Q & A: Freezing Food

Melissa asked:

I was wondering if you do any freezing of soups or sauces, etc.  If so, what do you freeze them in?  You mentioned about the harmful chemicals in plastics and I wanted to know if you had other suggestions.

Yes! I almost always make a double or triple batch of any soup, chili, spaghetti sauce and beans for example. If I have leftovers that I know will not get eaten in time, I will freeze those as well. This helps avoid waste. I frequently make larger batches of baked items and freeze those as well. This makes it easy to pull out a batch of frozen food on a tiring day and re-heat it on the stove or oven.

All soups, sauces, leftovers and beans of any sort freeze very well in quart size glass jars or any glass container. I use quart mason jars as they take up the least amount of space and you can store several side by side on a freezer shelf. They are also very cheap to come by! Make sure to leave about 1-2 inches of breathing room at the top of the jar for expansion, otherwise your jar will break. I have had this experience on several occasions, so play it safe! Make sure the items are completely cooled as well. Store in refrigerator to cool before transferring to freezer. Keep the lid on the jar loose as well until it is completely frozen. That way if it expands beyond capacity it will just lift the lid of rather than breaking.

I still use Ziploc bags for freezing breads, frozen fruits, berries, and such, as I have not found an alternative for those items. Ziplocs are convenient because they do not take up very much room, thus working well in my limited freezer space. Ziplocs are considered in the “safe” category as long as you don’t re-heat items in them in the microwave or such. They are a #5 plastic.

Hope that helps!

Any other tips to share anyone?

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

7 Responses to Q & A: Freezing Food

  1. Jonah November 12, 2011 at 8:32 am #

    I followed these directions to the ‘T’. For the first time yesterday, I froze some turkey stock and it was a bust. I left room at the top of the jar for expansion, left the lid completely loose, and had the stock sit in the fridge for 2 days before. First jar cracked all over. I wouldn’t suggest freezing mason jars from my first experience.

  2. Sara M. October 13, 2008 at 10:50 am #

    I got this idea from a friend … when I make lasagne, we make it in a 9×13 pan, but never eat the whole thing even after 2 meals. So I take single servings and put them in smaller ziplocs (freezer ones work best). Then when just a few of us are eating, we warm them up in the microwave and its like a single serve frozen dinner. I also make double batches of pancakes and waffles and we eat one and the rest get frozen for a midweek breakfast. It’s great for my kids right before they go off to school, because all you have to do is pop them in the toaster like an Eggo. =)

    I do freeze soups if there is leftovers still in the fridge after a couple days. Then it doesn’t go to waste. I just leave them in the tupperware rock’n serve containers. I’m not sure how safe those are in the microwave, but according to them, they are micro-safe.

  3. Michele October 10, 2008 at 11:15 am #

    I LOVE to freeze in Ziplocs. I freeze things flat then stack or file (like record albums)the ziplocs. I only store in them, never re-heat. The freezer is so much neater and organized when I freeze things this way.

    • M.I.A in Minnesota October 12, 2008 at 8:44 pm #

      Our kids are still small and don’t eat a lot,so a 9×13 hot dish is usually too much. I take two 8×8 disposable aluminum pans, bake one and freeze one. I always have these on hand anyway. They’re very handy to use these for meals to help people also. That way they don’t have to wash and return the correct pan. Anyway, when I freeze with these, I lay a a layer of plastic wrap, then aluminum foil on top. I write the instructions right on top of the aluminum foil with a sharpie marker. These are recyclable too. I like the idea of freezing in a pyrex and the transferring it to a ziploc. Sounds a little more cost effective than what I’ve been doing. Thanks!

  4. Melissa October 10, 2008 at 7:56 am #

    I love the idea of freezing in mason jars. My one concern- I had considered freezing baby food in recycled baby food jars (collected from others and sterilized). I found at the time (several years ago), many warnings that even without the entire glass breaking, small shards could break off into the food, if used for freezing. Have you ever experienced this problem? I have alot of canning jars, and plenty of freezer space so I would really like to use this. I wonder if perhaps there is a difference in the quality of the glass? Have you used other glass jars (ie old mayonnaise or PB jars)? I have plenty of these, and would like to avoid wasting them, but my girls only need so many crayon containers and marker holders! Thanks so much!

  5. Sweetpeas October 10, 2008 at 5:55 am #

    I’ve found that, for whatever reason, pint jars are less likely to break in the freezer than quart jars, might just be coincidence.

    The other thing I try to do with things that freeze best in ziplocks, is to lay them out on a cookie sheet to freeze, and then put them in the ziplocks after their frozen, since the risk of leeching is greatest during significant temperature change, that allows the food to reach temperature before putting them in the bags (it also means cookies, muffins, fruit, etc freeze individually instead of sticking together), which at least seems to me, lessens the chance of leaching should they decide at some point in the future that ziplocks DO leech.

    I also sometimes freeze casseroles or other things (that need to be frozen in a container) in pyrex and then transfer them to large ziplocks once frozen so I can have my pyrex back for other things.

  6. Donielle @ Raising Peanuts October 10, 2008 at 3:41 am #

    I love to use my mason jars w/ the plastic lids on them to freeze liquids and sauces. They fit so nicely in the door! I just have to get into the habit of labeling them. :-) Pizza and spaghetti can look a lot a like! I also use ziplocs more often than I probably should, but they’re just so convenient. I use them for pretty much anything non liquid. For any hot food item though (like meat), I normally put them in a bowl in the fridge until they are cold, before transferring to a ziploc and I never re heat them in the bag. I’ve tried to find a way around using them, but haven’t found anything that works as well. I feel better knowing others still use them too!