Freezing Your Stockpile

IMAG1120Have you ever skipped a great deal on food because you thought the food would spoil before you could use it?  I know I have, and it was such a bummer!    So if this helps even one person take advantage of a deal on perishable foods, it will be worth the time it took to write this post 🙂

There is almost NOTHING that can’t be frozen.  In my house, we freeze an insane amount of stuff.   Aside from the obvious freezer items like breads and meats, we freeze fruits, vegetables, dairy items, even milk!  Pretty much the only things you can’t freeze are canned foods and eggs with shells.   If I do figure out a way to freeze eggs without the shells cracking, I’ll be sure to update this!

Here are a few tips to remember when freezing foods:

  • Most items can be frozen forever at 0*.  For quality purposes, keep food for 1-2 months in a regular freezer, and 3-6 months in a deep freeze.
  • It’s important to freeze items safely.  Keep bags air free with a vacuum sealer or use air-tight containers to prevent freezer burn.  While freezer burn won’t make your food unsafe, it will change texture and taste.
  • Label food with a date so you use the oldest first.  For meats and other weighted or measured items, I write the info on the bag.
  • Flash freeze small items to prevent clumping.    Flash freezing is great for fruit, small veggies, muffins, cookies, pastries… the list goes on.  Flash freezing at home is quick and easy.  All you need is a cookie sheet, some parchment paper or wax paper, and a freezer!  If you have a small freezer, use a large plate or other smaller surface to freeze items on.  Put your fruit pieces, pastries, or whatever food you are freezing on the cookie sheet lined with the parchment or wax paper.  Freeze for about 20 minutes (30 for larger or more dense items).  Then put the individually frozen items in a freezer safe bag.  When you want to have access to them, you simply take the amount you want to use.  Genius!  We flash freeze fruits we buy in summer to use all year, so we can have strawberries in December if we want to 🙂

 

Freezing milk:

  • When Fred Meyer has their 10/$10 sale on ½ gallons of milk (including chocolate!), we stock up.  I have been known to buy $30 worth of milk in a week when I’m uncertain of how the prices will change.  Of course 15 gallons of milk is not going to keep in the fridge, so it gets frozen.
  • When freezing milk, you run the risk of the carton or jug bursting when the milk expands.  To be safe, you can pour out 1 cup of the milk before freezing.  If the plastic milk jug has indents in the side, you can freeze it without doing this, as those indents will pop out and allow expansion.  I have also successfully frozen milk that comes in the paper cartons.
  • Frozen milk will separate when it thaws.  If you are using it for drinking, be sure to shake it up before pouring to blend the fat back in.

 

Thawing food safely:

  • Thawing your food properly is extremely important, especially with meats and dairy items.  You don’t want to thaw these items at room temperature, because bacteria can grow quickly.  It’s best to thaw in the fridge, if you have time.  Milk will take 2-3 days to fully thaw.  If you want to speed thaw, put the frozen items in cold water and change the water often.  Meats can also be thawed in most microwaves if you are cooking it right away.

 

What experiences have you had with freezing your foods?

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