Sunday, April 4, 2010
Freezer Safe Containers
By request I would love to share with you my many freezer safe containers I use. I have several things I use, none of which are expensive and usually have in my home already. Just remember to get creative and remember to label and date each item.
Tupperware-I went through a Tupperware stage for about 2 years. I found it in thrift stores, yard sales, and some were given to me by friends or family members. Remember when your looking for them you are going to find them one piece at a time sometimes. I bought lids only or bowls only because I knew I would probably run across the matching piece eventually. Since then I have given almost all of my Tupperware away. I saved only ones that are perfect for the freezer. They should be easy to stack and easy to clean. Also keep in mind portion control. I also kept very large pieces so I can keep all my baking pantry food nice and sealed shut. I have a rule of never heating my Tupperware in the microwave because of no plastic number on most of Tupperware. Vintage Tupperware is a little too "iffy" and i'm not sure if its BPA free. The above picture is not my Tupperware but I do own those. They are perfect size plus the lid doubles as a small plate. Sweet! Love the colors!
Canning Jars-These are great for liquids. I use small glass canning jars for freezer jelly. I also shred zucchini or squash and put them into small glass jars. This way I can use it all year for muffins or what not. Small glass jars are perfect for putting in your freezer door which is easy to access. I also store dried good in the large canning jars. I keep them on my counter along my back splash because its the perfect size and not bulky plus I can see everything and do not have to hunt for anything. Love love canning jars! One thing you might want to keep in mind is that water expands when frozen. So keep plenty of room at the top of the jar so whatever you are freezing, it has plenty of room to expand. I've lost 5 jars recently because of this. Bummer. A pack of 6 large jars cost about $8. Medium sized retail for around $6 and smaller are about the same price. You can also find these in thrift stores or yard sales but do not pay more than 25 cents for them. You can buy new lids and seals in the stores for about $3-$5.
Recycled Ziplock style bags-I know I know, I tell you all the time not to buy these things. Its true, do not buy them! But if you get one from a friend or relative put it to use. I bake pumpkin and freeze pumpkin puree and put the puree into these bags. They store really well and thaw out super fast. Each time I use it I simply wash it in warm water and let it dry. I will reuse these until they fall apart. Once they are too far gone to use for food, its onto our girls and their Barbie stuff. After my girls use them and they have too many holes to hold anything, they are cut up into pieces and recycled. Remember this option is free when you keep them when given to you.
Plastic Canning Jars with twist lids-I really do not like plastic but these were brand new and I thought I would try them out. I do not particularly canning due to me having 4 kids on my ankles constantly. But I do love freezing food. These smaller plastic canning containers are pretty cheap and as long as you do not heat them up and wash them in soap and warm water you can use them all you want. I love the easy to screw on cap and especially love the size of them. They hold 1 cup of food. Perfect for shredded zucchini/squash or pumpkin puree. Usually a recipe consist of one cup or two cups of puree/shred. Also they store well in the freezer door. These usually retail $3 for 3 of them.
There are lots of other alternatives all of which will be more expensive. Pyrex is a favorite among people. They last for years and years but are an expensive up front cost. You can find 16 piece sets from Costco or Target for around $40. This means you will get an 8 piece complete set. They count lids as a piece. Lids these days are a plastic/rubber combination and can (not recommended) be heated. I love the old vintage Pyrex because the lids are glass and can be put in the oven with the lid. My favorite are the dark brown Pyrex which is super hard to find. Trust me, people do not like to give up their Pyrex.
Another alternative is plastic ziplock brand type containers. I personally do not like these. Yes they are cheap and have every size you can imagine. But they cannot be heated in the microwave for long or they will melt. Also the plastic is usually #1 or #2 plastic and absorb stains and odor. They will crack over time and will need to be replaced. Good thing is that they can be recycled. These containers rank up with ziplock bags in my mind. Just bad all around. These retail for $3 for a pack of 3-6.
Ive seen some thick plastic containers with snap on lids at Costco as well. My neighbor has these and they seem pretty sturdy. The lids are lined with a rubber type seal to keep all liquids in and they are square and perfect size for storing in the freezer. They usually cost around $20 for a large set of them. I really do not know how long these will last but im sure longer than ziplock brand but not as long as Pyrex.
Ive also seen stainless steel in places like Storables and many many websites. Only thing about these are that they are more expensive than Pyrex. I would say that if you want these for lunch bags its a good investment. But for freezer containers, its just way too expensive. One small 2 cup size container cost about $6.99-$10 each. The prices go way up from there.
Another great thing I use is glass jars from products I buy. I buy apple sauce for my girls to have in their lunches. The apple sauce I buy is a large glass container with a metal lid. I use these to store soup in the freezer and also for noodles and what not's on my counter. They are very dual use and can be recycled when done. I just love the simple design of the container too. These are free because you already bought them and are reusing them.
Finding the right freezer container is really up to you. It all depends on how much you want to spend and how ECO friendly you want to go. For me I choose frugal and Eco friendly as much as possible. I also like dual use items. This way I have less, to do more.
What about you? What do you use? How much do they cost and where do you find them? Share your information so it can help everyone out:)