16 answers

Freezing Food Items

I want to freeze a bunch of veggies and fruits, as well as some pre-made meals. Every time I freeze something and go get it 3 months later, it is unusable. I usually put it in a contained then wrap that contained with foil and saran wrap. What am I doing wrong?

The following items I want to freeze:

pork chops (I buy four, use 2, then end up throwing the other 2 away. I would like to freeze two for later use)
green peppers
tomatoes
lasagna (I make it and we end up throwing half of it out)
meatloaf
chili

Any other ides for freezing I will take! I just lost my job and I am pregnant. We have two little ones at home now, so I am going to be busy preparing from scratch meals and freezing them, especially to use when the new baby comes. I will take any suggestions/recipes/ideas you can provide!

Thanks moms!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

When i freeze fruits and veggies i cut them up, lay them on a cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer. They freeze evenly this way and not all in one clump. Then i put them in zip lock bags.

I freeze meals (cooked, marinated but now cooked, and raw) and have never had an issue. What I do is freeze them in glass pyrex containers or in the aluminum "to go" type of containers that have a plastic lid. This keeps everything super fresh and you can store things a long time this way. Also, you might want to look into the vacuum pack system. That also works very well. There is a small investment up front for either option but you won't waste food! Good luck!

More Answers

Oh im so anxious to see what tips you get. We are going to try freezing some meals this week - can't wait. I just got online yesterday and bought a downloadable software for freezing meals - it was called something like 30 meals in one day.

I haven't had time to go through it all but I Think there are like 700 meals that can be made and frozen! Might check that out...?

Anyway - I will be checking to see what answers you get because we HAVE to stop eating out so much - its killing the waist line and wallet! lol

1 mom found this helpful

We freeze things all the time. I have a deep freeze and I buy 1/2 a cow and 1/2 hog each year. I buy chicken from the grocery when it's on sale and freeze it. If done properly, things can last for at least 3 months. Air is your enemy! If there's air, it will get freezer burnt. Also, wrapping is a waste of time. You need to get Ziploc freezer bags. Generic freezer bags work too, but Ziploc work better. If you want to freeze pork chop, for instance, put them in the bag, squeeze ALL the air out, lay them flat, squeeze it again, lay them flat again, and put in the freezer. I never use containers to freeze because they allow too much air and they take up too much room. I freeze everything from meat to soups to veggies to fruits in bags. Lay the bag flat in your freezer and you can stack things up on top of each other. You'll save lots of room and you can fit way more in your freezer.

1 mom found this helpful

Investing in a small stand-alone freezer may be a great idea. The constant opeing and closing of the freezer compartment in a self-defrosting freezer can wreak havoc on food storage. However, I would aim to keep everything rotated within 3-6 months.

Air is the enemy of food storage. Vacuum sealing will greatly lengthen the storage life. Wrap foods directly with several layers of plastic wrap and foil rather than a container that has a bigger airspace. Also, the faster something freezes the better...so slice your meatloaf into individual serving, wrap in plastic wrap and put in a freezer bag (same for lasagna, etc.)

I would get a thermometer and check your freezer temperature. Ensure that it isn't packed to high...there is a vent (near the top usually) that needs to have a space left around it.

I even cook pasta al dente, drain really well, allow to dry a bit and then toss with olive oil. I put it in a ziploc freezer bag and lay it flat to freeze. I find that the wheat pastas keep a better texture. It is easy to make a quick meal with sauces that I make ahead and freeze. I also make a variety of soups full of beans, lentils, vegetables and a variety of different meats...you can add a little of your frozen pasta when ready to serve if you need to stretch things a bit.

1 mom found this helpful

well because you are putting them in a container instead of a bag there is air in it so it is causing the freezer burn.

I recommend ziploc freezer bags that come with a little hand pump to pull all the air out. It works great. Not to mention foil isn't good for freezing items. cling wrap works better but only for a short period of time.

If your willing to spend a little more money walmart has a vacum sealer that comes with the plastic and size is adjustable. I think it runs anywhere from like 30 - 50 dollars for it.
we like to freeze chilli and other more winter meals such as beans and ham so that the excess doesn't go to waste.

I freeze meals (cooked, marinated but now cooked, and raw) and have never had an issue. What I do is freeze them in glass pyrex containers or in the aluminum "to go" type of containers that have a plastic lid. This keeps everything super fresh and you can store things a long time this way. Also, you might want to look into the vacuum pack system. That also works very well. There is a small investment up front for either option but you won't waste food! Good luck!

When i freeze fruits and veggies i cut them up, lay them on a cookie sheet, and put them in the freezer. They freeze evenly this way and not all in one clump. Then i put them in zip lock bags.

For freezing meat, take it out of the store packaging. For pork chops or chick breast I wrap 2 to 4 in plastic wrap. Then I put it in a ziplock freezer bag. Try to squeeze out as much air as possible. It will last up to a year, however, I usually try to use it within 6 months.

When you put anything in the freezer that was not previously frozen, when you put it in the freezer make sure the cold air can circulate arround it, after it is frozen, you can stack it neatly.

