FCS@Home: Your Freezer is Your Friend
With everyone working together to limit the times out of the house to create social distancing, we find shopping for our food is becoming less frequent and more organized. This means more people making grocery lists, planning a one-time weekly or bi-weekly trip to the grocery store, and buying only what is needed. But being organized and strategic doesn’t just stop at going to the grocery store. Once our food is home, the big question becomes, “How do we make our food last until the next trip to the store?” The big answer is tapping into the power of your freezer!
Freezing helps to make your foods last longer. It’s a great method when you have prepared an excess of a meal that you want to last for a long time. You can also freeze prepped ingredients for a meal, like cut meats for a stew or mixed vegetables for a stir fry! By taking the proper steps with freezing you’ll have raw foods and some prepared foods last even long after your next scheduled trip to the grocery store. According to the National Center of Home Food Preservation, frozen fruits and vegetables tend to last 8-9 months, Poultry 6-9 months, fish 3-6 months, ground meat 3-4 months, and cured or processed meat 1-2 months. Here are a few tips when freezing foods to make them last longer.
- Blanching vegetables before freezing helps to maintain flavor, color, texture and nutrients. Blanching stop enzymes from breaking down the vegetable.
- Make sure to cool foods beforehand to help speed up the process of freezing your foods.
- Examples of great containers for freezing include plastic, glass, or aluminum containers, aluminum foil pans, or the popular freezer bags.
- Just like canning, allow your containers to have headspace as food may begin to expand on the inside.
- Try not to overload your freezer, and create a “First In, First Out” method to rotate out older frozen foods first.
Your freezer is a powerful tool and will be a perfect addition to your strategy for shopping and cooking food for you and even your family!