Thursday, September 11, 2008

Freezer Storage & Cooking

My friend, Kate, has inspired me with all the freezer cooking she has done this past week! If you want any of her recipes you can find them here! She even has a trick for freezing homemade tortillas that I am going to try the next time I do some up!

Anyway, she has inspired me to get back into the groove of freezer cooking but first some rearranging of the items in my freezers is in order to see if there might be any room to stick in some more homemade goodness. Right now this is what my freezers look like. Yes, it is full of all the good deals that I have snagged in the last few weeks or those freezer items from my monthly Sam's run with a few homemade goodies added to the mix.

As you can see the freezer over my fridge is pretty stuffed! It doesn't help that we have an ice maker and ice container that takes up 1/4 of the shelf! Despite the size of it, I don't want to get rid of it because it is a nice "convenience" for having ice on hand at all times. This is where I keep most of my use every day or open packages. Just yesterday I found two open bags of cinnamon raisin bagels in there that I combined into one for a little more room.

Some of the things that I have found to help me in my freezer storage...

I have found that using the same size plastic containers or using freezer bags is the best route to go when working at getting a freezer full of homemade goodness. You want things easy to stack and relatively easy to find!

It also helps if you need to rearrange things before putting more items into the freezer that you take the time to do an inventory of everything you have in the freezer. This helps with knowing what you have available for meals, hence less shopping and less waste.

I usually have no problems with freezer burn when I put my homemade goodness in freezer bags and stick them in the freezer. As long as I make sure that the foods are totally cold so that the moisture from the foods doesn't create ice in the bag when they are put in the freezer.

Also, if my freezer hasn't been defrosted in a while and there is ice accumulating on the shelves, my baked goods don't like that and will taste freezer burned. So having a freezer without alot of ice build up is a good thing, not only will it be more energy efficient but less of your foods will taste or have freezer burn. Having dollar store baskets available to stick your baked goods in and place in the freezer would be another alternative to keep those baked goods off the ice. As you can see from my pics, I have done away with the baskets!

The other thing I would recommend is to date your freezer bags or containers so that you know how long the food has been in the freezer. Around here homemade goodness usually does not last 3 weeks in the freezer, however, it can keep up to 4 months in the freezer and still have a "fresh taste". Freezer storage is great when you know how long items will last and still "taste" fresh!


SoCalVal said...

Happy Thursday!!! I'm catching up on all my friends posts today. Hope you have a wonderful day.


Mrs. Bargain Hunting Wife said...

How do you freeze casserole type dishes? I noticed that Kate uses the disposable tinfoil pans. Can those be reused? What is a good cover/lid? Can you freeze things in glass 9x13 that come with a lid?

Recently my chest freezer "broke" but hubby discovered it was an outlet problem and now its back in running order. So I'd like to fill it with some freezer meals and need some storage advice!

Kate said...

Oh am I jealous of your big freezer. That would be awesome. It looks like you have all kinds of good stuff in there from stocking up on sales, right?

The bottom shelf in my freezer is just like yours - full of bread. Now that I'm out of room I have been debating which path makes the most sense; should I just stop the freezer cooking for now or should I try to find something else to do with the bread?

I love all of your tips too. I completely agree with you about the plastic bags. I try to put as much as possible in those. I have never had a problem with freezer burn either.

I do reuse my foil casserole dishes, unless I'm careless when dishing out whatever comes in them and cut through the foil.