March is National Frozen Food Month,
which might conjure images of frozen tv dinners or perhaps specialty, calorie controlled meals. I’d like to present a different picture.
Growing up, our family freezer was usually filled with meats, vegetables and fruit, all carefully packaged in sizes for one meal for our family. TV dinners were a rarity for us; we lived on a farm and grew much of what we ate, along with frequenting the u-pick farms for produce our farm did not have.
Freezer Burn is actually just air coming in contact with the food, either from a rip in the container or perhaps just too thin a material. Either way, the food is technically safe to eat, but may not taste as good and will have fewer nutrients retained. If it’s just a small area, remove the freezer burned area and use the remainder. If it is most of the package, consider sending it to your compost pile.
After we were married, we continued the tradition. Our growing family required more freezer space, so we replaced our smaller sized one with an extra large. When we turned to a vegetarian lifestyle, our freezer contents took on a new look, but still required space. Now, the gluten loaf might take up the space where a beef roast might have been and we usually store extra flax seed in the freezer to keep it fresh.
TV dinners were touted as being the ultimate convenience; just take it from the freezer and pop it in the oven or microwave for a quick and considered healthy dinner.
We are not a TV dinner family, but we have our own modified version that saves some time, a bit of money, and is much healthier. When we make a meal, we will often make a double portion, cool half, and freeze it for another day. Prep time is cut down considerably, as it doesn’t take much extra time to prep a double portion and clean up is about the same.
Almost any meal can be frozen if handled in the proper way and will keep for many months. To ensure absolute freshness, this frozen food chart will provide time limit guidelines.
What type of containers are best for frozen foods? Many people choose freezer bags with a zipper opening, while some prefer plastic freezer containers, available in many sizes and shapes. My personal preference is for glass or stainless steel. Plastic is lighter and will not break like glass does, although it can split apart, but glass and stainless steel do not affect the food taste or quality as some plastics can. With proper care, glass and stainless steel are actually less expensive over time as plastic needs replacing.
Planning a frozen food assortment can be a challenge at first, but over time it will save you in time and money, plus give you the convenience that others find with TV dinners, in a healthier, more flavorful meal!
For some great recipes, check out our recipe pages.
Christmas Country Mom
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I have found your webpage very valuable. Thanks for so much information. I have never used glass for freezing because I thought it would break. Can I use mason jars or does it have to be a special type of glass? Where do I buy stainless steal containers with covers? I always struggle with freezer burns.
Thank you, Wilma. We use the glass mason jars for freezing without any problems, as long as we are careful to leave a couple of inches of air space above the food to allow for expansion. Some of the jelly jars are marked as “freezer safe.” I am looking for a source for stainless and will let you know when I find one that is trusted.