Monday, May 10, 2010

Food Storage Series Part 5: Freezer Fancy

Don't mind the small child trying to climb in the freezer.
I love the freezer! I have discovered its wonders while learning how to buy in bulk.

Here are some of the things I keep in the freezer.

  • nuts
  • baking chips
  • frozen fruit
  • yeast
  • homemade jam
  • juice
  • pastry mat

  • desserts
  • vegetables
  • meat (organized by chicken, beef, and pork)
  • bread (in foil)
  • deli meats
  • butter
  • tortillas
Most things can be frozen in their original packages. However, a few items need some attention to avoid freezer burn.

Bread can be frozen for a few days just fine. But when buying large quantities of bread (thus freezing each loaf for a longer period of time), I've learned to wrap each loaf of bread in a layer of foil. Since the foil never touches any food, you can reuse your foil, loaf after loaf.

Meat needs the most attention before freezing. If you're going to use meat within 1 or 2 days of buying it, you can keep it in the fridge. Otherwise, freeze it. Meat can be frozen for at least a month in the foam tray/cling wrap packaging from the butcher department; so if you're going to be using an entire package at once (like a roast), go ahead and throw it in the freezer. You can put it in the fridge the night before to start thawing.

If you buy a large quantity of meat on sale, separate it into smaller portions before freezing. I like to do the smallest portions we ever use in recipes: 1/2 lb of ground beef, individual chicken breasts, individual steaks, and about 3 pork chops at a time. Wrap each portion in a double layer of foil. Then use a permanent marker to mark the date, the meat, and the weight. These packets can be kept in the freezer for a few months as they are, but if you bought a lot of one kind, you can always group the packets in a large, freezer-quality resealable bag.

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