Freezing Food Tips

If you must freeze, a variety of foods can be frozen and store quite nicely for several months to a year. The secret is in the preparation and the storage container.

Freezing Vegetables

All vegetables should be cleaned, and placed in boiling water for two minutes to kill the enzymes. This is called blanching. They should then be well drained and allowed to cool for a few minutes before placing into freezer bags.

Some people claim they freeze peas without blanching and they keep well but most other vegetables require blanching. Some vegetables such as carrots may become soft and so some people prefer canning or place in a root cellar.

Freezer bags or food grade plastic are the type that should be used. Food will keep longer if you place the blanched vegetables in one bag, and then place multiple bags within a larger freezer bag that one can easily unzip or untie. Freezer bags can be reused once they are empty and washed so purchase good quality bags.

Freezing Meats and Fish

Meats

Meats are generally frozen raw but may also be frozen precooked. To avoid the use of much freezer space we prefer to de-bone all our meat. Since we also butcher our own livestock, it is not a problem. In addition, we try to keep our livestock on the hoof as long as practical so that we do not have a freezer full of meat that may spoil if the power or freezer fails for a prolonged period of time.

Other than canning, meat keeps best if frozen and that includes salted meats. We personally prefer to avoid salted meats in favor of fresh roast or steaks, but the freezer helps to keep cured meats longer. We also divide pre-cooked meats into smaller meal size portions for convenience.

Fish

*Fish have a tendency to get freezer burnt quickly.

A few homestead families are raising fish in ponds or they may enjoy fishing in a nearby creek, river or lake and so we must freeze or can them depending upon our choices. Fish are usually always frozen raw.

The best method we have found is to dip the fish in ice cold water before placing in double freezer bags or to place the fish in small dairy (cottage cheese) containers. Fill containers with fish, then cover with water ensuring the fish and water are no more than ¾ to the top of the container. There must be room for the expansion that will take place when the water freezes. You could also add a bit of water later if there wasn’t enough at first. When it comes time to enjoy your fish, place it in the fridge the day before.

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