This post is written by contributing writer, Joanie from Simple Living Mama.
I remember the first time I tried freezer cooking. I felt completely lost when it came to storing my food in the freezer and avoiding freezer burn. There have been so many times that I have pulled some frozen food out of my freezer only to find that it is freezer burnt! Do not cook freezer burnt meat. Yuck!
Since then, I’ve pretty much learned what the best freezer containers are. After you prepare your freezer meals, you have disposable and non-disposable options for storing your food.
Let’s talk disposable options first.
Aluminum pans work best for casserole-type foods. You assemble your casserole in the pan and cover it tightly with aluminum foil BEFORE the baking stage. When you are ready to eat your meal, let it thaw out and bake as directed right in the aluminum pan!
Some of my favorite recipes to freeze in aluminum pans include:
Gallon-Sized Ziploc Bags
Gallon-sized Ziploc bags work well if you are wanting to freeze foods like muffins, rolls, breads, and large batches of soup. I prefer to bake all of my breads and then let them cool completely. Once they are cool, pop them in the Ziploc and seal tightly. Breads and muffins defrost quickly on the counter.
When you are wanting to freeze a large batch of soup or pasta sauce, use a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. The best way to ladle the soup into the bag is to place the bag in a bowl or cup and fold the top of the bag over the lip of the bowl so that it stays open while you ladle in the soup.
Seal the bag and lay it flat in your freezer. When you are ready to re-heat your soup use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut the bag off of the block of soup. Place the block of soup in a pot on the stove and stir as it melts.
My favorite freezer meal is the breakfast burrito. I freeze these a little bit differently. Once I assemble the burrito, I let it cool and wrap it in a paper towel. Then I wrap it tightly in aluminum foil. Once several have been wrapped I will place them in a gallon-sized Ziploc and only take out as many as I need. To reheat, I just remove the aluminum foil and heat in the microwave for a minute or two.
Quart-Sized Ziploc Bags
Quart-sized Ziploc bags are good to use for smaller portions of soups or sauces. If you want to prepare soups to eat for lunch for just a person or two, the quart-sized Ziploc is the way to go.
Now let’s talk non-disposable options.
Some people prefer to use containers that can be reused either for health purposes or environmental purposes. While you can use plastic containers to freeze food, glass is usually a healthier alternative. However, when freezing food in glass you must take some special precautions.
You may freeze soups, stews, and casseroles in Pyrex dishes just as you would in an aluminum pan. While Pyrex is made to withstand extreme temperatures, it is best to let a hot dish cool completely before freezing and to let a frozen dish thaw before baking. In other words, DO NOT go directly from freezer to oven or oven to freezer.
The Mason jar is making a definite come-back. Did you know you can freeze food in a glass jar? If you plan to freeze a liquid in a glass jar, make sure you leave plenty of head space for expansion. Glass jars can break in the freezer! Some foods to freeze in glass jars include:
- Cooked dry beans
- Sliced fruits such as strawberries or peaches
- Whole blueberries or pitted cherries
- Chicken stock
- Pumpkin puree