Author Topic: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?  (Read 2873 times)

OmahaSteph

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Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« on: November 11, 2016, 10:40:20 AM »
We bit the bullet and finally bought a Sam's Club membership. We'll be buying a chest freezer soon, as well, and in the past I've always divided up things like chicken breasts, put them in plastic Ziplock bags and frozen them that way. I HATE the idea of using all those plastic bags now. Reusable plastic containers are an option, but take up a lot of room.

Is there a way to store frozen meat that doesn't involve either a) tossing a plastic bag after one use or b) freezer burn?

terran

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2016, 10:50:30 AM »
We reuse freezer bags quite a lot. If you keep them in the freezer between uses it's fine. Freezing meat (another lots of other things) in portions overnight on a cookie sheet then transferring to bags works well. Although, lately we've found freezing things like chicken breast after cooking instead of before works better (gets less gamey tasting).

That said, I'd love to eliminate the bags from this process, so I'll be interested to see if someone has a solution.

Catbert

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2016, 03:24:44 PM »
Yep, I re-use freezer bags a lot.   I'll mark the bag with a general category (e.g., meat, bread, smoothie).  Then just use for that category.  For meat, I do a quick rinse when it's empty and then immediately store back in freezer.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2016, 06:11:43 AM »
I wash and reuse Ziploc bags a lot. For meat, get butcher paper. Double wrap and meat will store just as long in a chest freezer as vacuum packed stuff. It is compostable/biodegradable.

Case

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2016, 09:34:15 AM »
We bit the bullet and finally bought a Sam's Club membership. We'll be buying a chest freezer soon, as well, and in the past I've always divided up things like chicken breasts, put them in plastic Ziplock bags and frozen them that way. I HATE the idea of using all those plastic bags now. Reusable plastic containers are an option, but take up a lot of room.

Is there a way to store frozen meat that doesn't involve either a) tossing a plastic bag after one use or b) freezer burn?

Just some food for thought:
since this post is driven by environmental concerns, you might zoom out a bit and look at what aspects of your life have the biggest environmental impacts (burning gasoline, for example).  Plastic freezer bags, unless using many of them with high throughput, might a small contributor to overall waste.  A lot of plastic is recyclable, of course.

Something to watch out for in the chest freezer:
I got one a few years ago and I heavily use it.  However, sometimes I find myself not routinely working through the massive stores of food I have.  So those 5 lbs of ground beef at the bottom of the freezer might be there for a while, meanwhile I'm buying new ground beef which goes to the top of the pile and I grab it first because it's on top.
Having small buckets/boxes within the freezer can help with this by improving organization.

Goldielocks

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2016, 12:17:15 AM »
If you are really into environmental food storage, take a look at dehydrated foods, stored in a recycled jar. 


I am starting to learn which foods work better than others dehydrated, and removing them from my freezer saves energy and reduced the size of freezer  I need.  Tomatoes, blueberries, apples, shredded chicken, etc. are a few items that are just as good (if different) from frozen.

Alternatives to ziplock bags are the freezer bags with the twist tie type.  They are amazingly roomy, great in the freezer, low cost, and somewhat easy to put a vacuum on.  (with my thrift store vacuseal).

MayDay

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2016, 04:17:32 AM »
I'm not sure a chest freezer to store things purchased from a regular grocery is doing the environment any favors.

I'd reserve an entire extra freezer for either hunting meat or garden produce.

We have a small cheat freezer that is currently full of garden produce. A bit is in ziploks but 90% is in glass canning jars. Many are freezer safe for liquids (soup, mashed pumpkin, pesto, etc) and "dry" things like blueberries can go in any jar. It works well and is completely reusable.  No idea if that would work for meat, though. Probably would for some in smaller pieces.

Trifele

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2016, 05:04:55 AM »
X2 on glass jars.  I never freeze meat, so not sure about how to do that, but we use glass canning-type jars of all sizes for everything else.  Just pop the stuff in the jar, put the flat on and screw the ring down.  Glass jars save me at the end of the summer, when I am too busy/lazy to actually can the last stuff from the garden.  You just chop up the vegetables/fruit and pop them in jars.  Many do separate/lose their water after being frozen, but that is usually no problem if you are using them in stew, chili, etc.

With items that have a lot of liquid (like chopped up tomatoes) you need to leave a little head space at the top to allow for expansion.  An inch is enough in a quart jar.

EEBookDesign

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2016, 06:49:22 AM »
I freeze in glass jars. Works fine! I only had one break in 2 years of storing food this way.

laka

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2016, 07:13:25 AM »
Do be careful with liquids, though. I make stock with leftover carcasses and veggies, and have broken a number of glass canning jars, even when I leave plenty of room at the top. I think you need to use a wide mouthed jar with no taper at the neck and leave the lid off until it's entirely frozen, if possible. 

I did find out that you can recycle ziploc-type bags where you recycle plastic grocery bags (here that's in big boxes at the front of the grocery store).  You need to wash them out first. 

KCM5

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2016, 07:28:20 AM »
Glass jars are a good way to go for a lot of things. My newer wide mouth jars have a line for freezing and I've never had a problem with those breaking. I often freeze soup, beans, pasta sauce, cut up tomatoes - basically the things that other people would can but I'm too lazy to can.

Also freezer paper for meat- not that that creates much less waste.

I also freeze loose things like foraged mushrooms or berries in regular tupperware/plastic containers.

I second MayDay's suggestion to try hunting if you're concerned about the environmental impact of your food choices. I hunted a deer for the first time this year and it was a really satisfying way to feel connected to your meat and know that the animal was well treated. A lot of work, though.

Goldielocks

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2016, 04:42:27 PM »
Do be careful with liquids, though. I make stock with leftover carcasses and veggies, and have broken a number of glass canning jars, even when I leave plenty of room at the top. I think you need to use a wide mouthed jar with no taper at the neck and leave the lid off until it's entirely frozen, if possible. 

I did find out that you can recycle ziploc-type bags where you recycle plastic grocery bags (here that's in big boxes at the front of the grocery store).  You need to wash them out first.

+1  I have broken about 3 mason jars when used for stock, (and more pickle and other lightweight glass jars)...  I have moved on to flexible packaging, even reused yogurt tubs, for stock.

GreenSheep

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Re: Green ways to store bulk frozen foods?
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2016, 07:11:48 PM »
I freeze things in Mason jars all the time, and the only time (so far) I've broken anything was due to a hazard of Mustachianism... having an old fridge/freezer. The plastic "bars" across the door of the freezer that hold things on the shelves gave way, causing a mess of homegrown, homemade marinara sauce and glass all over my kitchen floor. Now I only put plastic bags/containers on the shelves in the door, even though I'm pretty sure it's been adequately fixed.