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Effective Freezing

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
What are some tips for freezing? How do you freeze a steak, or stock or leftovers or herbs? Is it worth the expense to buy a vacuum sealer? Do you use bags, cling wrap, foil, wax paper?

Here's a tip, store ice cream container in a large ziploc bag. It keeps the ice cream soft and easy to serve.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 26

Vac sealer all the way - bought one recently, not the cheapest, not the most expensive, around €120. Massively improved the quality of frozen stuff. If that thing ever breaks, I am buying a new one the same day. For stocks or liquid leftovers, I use Lock&Lock boxes or similar.

post #3 of 26

Have been vac sealing for years, definitely recommend - and don’t need to spend too much.  $70 will get you a reliable sealer, add about $22 for 100 8 X 12 bags.  Will save much more than this over time.  We use it for meats, cheeses, charcuterie, and vegetables.  I just sealed and froze a case of ripe tomatoes for the winter using 8x12 bags.  Have removed sealed/frozen tomatoes after a year with no problems. 

 

For soups and stocks I use plastic with a tight lid.

post #4 of 26

Another yes for vac sealer.  Made  MAJOR yard sale fiinds at 2 separate places on FoodSaver.  Spent $10 (total) and came home with at least $50 worth of bags AND a Foodsaver unit!  

 

I'm cooking for one so FS is ideal for me.  Almost every meat/poultry package in supermarket is way too much for 1-2 servings.  It takes a little time (but worth it) to repackage stuff before freezing.  A rock-hard, frozen hunka just about anything is ready to cook/heat/eat after 20-30 minute swim in large container of room temp water... about as long as it takes to get into slob clothes after work.  Virtually NO "mystery" or freezer burned items.

 

If something is soft/wet, I at least partially freeze before sealing so unit doesn't suck out liquid... a bit of a mess.

 

If no vac sealing, I LIBERALLY wrap TIGHTLY in plastic wrap before it goes into a freezer container or zip bag.

 

If a liquid (like stock, soup, chili, etc.), I get as much air out of freezer/zip bag and ideally freeze FLAT... then they're stackable.

 

Label stuff... at least with date.  You may easily recognize chicken/pork/ground meat, but if you've made a few good buys and have stocked freezer, ya wanna try to uses stuff you've had longest first.

post #5 of 26

That is a great find at a yard sale.  When sealing something soft/wet, I put a layer or 2 of paper towel between the items being sealed and the bag opening, it absorbs the liquid preventing any leak.

 

Best,

Michele

post #6 of 26

My vac sealer has a removable chamber that takes up the opening of the bag - so even if the pump sucks in some liquid, it is easily cleaned afterwards and it doesn't foul the pump itself. As I said, worth the cash.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 
I guess I should put a vac sealer on my wish list then and maybe I'll get it for Christmas. Any I should stay away from?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

Reply

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #8 of 26

Thankfully I have no idea what to stay away from. What to buy, though - I am really happy with my mid-range Caso VC 100.

post #9 of 26

I have only used FoodSaver machines and have had no problems.  Check some Amazon reviews and you'll find what you need.

 

Best,

Michele

post #10 of 26

I vacuum seal with my mouth. One least appliance to deal with! :)

post #11 of 26

FoodSaver all the way, I am on my 4th one in 25 years. I vac bag a lot, been blanching and freezing a lot of garden veg the last month. Freeze bread on a tray then vac bag it to keep it from freezer burning. I buy 2 pound blocks of white cheddar, cut it in thirds and vac bag and freeze 2 pieces. Stocks I either pressure can or I freeze in mason jars. Can get cheaper bags at Goodmans.

post #12 of 26

I freeze liquids in canning jars. That way they can go straight to the microwave. I don't put any plastic in the microwave.

post #13 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtullius View Post

I freeze liquids in canning jars. That way they can go straight to the microwave. I don't put any plastic in the microwave.

Good tip!! I do freeze stock in plastic jars and wen I need to defrost I run under warm water to loosen the sides and then dump into a saucepan.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #14 of 26

I freeze my homemade chicken stock in small ziplock bags with two cups of liquid. I lay them flat on a sheet pan and put them in the freezer. They are very thin when they freeze and make it easy to store. They also are exactly two cups so I know what I am pulling out. And, because they are frozen flat and thin they store very easily without taking up a lot of space. I use the vacuum sealer primarily for meats, poultry and seafood and only for long term items. Vacuum sealing is expensive over the long haul so I only use it for items that will be in the freezer longer than 3 months. Any amount of time less than that and it is just as effective to use a zip lock in my opinion.

Thanks,

Nicko 
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
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post #15 of 26

Odd my link to cheap bags was removed...

 

http://www.goodmans.net/d/204/tilia-foodsaver-bags-rolls.htm

post #16 of 26

I use my vacuum sealer all the time.

When My last one was dying I replaced it before it was totally dead.

No need to go expensive on a unit but as they say, You get what you pay for.

