Saturday, February 19, 2011

Once a Month Cooking (Freezer Cooking) Basics: Unleashing the Power of Your Freezer (AKA How do I freeze this?)

I used to use my freezer only for storing extra meat and bags of frozen veggies. I would occasionally freeze leftovers but I generally did so by just putting all of what was left in one big container. Inevitably it would be forgotten in the back of the freezer somewhere and I wouldn’t actually know what it was once I unearthed it again and so it would get tossed. Once I discovered all of the different methods there were for freezing things a whole new world opened up for me and I really started to use my freezer for the awesome tool that it is.

Small Portions
  • Ice cube trays work wonders for this. Spoon food into standard ice cube trays, cover tightly (tin foil or Glad Press n’ Seal work well), and let freeze until solid. Once they are frozen, you can pop the cubes out like you would regular ice cubes and the trays are available to be used again. Store the food cubes in a labeled freezer bag.
  • Use this method for things like hummus, tomato paste, chicken broth, pasta sauce, peanut sauce, and pureed veggies for baby food or healthy add-ins. Basically anything where you would want just a small portion of it defrosted at a time.
Medium/Large Portions
  • Similar to using an ice cube tray for small portions, you can use individual sealable containers for medium or large portions. Spoon individual servings of food into separate freezer containers, seal tightly, and freeze solid. Once frozen, pop them out of the container like a big ice cube and store in labeled freezer bags.
  • Use this method for things like soups, stews, chili, casseroles, pasta dishes, side dishes, sauces, marinades, or larger portions of pureed veggies
Flash Freeze Method
  • Arrange pieces of food on a cookie sheet or anything flat and freezable so that they are not touching. To do more than one layer, cover the first layer with wax paper and place the next layer on top. Cover tightly and freeze until solid. Once the pieces are frozen you can remove them from the tray and store them in a freezer bag. Since the outsides are frozen already they won’t freeze together, similar to bags of individually frozen chicken breasts.
  • Use this method for anything that you want to retrieve separately: pancakes, waffles, chunks of fruit, french toast, turkey burgers, pieces of lasagna or pot pie
Double Bagged Method
  • Place individual servings of food in a regular sandwich bag or quart-sized bag and then store all of the smaller bags in a larger freezer bag
  • Use this method for things like breads, muffins, sandwiches, granola bars, or breakfast burritos. I use this method for my diced onions because the double bagging prevents the onion smell from stinking up my freezer :)

4 comments:

  1. Great Tips! Thanks! I've been looking into using this method or cooking all day one day and then freezing the meals for the week or month. Thanks again for the tips

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  2. How do you clean the cauliflower before you flash freeze?
    Do you make sure it dry first?

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  3. Hey Briony,

    I love everything I have made off this website. Do you have any tips on popping the medium/large frozen portions out of the containers? I did it overnight and I am thinking now that you might not have meant that long when you said "frozen solid."

    Thanks!

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    1. No, you were right! They should be completely frozen. With mine I leave them sitting on the counter for about 10 mins until the very outside of the chunk defrosts just enough for them to slide out of the container. Or my friend, Ariana, runs hot water over the containers for a second and then they pop out. Good luck!
      ~Bri

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