Freezer Cooking 101

Freezer Cooking 101

 

your ultimate guide to easy and delicious freezer meals

 

Freezer Cooking!! Something EVERYONE should know how to do.

 

First of all if you’re looking for my freezer recipes then click here!

 

Why freeze your meals?

 

I first started freezer cooking as a way to save time in the evenings. It was just a bit of an experiment to see if I truely could eat homemade food for a month without actually having to cook anything.

I’m telling you its worth it.

Throughout this little experiment of mine I realised that I could not only save time in the evenings, I could also save money!

And lets be serious that was a huge motivation for me to start looking into this whole freezer cooking thing a bit more.

Supplies you’ll need

 

Theres a few things you’ll need before you start freezer cooking.

Theres also two different paths you can take on this topic. Some people love the disposable zip lock bags and aluminium trays, and others like to use re-usable glass/plastic.

When i first started freezer cooking I didn’t want to outlay a huge amount of money so i went down the disposable containers pathway. Honestly, i wouldn’t recommend this. Not only is it horrible for the environment, throwing out all that plastic, but it can also get expensive in the long run constantly having to buy new disposable bags and containers.

If you do decide to go down the disposable path way, you’ll basically want to grab yourself the following items:

  • plastic wrap
  • disposable plastic containers of various sizes
  • zip lock bags – make sure they are freezer safe
  • aluminium trays of varying sizes

 

If you want to be a bit more environmentally friendly i would recommend taking a trip down to your local target. Pick yourself up some re-usuable plastic containers that are freezer friendly.

I personally like to use glass containers over plastic, this is mainly because if you buy the right brand they can be freezer safe, oven safe, microwave safe and dishwasher safe. Honestly what more could you want!

 

The brand I personally use for this you can find below, check them out if you like:

 

However, any oven + freezer safe glass dish with a lid will do perfectly.

 

Freezer burn

 

How to stop the dreaded freezer burn! 

Freezer burn happens when food becomes damaged by dehydration and oxidation due to air reaching the food.

Basically, freezer burn sucks and you don’t want it.

If you do get freezer burn on your food, don’t worry you CAN still eat it. It is still perfectly safe to eat, it may just have a strange or unappealing texture or colour to it.

So now for what you’ve all been waiting for… how do you avoid freezer burn? Theres a few ways to do this:

  • make sure your food is wrapped and packaged properly to minimise the amount of air the can come into contact with your meal – i’ll explain how to do this further down
  • make sure your freezer stays at or below -18C. You want your food to stay 100% FROZEN for the entire time
  • make sure that you use your frozen food within the time period specified for below

 

Things you CAN’T freeze

 

Theres a couple of things to keep in mind when freezer cooking. Its not that things are ‘unsafe’ to freeze, its more they just don’t come out of the freezer the same way they went in!

Heres a quick list of things you shouldn’t freeze:

  • Salad – lettuce, cucumber etc.
  • Vegetables – onion, capsicum etc. if you want to eat them uncooked
  • Dairy – whole eggs, mayonnaise, sour cream

 

Basically just use your common sense, do you really think lettuce will freeze well? No, so don’t freeze it!

Some trial and error works well also, I realised that sour cream separates like crazy when you try to freeze it and turns into a runny mess… oops.

 

Food Safety

 

Now theres a few things to keep in mind here. First of all use your common sense. If something doesn’t look right/smells funky then throw it out.

If in doubt THROW OUT!

The Australian food safety information council basically says that the length of time something will last in the freezer depends on the freezer temperature. It goes on to say that from a safety perspective you can store vegetables, meats and a combination of these for years without any problem of food poisoning.

However, the longer you leave your food in the freezer, the more the quality, nutrients and taste will decrease.

They recommend food can be stored in a freezer at -18C for 3 months or more (depending on the fat content) with no problems at all.

It is important to keep in mind, the higher the fat content of your food the shorter the life span.

 

Just to sum all of this up, it is pretty easy to tell if somethings gone off. The human body is very good at detecting this. If it doesn’t look right or smells bad then simply don’t eat it. It’s not worth it!

 

If you want to have a read yourself you can find the article on freezer food safety  here.

 

How to Freezer Cook

 

Well theres a couple of ways to do this. You can have one big cooking day and make meals for the whole month or you can simply double your recipes when you’re cooking and eat one batch and freeze the other.

I usually do the big cooking day and then my freezer is stocked for the next month or so.

To do this, first of all check out some of my freezer recipes here. You then need to have a think about what you and your family like to eat. For example, is it summer or winter? What veggies or salad are in season at the moment? Should you plan your meals around hot stews and winter style food or cold salads for a hot summer night?

These are all things that need to be considered when meal planning for the freezer.

For example, if i were to do a freezer cooking day for the month of July (a cold winter month for all us Australians) i’d focus on soaps, stews and a lot of nice slow cooker meals. Something like this:

  • pumpkin soup
  • lasagne
  • slow cooker butter chicken
  • slow cooker chicken curry
  • slow cooker beef and veggie stew
  • slow cooker spaghetti and meatballs

Then for my weekly shop i’d stock up on a whole bunch of in season, organic (if at all possible), vegetables to go with the meals.

 

Keeping track of your freezer meals

 

Something to consider when freezer cookings is to draw up a quick inventory.

We’ve all been in the situation where we’ve dug right to the back of the freezer and found some unknown meat thats been there for god knows how long. You don’t want this to happen to your meals after you’ve put all that money and time into making them.

All you need to do is draw up and quick inventory page that has the meal name, the date you froze them, and how many meals are left in the freezer.

If you don’t feel like making one yourself then download my FREE inventory list here!

Defrosting your food

 

How you defrost your food is pretty important.

You basically want to take your meal out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost slowly in the fridge overnight.

This is the best way of defrosting your food.

You can also submerge your food into a sink filled with cold/room temperature water. This will defrost it a little faster.

 

It is not recommended that you simply leave your food out on the bench to defrost.

How to get started

 

Check out my list of freezer friendly recipes here and begin thinking about what you’d like to cook.

 

Download my inventory checklist here to keep track of all your meals.

 

Make a PLAN, check out my freezer meals planning page here.

 

Decide on how you’re going to store your freezer meals, check out some of these options below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let me know below if this page was helpful!!