For long term storage in the freezer it can't be beat. And even for short term it's great. Buying in bulk pays for any amount you might spend in bag cost. Rolls are the way to go IMHO. You can custom size bags as you need them.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicko View Post
 

I freeze my homemade chicken stock in small ziplock bags with two cups of liquid. I lay them flat on a sheet pan and put them in the freezer. They are very thin when they freeze and make it easy to store. They also are exactly two cups so I know what I am pulling out. And, because they are frozen flat and thin they store very easily without taking up a lot of space. I use the vacuum sealer primarily for meats, poultry and seafood and only for long term items. Vacuum sealing is expensive over the long haul so I only use it for items that will be in the freezer longer than 3 months. Any amount of time less than that and it is just as effective to use a zip lock in my opinion.

True that vac bags are generally more expensive than just a ziplock, but then again, the amount I use for normal household usage doesn't really show up in the budget. When I freeze meat of any sort, it is mostly higher quality stuff, e.g. my home-raised stuff, larger batches of homemade bacon or salt pork, larger batches of some heirloom pig I get a deal on, stuff that some hunter friends get me, so in those cases, the quality of freezing is a higher concern to me than the storage times as such. Since vac sealing combined with a good freezer really cuts down on ice crystal formation, resulting in a better texture, it's my way to go for stuff like that.

post #18 of 26

GM have you considered a chamber vacuum sealer? I've been looking at them, the bags are much cheaper than food saver, around $45 USD for 500 8"x10" bags. Unfortunately the chambers themselves are closer to $900! I just ordered my first sous vide unit so it would be nice to eventually be able to seal up liquids. I just don't seal enough other products as of late to make that initial price worth it.

post #19 of 26

@eastshores Considering, yes, particularly with an eye on sous vide, but the units are a bit out of my price range at the moment, too.

post #20 of 26

Vacuum sealing and freezing is definitely the way to go and will agree with @Nicko about the cost over the long haul. It does get up there if you are using it frequently. I guess at one time we were because we were buying the big box of bags from Sam's around 5 or 6 times a year. There's too much waste too.

 

The machine I have is an older Food-Saver Pro-II model we bought from Food-Saver on closeout maybe 10 years ago? We use a moderate amount of fresh meat here and it can add up if I don't freeze things. The only thing I try not to freeze is beef, using the sealer to add some age is a definite plus to some of the mid quality meats we buy on sale. I figure if it's possible to take a 5 or 6 buck a pound cut and make it as tasty as a 8,10 or 12 buck a pound cut.....why not.

 

This thread peaked my curiosity about the Chamber type sealers and had no idea they were becoming available for the home. I like the idea of the reduced cost in bags and also the flexibility to seal liquids. The 900 bucks is up there but if it lasts and you use it more often on a wider variety of foods, then it could almost pay for itself. Honestly, I've quit sealing as much as we once did, especially my sauces because of the known difficulty and a previous issue but the cost but the biggest issue. Plus many of the bags we use for meat lose their tight vacuum and if I don't pay attention and reseal the product, we end up with freezer burn anyway. It also doubles the usage and cost.

post #21 of 26

Uhm, are the bags really that expensive in the US, or what are you all on about? I get good, stable vac bags on the 6 meter by 30 cm roll for about 6€ per roll here. I don't really consider that noteworthy, compared to my other expenses for good food.

post #22 of 26

My bags are free.

 

Check out my method. I never pay for bags for the freezer.

 

dcarch

 

 

post #23 of 26

Dcarch.. I had to stop at the 4 min mark and laugh a little :bounce: ... I hope you are being silly! He/she slaps it and turns it over and it's obvious the super thin bag has ruptured. In addition, an attempt to seal anything harder than ground meat would most likely burst that thin bag.

 

GM.. FoodSaver brand products are somewhat expensive, but we can get "bargain bag" rolls on the cheap for instance 8" x 100 feet for about $21. I've never tried them yet but from what I saw on reviews they do work albeit a little inferior to the FoodSaver bags.

post #24 of 26

Actually, I have been doing this for a few years. I have yet to have a bag broken on me. No freeezer burns on meat.

 

I have nice system going, I have not shown on the vedio a computer printed food adhesive labels which sticks well on the bags. Really saves time as well.

 

 

dcarch

post #25 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by eastshores View Post
 

GM.. FoodSaver brand products are somewhat expensive, but we can get "bargain bag" rolls on the cheap for instance 8" x 100 feet for about $21. I've never tried them yet but from what I saw on reviews they do work albeit a little inferior to the FoodSaver bags.

 

Just looked them up. Yeah, FoodSaver brand is not exactly cheap around here, either. I am using CASO bags on the roll. Still not the cheapest option, but they do seal well, even if you have sharp ends of chopped up bones sticking out, like when freezing a chicken carcass for making into stock later. Never pierced a bag so far. Microwavable, usable for sous vide, does what it is supposed to do and still a bit cheaper than what is sold by FoodSaver around here.

post #26 of 26

The bags I get at Goodmans work okay, I sometimes have to use hand pressure on the door lever for the foodsaver or it pushes to hard. Never had one of them fail from puncturing or tearing in the freezer. And about half the price of FoodSaver brand bags.

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