Freezing Tips

Here are a few more freezing tips for all of those holiday leftovers!Problem 1: I don’t like to reheat things in plastic…and the large glass jars split when I freeze in them.I have in the last couple of years nearly phased out plastic storage containers in favor of quart and pint jars.

I love them for leftovers, but I’ve had a number of problems with them cracking in the freezer.  I finally figured out why.

The larger quart jars, even those with wide mouths narrow in at the top, creating glass ‘shoulders’.  When the liquid expands, it pushes against the shoulders and splits the glass.  Drats.

Which leads us to…
Freezing Tip 1:  I’ve stocked up on the wide mouth pint jars above, which are even marked ‘freezer safe’ on the box.

They work perfectly for freezing, and hold approximately 2 cups, so it’s easy to sub them for ‘cans’ in recipes.  See how the sides go straight up without curving in to the lid?  That’s the key.  Just leave a bit of head space for the liquid to expand.

I freeze precooked beans, tomato juice, tomato sauce, and homemade stock in the 2 cup jars.  They thaw easily, and are just perfect for last minute, homemade meals with great quality ingredients.  The smaller half pint and jelly jars also are ‘freezer safe’ and are perfect for freezing jams and baby food portions…and speaking of baby food:

Problem 2: I don’t want to thaw a whole block of food for just a few tablespoons of some ingredient.

Freezer Tip 2:  this is how I freeze smallish portions of diced onions, mushroom soup cubes, baby food, and even fresh herbs with just a bit of water.  Portion into a Rubbermaid ice cube tray and freeze.  Once frozen, transfer into another marked container.

Problem 3: I love to buy meats like bacon and luncheon meats on sale, but
it’s impossible to chip them apart once the package is frozen, and I don’t want to thaw the whole package just to get at a few slices of bacon.

Freezer Tip 3: freezing bacon is simple if you separate the slices and freeze on a cookie sheet, then package the bacon in an airtight bag.  This works wonderfully to luncheon meat, chicken breasts, etc.  I have a few more tips on bacon in another Freezing tip post here.

Problem 4: I’m not opposed to freezing in plastic bags, but the annoying thing is that they stick to one another if you  stack them in the freezer.

Freezing Tip 4:  Slip a piece of wax paper between the bags, and they will slip apart easily after being frozen.  I like to use quart freezer bags to freeze guacamole, pumpkin pie mix, and more.  Pressing the bags thin while freezing will cause them to thaw quickly in cool water…or you may tear the bag off and warm on the stove top or microwave.
Problem 5:  Freezer burn on veggies and berries…

Freezing Tip 5: This year, I found a wonderful deal on a Tilia Food Saver, and it has been most helpful in freezing cut corn and other garden veggies…they last so much longer in airtight bags and don’t get all…


ewwwww.

Berries are the hardest thing to freeze.  But the food save has been a great use for those as well. Squishy, juicy foods cannot be ‘suctioned’, but all you need to do is freeze the berries in a single flat layer on a cookie sheet, and then transferred the solidly frozen berries to Tilia bag, and suction out the air!  If you don’t have a food saver, there are other options for removing the air, which prevents the ice crystals from forming.

I have recently begun experimenting with freezing muffins, bread dough, and prebaked pizza crust.
What are your favorite freezing tips and recipes?

For more great kitchen tips, I enjoy participating in Kitchen Tip Tuesday at www.tammys-recipes.com

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