Meal prep becomes super important if you’re a busy person but have resolved to eat in. One Redditor got caught up on an odd day in the middle of the week when they ran out of food and hadn't defrosted any proteins, forcing them to eat out. This, however, would not have been the case if they had done adequate meal preparation and, more importantly, knew how to store them to make them last longer.
Here are some of the best comments on that thread.
How Long Can Freezer Food Last?
OP wanted to know how long food can last in the freezer. This user said there are many guides out there about “optimal” freezer times, but notices that if properly stored, food can last almost indefinitely. Of course, they admit that there's sometimes a little quality loss, but if you don't lose power or have another major issue, you can keep most foods for months or even years.
Another replied, “Yeah, unless you have power failure and it all thaws out or something, food will still be safe to eat pretty much forever. But it'll stop tasting like anything after a while.”
For another Redditor, the key thing is the type of freezer one has. According to them, “If you're using your freezer that is attached to your fridge, food is good for about 6 months before it develops freezer burn, depending on how much air is in there.” He explained that this happens because the freezer will periodically raise the temp above freezing to make sure frost does not form there. This will degrade the quality of your food over time.
They advised that for long-term preservation, one needs a chest freezer or an upright deep freezer that is not frost-free. When foods are airtight and deep frozen in this manner, they can literally last years. According to them, “The key to long term storage, either in the fridge, freezer or deep freezer is air. Air (oxygen) is your enemy here.”
Freezing Tips for Long Term Storage
One Redittor suggested
- Buy reusable boxes in portion sizes
- Freeze in portion sizes, NOT in large amounts (unless you know you need a large amount all at once and will be happy to have it all thawed at the same time)
- label everything (I use blue painter's tape, and then stick them inside a cabinet door for reuse; we tend to repeat recipes after all — write on the tape and THEN cut it off, rather than the other way around)
Another suggested buying reusable boxes in portion sizes Like bento boxes? Or Tupperwares. “I always use ziplocs and I feel it's a waste but I don't know of any alternative for raw meats,” they said.
Someone else adds that perhaps keeping some cans of tuna or chicken in the pantry for those “oops” days. “You can toss it into rice or onto a tortilla, and boom! Dinner!”
One redditor emphasized the importance of maximizing surface area of whatever you're freezing, so it'll defrost faster and more evenly. They explained that, “if you have some fresh minced meat, loosely flatten it into portion-sized pancakes. When defrosting, I usually put whatever meat it is into a jug of room-temp water (in an airless, water-proof bag) to speed things up, and the extra surface area helps with this too.”
They also suggest filling water-proof bags with sauce, folding the bag to create 2 flat portions, and freezing that way. This allows one to take just a half-bag of sauce and cook some dry pasta. Another tip they share is freezing sauce in ice cube trays, for finer portion control.
Freezing Fresh Herbs
The same Redditor noted that it’s a good idea to buy fresh herbs, remove any stems and cut them, then freeze them that way. Then when you're cooking you can just use them teaspoons at a time, as long as you're quick to not let them defrost and go mushy. They said it’s almost as good as fresh herbs, and 1000% better tasting than buying dried herbs. They warn, “Just don't freeze them unprepared.”
One user said, “Although a vacuum sealer is a big chunk of change up front, it saves money in the long run as it does a ton of work in helping to prevent freezer burn.”
Another commented on how to use them saying:
“If you need to vacuum seal stew or soup, you can; just put an appropriate amount in the pouch, gently fold the top and hold it in place with a clip or something, freeze it, and THEN vacuum seal it. That way the sealer doesn't suck fluid out with the air, but it still sucks the air out. There are tricks to this, but they're all worth doing. Sometimes when I travel I have packs of soup or baked beans or homemade ragu as combo ice packs and, once I heat them up, food.”
Freezing Meatballs and Fruits
One Redditor suggested storing meatballs, leftover fruit (for smoothies) or ground meat by putting it on a sheet pan with wax paper first. However, they continued, “If you freeze meat or fruit on a sheet pan then put it in a freezer bag it won't stick together. You can sprinkle out what you need and just close it back up!”
You can read the original story here.
This post was produced and syndicated by Wealth Of Geeks.