sealer. We do get a lot of freezer burn - more than I ever have before. That sounds like it really could help with that.