A trick for meatloaf. I buy the meat in bulk. Then I mix up the meatloaf (enough for 3 or 4 meals). Then I line the loaf pan and shape the loaf, flip the meat out of the pan and finish wrapping and put in ziplock bag and freeze. When you ready for meatloaf for dinner, take out and defrost, unwrap, put in your loaf pan and bake.

By any chance do you have an older refrigerator that has the freezer section in the top. These types of freezers are good for ice cubes and frozen veggies, but do not get cold enough to freeze foods properly.

There was a post less than a week ago about eating poor. The woman had lost her job and was looking for recipes that she could make for low cost.l

all of the other answers are great....you have to remove the air, pack tightly, & use before 3 months!

I purchase fruit & vegies in bulk....at our farmer's market or at Soulard in St Louis, & freeze in ziploc bags. I also pick blueberries each summer & freeze those. All of these items last the year!

I noticed your other posting....good luck & I wish you Peace!

probably 3 months is the issue. I over cook a few servings every meal and freeze them but they rarely last in our freezer over 2 weeks. We have at least one meal a week that is fend for yourself and each person picks what they want to eat from the frozen containers and that is when those frozen left overs get eaten. My husband also takes them to work for his lunch break. I use the freezer bags or the ziploc freezer/microwaveable containers and freeze them in single serving size portions so don't buy the larger containers, get the square size and think they are around 3 cups in size. If your containers aren't closed tightly then your food will get freezer burnt. If you don't have lids for your containers then you are better off to wrap the foods directly in the foil and not use the container as there will be escape holes around the edges. Look up how to wrap food and you will learn how to wrap meat and stuff to be frozen without having air reach them. Those ziploc containers work really well and can use them a long time as long as you don't drop them with frozen food in them because they will crack when frozen or overcook the food in the microwave. You can buy them at walmart in packs of 3 or 4 for a few dollars. We use them a lot and they stack easily in the freezer and wash in the dishwasher too. Just don't use the dry option because if they happen to fall in the bottom they will melt. I never use the dry option on the dishwasher,as this saves energy and if you open the door right away when the steam is still hot in there the dishes will air dry quicker plus it doesn't bother me to put the dishes away wet as they will dry and most of our dishes get used everyday anyway straight out of the dishwasher. The other offbrand freezer bowl options don't seal well and have had to use scotch tape to keep them closed so I prefer the ziploc brand and they are cheaper than buying rubbermaid or tupperware ones but won't last as long but the real containers still get microwave damage or crack when dropped while frozen and those other containers last us a few years anyway and we use them a lot.

Put the saran wrap next to the food and then use the foil, wrapped very tightly. Or, use freezer bags. I chop green peppers and freeze them on cookie sheets. When they are frozen, I dump them into a zip lock freezer bag. When I need green pepper, I just shake out the amount I need. I've never had much luck in freezing tomatoes. However, canning them works very well. All the other things mentioned, I put into freezer bags, squeeze out the air in the bags, and stack them. Be sure and label them well. I hope this helps.

Check the Saving Dinner website for tips about freezing meals to keep. But I think 3 months is really too long. Things last a MAX of three months in the freezer, unless it's a deep freeze. Try to eat them within 2 months.

I find meat works better if you cook it in something first and then freeze it (same thing goes for veggies, actually). I know some people freeze meat as soon as they get home from the grocery store, but I just don't like the way it tastes.

Also, 3 months is too long to sit in the freezer. I just find it gets freezerburnt. Try 2 weeks later. I've had good luck taking a piece of tape and writing "date frozen - " on the package - makes me more likely to use it quickly.

Good luck!

Week one: you have gone to the store to buy tomatoes, green peppers, pork chops, & ground beef and whatever else you need that week. Chop your onions and peppers and reserve what you need for your meat loaf, chili, and lasagna. Make your salad and reserve the tomatoes that are needed for any other salad and lunches during the week. Freeze the extra chopped onions & peppers, whole tomato's, pork chops, ground beef.

Week two: before going to the store, go to the freezer and make use of what you have in the freezer.

Go to the store and buy whatever else you need for the week.

When you freeze the chopped onion and peppers, drain any juice and flatten the bag, so you may pinch off of it easily at anytime for omelets, stews, chicken dishes, and anything else you may use them for. Frozen food doesn't mean it has to be left for 3 months later. When I say flatten the onions and peppers, lay it on the counter and mash it down so it is no more than a half inch, it will break easier when frozen. The tomatoes will peal easily if you run them under water and rub the skin.

The same with bread. Use half the loaf in week one and freeze the second half right away. Thaw it out in week two and use it then. Frozen bread in week two is much better than dry almost stale bread in week two.

Looking forward to the follow up after week two!!!!

Freezer bags. Works for me every time. Have never had any issues with freezer burn when using these. Good luck!

