You did the “hard” work and cooked some amazing foods. Now it’s time to keep that food for later meals and keep it as fresh as possible. Freezer burn is a nasty thing that can happen to foods stored in the freezer when not properly stored. Freezer burn occurs when thousands of tiny water molecules turn into ice crystals within the food. This event causes the food to loose moisture and to have the “parched” look. Not only does the water escape and freeze, but also, oxygen gets into the pores of your food, causing the once-bright color to fade and the flavor to dissipate. Proper storage containers for the freezer will help to reduce the amount of freezer burn your foods endure. It will also save you money because less will need to be thrown out.
What to look for in a proper freezer container:
No matter where your container is going, whether it is on your kitchen counter, in your pantry or in the freezer, there are a few basic rules to follow in choosing the right container.
1. Air tight – Make sure your container has a good locking system and a rubber gasket that goes around the top in order to seal out air and moisture. This will slow the process of spoiling and also keep the contents inside fresh for a longer period of time because it locks air out of the container.
2. Different sizes – The more sizes you have, the less space you waste. By filling a container up as much as possible, there is less room for air inside, which is what aids in the breakdown process. Not to mention, having different sizes, makes it convenient to stack, store and save different products; there is no reason to keep frozen chicken stock in containers made for a full tray of lasagna. Unless of course, you use quarts of chicken stock in one recipe a lot.
3. Easy marking surface – A surface that is easy to mark, erase, and mark again is extremely helpful. Having a good writing surface makes it easy to label what is in each container, especially if the containers are not translucent. This also aids in organizing your pantry and freezer since you can put like items together and even alphabetize them if you would like. If you can’t find a good surface to write on, you can use a streak of chalkboard paint around the container to make marking easier. I also will put a strip of scotch tape down and write on that when necessary. It’s really important to keep dates on your frozen food.
4. Stacking ability – Many containers these days have locking lids, which means your foods will stack more safely as you lock the bottom of one container into the lid of the other. This is a great way to keep foods together and also keep your freezer from becoming a jungle of mangled frozen foods.
A good container makes all of the difference when storing your food in your freezer. If you don’t have a set of decent quality containers, go to the local store and pick some up, just remember, they don’t have to be expensive in order to meet all of the criteria. Keep an eye out for containers at your local goodwill or dollar stores.
Some of my favorite containers are: