In the first part of the food preservation series, we discussed dehydrating your food to keep it fresh longer.
In the second part of the food preservation series, we discussed canning your food for the winter.
Today we are going to talk about freezing your food and why this is an important part of food preservation.
Why freeze your food?
Freezing your harvest is the easiest way to keep food fresh for later. Whether you have a large deep freezer or one with your refrigerator, it can save time and money by freezing your food for later.
What tools do you need?
Food Saver-A Food Saver is an appliance that helps you seal food for the freezer so that it will last longer. By sealing your food better, it can last much longer in the freezer without getting freezer burn.
Freezer Bags-If you don’t have a Food Saver, atleast use a large plastic bag that is made for the freezer. Try to get out as much air as possible from the bag and seal it completely.
What can you freeze?
Fruits-Just about all fruits can be frozen easily. Chop the fruit (if necessary) and spread it out on a cookie sheet. Put it in the freezer for several hours to flash freeze. Then put it in a freezer bag and suck out the air.
Vegetables-Most vegetables are quick to freeze. Decide what you are going to use the vegetable for when you thaw it. That is the way you want to freeze it. So if you need shredded zucchini for bread later, freeze it in shreds. If you need diced carrots for a recipe later, then freeze them diced. Then follow the instructions (blanching if you choose) for fruit above.
Meat-If you are getting meat from a processor (in bulk) you can keep it the way they package it. But it will last longer if you use the Food Saver to suck out the air and keep it from getting frost burn.
Dairy-Milk, cheese and other dairy products can be frozen for future use. Milk will expand in it’s container, so leave room in the jug for it to do so.
Eggs-The best way to freeze eggs is to crack them in an ice cube tray. Once they are frozen, pop them out of the tray and into a ziplock bag.
Bread-Freezing bread helps you preserve a good deal at the grocery store or a long day of bread making.
Nuts-This is the best way to store nuts long term. They will stay fresher than keeping them on the pantry shelf.
Herbs-To freeze herbs, put them in ice cube trays with olive oil. Once they are frozen, pop them out of the tray and into a ziplock bag.
Seeds-You can keep your unused seeds in the freezer to preserve them until the next planting.
Flour-Freezing flour can keep the bugs out of it until you are ready to use it.
Tips For Freezing Your Food:
- Don’t forget to label your food before you freeze with the name and date.
- Don’t freeze in glass jars. They may break and ruin your food.
- Keep your freezer organized and clean it out as necessary.
- Use the oldest food first to keep it from getting freezer burn.
- Freeze food in the way that you will use it later. That way it is ready to thaw and go.
What about blanching?
Blanching is the process of boiling and then quickly cooling food to help it stay fresh in the freezer.
Vegetables are usually the things you need to blanch, but to tell you the truth, I don’t usually blanch them.
For me, I wash vegetables and then throw them in a freezer bag as they come in from the garden.
If I buy veggies or fruit in bulk, I spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze them. Then I put them in a freezer bag for storage.
Freezer meals are a great way to use your veggies and keep them preserved until you are ready.
I wrote a post about freezer meals, so I won’t repeat it again. Let’s just say that they are life savers on busy days.
Buying Meat in Bulk:
One big way to save money on meat is to get it in bulk. Whether that means buying a side of beef from a local farmer, raising your own or hunting game.
The Food Saver is a great way to package this beef so that it will last longer without freezer burn.
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Freezing is a great, quick way to preserve all kinds of food. Whether it is food from your garden or a good deal at the grocery store, freezing your food can help you keep healthy food in your house all year long.
What tips do you have for freezing food? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks.