Fall is here and it’s time for warmer, more hearty foods as we head into the colder months. This is the perfect time of year to prepare make-ahead meals for your freezer to save a little time in the kitchen. Try to use the “cook once, eat two or three times” method when making a big pot of food; you can always double a recipe and freeze half for another meal later in the month.
This is a fantastic short tutorial from Serious Eats on the best way to freeze food. I’ve been thinking about recording something like this, so I was really excited when this popped up in my Facebook feed. They nailed it and I’m excited to share it here.
Best tips to freeze meals for later on:
- Choose freezer bags specifically marked for the freezer as regular food bags (e.g. ziplock sandwich bags) are air permeable. This is super important! Save money by using regular food bags for refrigerator or pantry storage, and only freezer bags for freezing. Freezer bags tend to cost a little more, so save them for the freezer.
- Always freeze flat for better freezing and better defrosting. It also helps preserve the quality of your food because less is exposed to air.
- Use an aluminum tray to defrost on the counter–it really does make it go faster (science is fun!).
- Not mentioned in the video but also important, let foods cool to room temperature before putting them in the freezer bag and freezing them.
He shows you how to achieve the perfect freezing method for both semisolid (e.g. meats, stews) and liquids/soups/stocks as well.
In general, things like soups/stews/chilis and casseroles can be frozen for 2-3 months (4 months max), but err on the side of less time if you can. Even though it’s frozen, food in your freezer will still eventually go bad. Here’s a great charge from FoodSafety.gov for more reference, too.
I hope this helps you create, save and enjoy more food. You can read the full Serious Eats article here.