Good Question: Good Freezer Containers?

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Dear Kitchen,

What containers do you recommend for freezing food?  For breads, I reuse heavy-duty freezer Ziploc bags and that works well, but I find that too wasteful for freezing everything. I’ve been using Tupperware-type containers (including the Martha Stewart from Kmart line) for soups, sauces, entrees, etc., but I am not satisfied with their seal (or lack thereof).

– Sarah

Here’s a few tips, and then we’ll open it up to the rest of you! We have found that the key to freezing foods and avoiding the dreaded freezer burn is multiple layers.

Every layer you put between your food and the cold, dry freezer air will help protect it. Just putting soups in a container, no matter how good the seal is, still puts only one layer between your food and the cold. Also, it will leave air at the top between the food and the seal, which lets ice crystals form on top of the food and degrade the freshness faster.

With that in mind, here’s a few suggestions for freezing specific kinds of food. Before you blanch at the amount of disposable materials involved, remember that the idea of layers lets you wrap the food in one layer of (hopefully biodegradeable) material and then place those parcels in a larger, heavier freezer bag which can then easily be reused. The other benefit to wrapping food in bags or foil is efficient use of freezer space; I like to stack flat bags of soup, chicken stock, or curry in the bottom of my freezer.

Small portions of breads and entrees: Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper, seal with tape, and put in a freezer bag – which can afterwards be reused.

Cooked and uncooked meat: Wrap in aluminum foil, then place in one or two layers of heavy freezer bags.

Soups and stews: Line a freezer container with aluminum foil before pouring the soup in, then line the top with foil or plastic wrap before sealing the lid. Or put individual portions in small, cheaper quart or lunch-sized bags, then stack multiple bags inside a heavier bag.

Everything: Remember to label; keep a roll of masking tape and a Sharpie in the kitchen and label everything with the date and contents.

Good products: These Nesting Polycarbonate Rectangles from the Container Store look attractive, and come in five different sizes. But if you line your containers before filling them, then cheap Ziploc semi-disposable containers also do very well for midterm storage. Also, wax paper is a great insulator; Whole Foods sells a natural, environmentally-friendly variety.

Any more good freezing suggestions?

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