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Old 06-21-2005, 12:32 PM   #1
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Preparing food for the freezer

I was just reading an article in the June newsletter about the Tilla Foodsaver Professional II. It sounds wonderful, but since I'm on a budget and don't have extra space, I have developed a method that's easy and foolproof.
Since we all know air is what ruins food in the freezer, I take my meats, etc. and wrap them individually in plastic wrap (airtight) and put them into a ziplock bag. I push out as much air as I can, then I close the bag but leave a small opening for a straw. Insert the straw and suck the rest out, then quickly close the bag. The meat will keep indefinitely, and when I just want a few pieces, it's easy to remove only what I want and close the bag again (I often buy in bulk and store it this way).
For liquid foods, like soups and sauces, I put liquid into a re-usable plastic container with a lid. When it's cool, I place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the liquid and press around the edges so that no air is touching the liquid. I put the top on over the edges of the overhannging plastic wrap. and label it. It will stay fresh for months this way.
This is much easier than it sounds, and these are products (plastic wrap & bags) that I have on hand all the time, and use for many other things.
I often cook large amounts and freeze individual servings, and believe me, this method has saved me a fortune in food that otherwise would get freezer burned and ruined.
Thanks for all your great thoughts.

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Old 06-21-2005, 02:38 PM   #2
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This is the best idea!

Thanks! That's one of the top 10 best ideas I've ever seen. We, too, would love to have a food saver, but counterspace, $$$$, and supplies, well...

As for plastic wrap, we've found the store brand (you know what that means) from that big-box store (many of you will know the name) of wrap is the best ever. It sticks and wraps itself around just about anything. The box requires a rocket scientist to figure out, and is a bear to use, but the wrap makes it worthwhile. It's pretty cheap, too.
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:44 PM   #3
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When I have things such as chili or soup to freeze, I use a large sized freezer ziploc and lay it flat in the freezer. (I usually do 3-4 at a time). After they're frozen, I stack them like books on a bookshelf. It's a great way to utilize the head space that sometimes isn't used.
(but, I'd love the foodsaver!!!)

Also for casseroles: line your pan with foil and then plastic wrap, using a double amount in length. Put your casserole on top of the plastic wrap and then close it up, followed by the foil. Freeze. When it's frozen, pop out your "package" and put the pan back in the cupboard. When you want to cook the casserole, take off the wrappings, and it will fit perfectly into your pan.
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkath
When I have things such as chili or soup to freeze, I use a large sized freezer ziploc and lay it flat in the freezer. (I usually do 3-4 at a time). After they're frozen, I stack them like books on a bookshelf. It's a great way to utilize the head space that sometimes isn't used.
I do the same thing Jkath. You can fit so much more in the freezer this way and it is easy to see what you have in there. I freeze mine in Zip Lock bags and then I put them in a Foodsaver bag and vacuum pack it and stack them in the freezer.

Plastic wrap is great stuff, but don't be fooled. It might look air tight, but it is actually quite porous. It will let a lot of gases in and out including oxygen. It is good for short term storage, but not great at long term.
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Old 06-21-2005, 02:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TexasBlueHeron
Thanks! That's one of the top 10 best ideas I've ever seen. We, too, would love to have a food saver, but counterspace, $$$$, and supplies, well...

As for plastic wrap, we've found the store brand (you know what that means) from that big-box store (many of you will know the name) of wrap is the best ever. It sticks and wraps itself around just about anything. The box requires a rocket scientist to figure out, and is a bear to use, but the wrap makes it worthwhile. It's pretty cheap, too.
The plastic wrap that works best for me is found in the same type store (Sam's - are we allowed to name stores and brands?) and it's called Zip Safe. It comes in 500 ft. rolls (although it's not much bigger than typical brands), and has a slide cutter, so it's extremely easy to use. I love it. It comes 2 bozes to a package. Look for it - you'll love it!
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Old 06-21-2005, 03:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GB
I do the same thing Jkath. You can fit so much more in the freezer this way and it is easy to see what you have in there. I freeze mine in Zip Lock bags and then I put them in a Foodsaver bag and vacuum pack it and stack them in the freezer.

Plastic wrap is great stuff, but don't be fooled. It might look air tight, but it is actually quite porous. It will let a lot of gases in and out including oxygen. It is good for short term storage, but not great at long term.
I agree, if you're only going to wrap in plastic wrap. But then you enclose the wrapped article in a freezer bag, and remove the air. Believe me, it works, for long term storage, too. And the freezer bag is reusablle. Not so with the other type.

With liquids, I have done the same thing, with the zip lock bags and stack them, but I really prefer the re-usable stacking plastic containers, as I can re-use them, where with the bags, it's only good for one use. Also, It's hard store or remove just a little amount. With the containers, I can freeze amounts as small as 1/2 cup easily without dragging a big machine out.
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Old 06-22-2005, 06:39 AM   #7
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I have used the old drinking straw trick for years but would NEVER recommend using it with raw meat (esp poultry). You guys in the US have all these snazzy (read expensive) machines (that look a lot like laminators!!) to remove a little bit of air!! Here you can buy (from kitchen specialty stores) a small bellows-like gadget that does the work of your lungs & the straw (looks like a camera lens puffer brush - same size - about 130 cm long) by sucking the air out of the bag. Another great way of freezing liquids is to place a freezer bag inside a preformer (say a tupperware container of your choice) fill with stock, soup or whatever, remove air from bag, seal & then freeze until solid. Then you can remove the bag from the container & stack in the freezer in its bag.

Cheers, SK
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Old 06-22-2005, 09:56 AM   #8
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I use Stretch-Tite that I buy at Costco for half the price at the supermarket. It's made of the same plastic as Saran Wrap (although thinner).

I also double package into a Ziplok bag and expel most of the air just by squeezing it out and sealing the bag. I don't bother with a straw.

I don't worry about freezer burn with liquids such as frozen broth. After all, freezer burn is just dehydration.
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Old 06-23-2005, 01:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by surfrkim
I have used the old drinking straw trick for years but would NEVER recommend using it with raw meat (esp poultry)....

Cheers, SK
Absolutely, you make a great point. That's why I recommend using the plastic wrap FIRST, then the freezer bag. Meat never touches the outer bag, or the straw. Plus, with this method, you have double wrapped the item, and vacuum-sealed it, too. I've been doing this for years since having once owned a machine, which I found expensive to use, and not nearly as versatile as this method, and which soon broke down. This do-it-yourself method has served me perfectly over the years.
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Old 06-23-2005, 01:34 PM   #10
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I have had great luck freezing liquids by using individual ziplock sandwich bags which I stuff into a large coffee mug (edges over lip of mug) this supports the ziplock bag, then I use a 1 cup ladle to fill,and put them down on level suface as I seal them. the air goes out. date them and freeze them individualy on a cookie sheet, when frozen I store them in a 1 gallon freezer ziplock bag with the air "sucked out". This method has solved the mess problem in filling the 1 cup portions...
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