This Small Meal Prep Mistake Cost This Reddit User 60 Portions of Food

updated Sep 24, 2019
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Credit: Courtesy of BasenjiFart on Reddit

Meal prep is an excellent way to ensure you have plenty of food for the week (or even months) ahead and to keep on a budget. But as a Reddit user recently found out, this doesn’t always go as smoothly as planned.

On the always helpful SubReddit, Meal Prep Sunday, user BasenjiFart recently posted their mistake as a warning to anyone else. The photo shows a trio of large Mason jars, filled with food, the outsides still dusted with frost, each with large cracks all over them. The caption shares the sad story. “Every August I freeze about 400 portions of food for my family. This year I wanted to go no-waste, so I used Mason jars.” But, as so many have learned before, there are specific steps to follow when freezing glass, and now they have lost at least 60 of those 400 portions.

The original poster explains in the comments of the thread that they had cooled all the food in the fridge before filling the jars, and left some space at the top, and didn’t put the lids on — all the correct moves. But there’s a nuance involved in leaving that space: the food needs to be not to the tip-top of the jars, but remain under the “shoulders” before the jar narrows. That allows the expansion to happen without cracking the jars. 

Other commenters offered a few more tips for those hoping to avoid the same tragedy, including looking for the wide-mouth jars — as they don’t have the shoulders that cause the expansion issues — and putting each jar in a sock to cushion it during its rest in the freezer.

Most people who meal prep have probably learned this lesson the hard way themselves and felt pangs of empathy, so consider this a helpful warning to those who haven’t yet. If you’re looking for the information on how to avoid this or want to learn how to package food in other containers for the freezer, check out these helpful tips.