I freeze things all the time and they do not spoil or have to be thrown away, and have kept them for months. For the meat, individual pieces, first cover with plastic wrap, then place in foil or in ziplock freezer bag. REMOVE the air. I have frozen chili, soups, homemade chicken broth in glass jars or in containers like cottage cheese cartons, place a layer of plastic wrap NEXT to the food if there is considerable air space. The trick in freezing in ziplock bags is taking out the air. For this, I fill the bag with the item to be frozen, then close the bag except for a tiny opening, insert a drinking straw and literally "suck" out the air, while holding the bag tightly at the top, slide out the straw, seal immediately while your fingers are closed in around the straw, as it is pulled out. Okay, it may take a bit to get proficient, but it works. I do the same if I am freezing vegetables, like corn, broccoli, rhubarb, or fresh peaches. Vacuum occurs and products will stay frozen without getting icy. Be sure to use FREEZER bags, they are thicker. Anytime I freeze hamburger (raw or cooked) or a cooked dish like lasagna, seal the wrap next to the food to eliminate the air. If the ice accumulates in the air space, it dries the food causing the deterioration, the plastic wrap is a barrier against getting that icing or frost or freezer burn or "freezer taste".
For cooked items, I make sure to chill it in the refrigerator before freezing, which prevents "steam" that will frost up the air space.
Good luck.

There is a product that I find works good for freezing called Press N Seal for freezers that works great for keeping the frostbite out. I use that to individually wrap chicken breasts or other meat, then put a bunch of them into a big ziploc freezer bag (HAS to be freezer bag, not regular). Using the press n seal and a bag doubles your protection. I use freezer bags to freeze raw and cooked ground beef that is portioned out, and I sqeeze out all excess air. I have not had good luck with foil or saran wrap. If I use foil to separate pork chops, I still put them in ziplocs. But the press n seal works better for that too. I definitely let my stuff go longer than 3 months and don't have problems if there is no air in them.

Another REALLY important thing to do is let the food cool before putting it in the freezer if it is warm. If it goes in the freezer warm, it "sweats" and you get ice crystals and freezer burn immediately. I put everything warm into the ziploc baggie (even soups) and chill them in the fridge for several hours, then transfer it to the freezer.

So for your list:
pork chops- I buy the big packs of pork chops or even a whole pork loin that I slice myself. If I buy the loin, I will cut a couple into crockpot size roasts and cut some into chops. You can even marinate the roasts overnight before freezing. Then I use the press n seal to wrap them in individual portions, put them in a ziploc, and freeze.

green peppers, tomatoes, other veggies- Honestly, I do not find that it is cost effective to buy fresh produce then freeze it unless you are getting it on a great sale. Fresh produce is much more expensive than frozen. And if you buy frozen, they flash freeze it on site when it is picked. So it is at the height of freshness and frozen quickly to be the best quality. If you buy fresh, it is often picked not quite ripe. Then you freeze it, but your freezer is nowhere near as good as their technology to flash freeze. So unless it is a good deal, just get frozen veggies. One thing I do- take the frozen veggie bags, cut them open, put them in a freezer ziploc still in the bag. Store bags don't protect near as well. You can squeeze out excess air by opening the bag, but you still know what it is. And you can reuse the ziploc if you empty it and put it back in the freezer and put another bag of veggies in it. The bag shouldn't really even be dirty, plus the veggies aren't touching the bag. (I don't do things like rewash baggies, but you could if you wanted I guess.) If you do want to freeze fresh (sometimes I get produce from costco. Totally worth the price but I cant use it all up) - I freeze a lot of veggies/fruit in a flat layer on a cookie sheet, then pour into a ziploc. Now you can pull out just a few chunks, cubes, berries, whatever. You aren't stuck using the whole bag at once. Cheaper than portioning into a bunch of smaller bags.

Lasagna- you can use the press n seal, or you can use foil plus ziploc, saran wrap plus ziploc, or individual disposable pans. The key is to have very little room for air. Chill it in the fridge first so it gets firm, then package it to freeze. A trick to lasagna staying upright (as long as you have a good recipe that isn't too wet to begin with) is to let it stand before you cut into it, so that it isn't so hot and sloppy.

Meatloaf- I loved mom of 2 girls method, I will be doing that from now on!

Chili- in a ziploc, portioned into meals, so make a huge pot, put it in several ziplocs. Squeeze excess air out, chill in refrigerator, then freeze, preferably flat so you can stack them.

I also do the same pasta thing as Amanda, but never thought about using the olive oil, I will have to try that. I try to make extras of anything I make so that I can freeze some. My husband travels so I am usually just cooking for myself and a toddler, and I always have extra, so I just make sure I have a lot extra, and then I can freeze some. It isn't hard to make a double recipe usually. The only thing I can't get a good freezable recipe for is homemade mac n cheese. It never bakes right. But I do make extra cheese sauce and freeze it. Another thing to do is defrost things completely, then cook them in the oven or skillet. Microwaves don't always defrost properly, and often don't reheat well either. So even if it is cooked, I usually reheat it the same way I cooked it to begin with.

Sorry that is so long, but I hope some of it helps! Good luck and congrats on the new baby.

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