Freezing food is an effective way to preserve the food you grow in your garden or buy on sale from stores. Despite how useful it can be, many people are intimidated by the idea of freezing their own food because they don't know how to prevent freezer burn, or from having everything clumped together.
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Equipment Needed for Freezing Food
Freezing foods is considered simpler than canning, and it is much quicker. It's definitely quicker than dehydrating and easier to use out of the freezer than after dehydrating. Freezing is super easy with only a few required items.
You'll need cookie sheets for a few different things that you may freeze.
Cookie sheets provide a flat surface for freezing small foods like berries or foods chopped/sliced in pieces, such as fruit and bell peppers.
Once frozen, you can remove the food and place it in a bag.
The other use for cookie sheets is as a flat surface on which to place soft plastic bags full of food you want to freeze. Without the sheet or tray, the bags bulge down between the bars of the freezer shelf and freeze to it.
To prevent things from sticking to your cookie sheets use wax paper to line your cookie sheets when you freeze. Your food will slide right off once frozen.
Zip-top Plastic Bags
These are really handy for freezing non-liquid foods like berries, chopped vegetables, and herbs. Get the freezer bags as they are stronger and thicker than just zip-top storage bags.
Don't forget to get as much air as possible out of the bags before freezing. This is key to preventing freezer burn!
As with canning, glass Mason jars can be great for freezing.
You simply add the food to the jar and add liquid to fill in the space, or no liquid, depending on the food, and leave 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inches from the top to allow for expansion.
Vacuum-sealed bags shield items from freezer burn, and their compressed size will take up less space in your storage areas. They’re also handy for preserving leftovers—just seal them up and toss them in the fridge or freezer.
You can freeze food in any freezer, but if you have a large quantity that you're going to be dipping into all winter, a chest freezer, or just a separate upright freezer in your garage or basement, can be very helpful.
Also, chest freezers go to a lower temperature than freezers attached to refrigerators, making food last longer and killing more microbes. Plus you aren't going into them as often letting the cold out as often as with a freezer attached to your fridge.
I have moved away from freezing as our main storage for things like peppers because our area has a chance of long power outages in the winter and I hate to lose our hard-earned food.