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I have freezer phobia. What is the best way to freeze soup, prepared meat dishes and raw meat? How long does food last in a freezer?

I use glassware and inevitably the food has white frost on it. Also, what is the best way to defrost without a microwave?

asked by ubs2007 over 5 years ago
3 answers 3374 views
23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added over 5 years ago

The frost is just ice crystals from water that has sublimed from the frozen product; nothing to worry about except that the product will have dried out and textural quality will have been lost. Serious freezers use one of the vacuum systems available for home use, but that requires a capital investment.

We freeze soups in quart or gallon zipper freezer bags, carefully zipped to leave no air pockets. We lay the bags on a flat pan in the freezer until frozen, then stack them on the freezer shelf/drawer. Pretty much the same for prepared meat dishes. Raw meat gets wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap, then tightly in heavy-duty foil (which may be overkill) then the packets put into a zipper bag. All bags get dated.

There are many datasheets available on how long various foods last in the freezer (USDA has them, for example), but they tend to be conservative. There are so many variables that an exact measure is impossible--frozen food storage is affected by whether your freezer is 20 degrees, 10 degrees, zero, or minus 10, for example. We have had zip-bagged soups and sauces still decent quality after a year in storage; but a chunk of meat is likely to deteriorate in quality in less time.

Vest (safest) way to defrost without a microwave is to move the frozen package to the fridge for a day or two. Quicker way is to submerge the packet in a bowl cold water, For things like soups, don't even bother defrosting; just put a quarter cup of water in a saucepan, turn on the heat, rip the frozen block of soup out of its bag, put it in the pan, and simmer slowly.

0f493ab9 068f 4498 ba2c 95c992214d52  sit2

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

Has I've mentioned before. I'm a big fan of "food saver" vac pack. Systems. They last months in the freezer.
The thing to create a sealed package..something that has air (which causes 'freezer burn").

For soups stews and such. I put them in a loaf pan or metal bowls and freeze first...Then package with vac pack, so you have 'ingots' of the product.

For raw meats, if you're using any type of vac pack...pre-freeze first as the vacuum can suck moisture out.

Also for short term storage: There's a super cheap option. Ziplock has a system with a little manual 'bicycle' type pump to remove air their speclized bags. (which are pretty cheap). The starter system is 5 bucks. 3 quart bags and the pump. Well worth for it just for cheeses to seal and open re-zip and vac. The seal isn't as strong as 200 buck heat seal vac pack system..but it works well.

Bascially, prefreeze stuff with moisture, THEN package and try to remove as much air as possible.

0f493ab9 068f 4498 ba2c 95c992214d52  sit2

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added over 5 years ago

Where's the dang edit button. "has I've mentioned before"

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