Yesterday I shared the freezer meal party I hosted with my mom and sisters (50 meals, $300!). One important thing to figure out when cooking for the freezer — whether it's one meal or 50 — is how you're going to package it.
You probably know the basics of freezer packaging (see Jessica Fisher's rundown of the essentials here), but I wanted to share three of my current favorites for getting meals packaged up neat and tight.
Cooking for the freezer usually means a lot of aluminum foil and plastic bags — there's just no avoiding that. The number one rule when freezing food is to shield it from cold air, so you want packaging that both excludes air and can fit tightly.
But you can be smart about using high-quality packaging and cleaning and reusing it to minimize waste.
Small to large, here are three of my current favorites.
- 2-Gallon Freezer Bags: I have to be honest: I didn't even realize these existed until I found them called for in one of Jessica's recipes! These giant bags have become a new favorite tool for me, though, since they're big enough to let me group food together. I can slip several packages of chicken in one, or a bunch of frozen burritos. They give one more layer of protection to the food while also keeping things organized.
- Single-Sheet Aluminum Foil: Restaurant supply stores (and Costco) carry boxes of square foil sheets. These are convenient and cut down on waste. Instead of tearing a too-long piece of foil off a roll, I can just pull out a single square. They also speed up wrapping individual servings of burritos, twice-baked potatoes, and breakfast sandwiches.
- Creo's Smartglass Freezer to Table Bakeware: I do, however, like to freeze food directly in pans as much as space will permit. I'm always looking for bakeware that can safely go from the freezer to the oven. Even if you're not baking something directly from the freezer, you're probably refrigerating first, and not all bakeware can go into a hot oven while it's cold. This new glass line of bakeware and bowls is from the same people who make some of my favorite cleaning products. I spotted it at a trade show last year and have been waiting for it to come out, and now that I've been testing it, I love it. The glass is beautifully nonstick and easy to clean up, and it comes in some lovely colors. (See more of their pieces at Amazon.)
Another line of bakeware that's truly freezer to oven is Emile Henry's ceramics. (They make my favorite pie dish, which I have taken from the deep freeze and put directly into the oven, to perfect results.)
Do you have a favorite tool or type of packaging for freezer cooking? Would love to hear about it!