Freezer Meal Storage

I had planned on doing a freezer meal post last week and just did not get to it. So, I thought I would do one today. I also plan on posting some of my favorite freezer meal recipes. I think I may just post them as I make them. That will help get me motivated to put some things in the freezer and I can also have pictures to post with the recipes.

I was asked a couple of weeks ago how I store my meals. I know it is difficult if you are very limited on freezer space. I have a large chest freezer but it is full of meat. We buy 1/2 of beef each year. We raise hogs, so I have lots of pork, and my husband deer hunts. I also live in a climate that seems prone to bugs. I have had problems several times with them in my kitchen. I do not like bugs at all, let alone in my kitchen. Therefore, I keep most of my extra flour, oatmeal, rice, and such in the freezer. So, my freezer is pretty full most of the time.

I freeze a lot of my things in Ziploc bags. They work great for things like sloppy joe sauce, spaghetti sauce, chili, stew, soups, and more. I lay them on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Once they are solid I remove them from the cookie sheet. I do this so they freeze flat. Otherwise you end up with very odd shaped bags. At least I do, because I do not have a flat surface in my freezer to lay them on. I also label the bags well. I write the date and what it is. This is important. Things can get buried in the back or bottom of a freezer so you will want to know the date you put it in there.

Ziploc bags take up very little space that is why I like them so well. I tend to buy only the real Ziploc bags for freezing. I use the cheaper ones for everyday but I have had a lot of trouble with bags splitting and breaking with the cheaper versions, when using them for freezer meals.

Several years ago when I did a lot of freezer cooking I invested in some Pyrex containers with lids. These are great because they stack nice. I found them at Walmart for a reasonable price. The come in quite a few sizes. I label them using masking tape. These work great for pasta dishes, enchiladas, and my baked french toast that I freeze.

I also always make sure my food is cold when I place it in the freezer. I place it in the refrigerator for several hours before freezing. If you place cold food, in a cold freezer, you get less freezer burn on the items in the freezer.

If anyone has any questions about how I do my freezer meals please ask. I will do my best to answer them.

Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Comments

  1. The Lata's Save Big!! says:

    Thanks for this information, I tried and failed terribly at freezer cooking a year ago and want to try doing it again. Your tip about freezer burn would have been great back then, but will definitely help things to turn out better this time. THAnks

  2. This is my first visit to your site, so the answers to my questions may be somewhere on here but I haven’t seen them yet. I tried freezer meals but I didn’t cook them first. I would get everything ready as if I were putting it in the oven but then I would freeze it and put the cooking directions on a post it note. I didn’t do it again because it seemed not to cook well once defrosted. The moisture levels were wrong, mostly too much moisture in the food and I never knew how to modify the recipe to accommodate the problem so I just quit trying to do it. I guess cooking it first would be better. Are there any tips about types of foods that work better for this? How about crock pot foods? would they work good for freezer meals? Any tips would be appreciated :o)

  3. Wow, I had no idea food is more prone to freezer burn if put right into the freezer. Thanks for the heads up!

    One thing my MIL told me to do for casseroles was put surran wrap over the top an push all the air bubbles out. Apparently this makes it stay fresh much longer. Works for me :)

  4. do you take your food straight from the freezer and use it, or do you need to thaw it over night first in the frig? I have just started freezer cooking so I am trying to learn the basics. Thanks :)

  5. Hi I’m new to freezer cooking (still in the ‘where do I start’ phase). I’m glad I found a site that specifically went into detail about storage. Though I think it’s worth mentioning vacuum sealers. I happen to already have one and I was curious about which is the more cost effective option(vacuum sealer vs. ziploc). I did some math based on amazon.com prices for both items, and vacuum sealer rolls are 39 cents per 8″x12″ section, whereas gallon size ziploc freezer bags are about 13 cents each. I’m actually a little disappointed by that, though I wonder if the quality of freezing you get from the vacuum sealer is worth the extra cost, maybe for certain freezer-burn prone foods?

    • I am glad you found it helpful. I do think the vac sealer is better for some things. I use it a lot of meat, but I find that liquidy things don’t work so well with the one I have, but it is an older one, so that may be the issue. I also think how long it stays in the freezer makes a difference for a few weeks or short term I think ziploc bags are fine. I hope that helps.

  6. I just came across your site, I’m so glad I did! I do a lot of freezer cooking and storing as well. I make huge batches of soups and chili that is low cal and things my family won’t eat and different meals for them. It makes it so much easier to stay on my eating plan when I can eat my food and they can eat theirs and I didn’t have to cook two full meals. I like your idea of freezer bags on the cookie sheet to keep them flat. I will have to try that. Right now, I save every salsa container or crumbled cheese container as I have used every rubbermaid or any other type of container I already had. It works well, but ziplocs would be even better. I hope to learn and share more ideas! Thanks! I am just getting my food blog going after getting my life back after closing my cupcake bakery ( I chose family over the bakery), so I will be cooking and storing a lot more! http://www.Facebook.com/copperlanterncooking and http://www.copperlanterncooking.com Hope to see you around!

    • I am glad you found my site and enjoyed the tips. I love ziploc type bags for freezing things they work great and store so flat and easy. And I can’t even imagine how much work a bakery would be!

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