Effective Freezing

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by koukouvagia, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,298
    Likes Received:
    536
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  2. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  3. cuocomichele

    cuocomichele

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    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.
     
  4. thatchairlady

    thatchairlady

    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  5. cuocomichele

    cuocomichele

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    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
     
  6. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,298
    Likes Received:
    536
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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?
     
  8. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  9. cuocomichele

    cuocomichele

    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Home Chef
    I have only used FoodSaver machines and have had no problems.  Check some Amazon reviews and you'll find what you need.

    Best,

    Michele
     
  10. french fries

    french fries

    Messages:
    5,196
    Likes Received:
    320
    Exp:
    At home cook
    I vacuum seal with my mouth. One least appliance to deal with! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
    koukouvagia likes this.
  11. maryb

    maryb

    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    162
    Exp:
    Semi pro/retired now
    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.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 27, 2014
  12. mtullius

    mtullius

    Messages:
    168
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Cook At Home
    I freeze liquids in canning jars. That way they can go straight to the microwave. I don't put any plastic in the microwave.
     
  13. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

    Messages:
    7,298
    Likes Received:
    536
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  14. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,104
    Likes Received:
    186
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    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.
     
  15. maryb

    maryb

    Messages:
    2,472
    Likes Received:
    162
    Exp:
    Semi pro/retired now
  16. zagut

    zagut

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    11
    Exp:
    Other
    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.
     
  17. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    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.
     
  18. eastshores

    eastshores

    Messages:
    1,436
    Likes Received:
    284
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    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.
     
  19. genemachine

    genemachine

    Messages:
    1,423
    Likes Received:
    123
    Exp:
    Home Cook
    @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.
     
  20. oldschool1982

    oldschool1982

    Messages:
    1,593
    Likes Received:
    44
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    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.