Except you really eat nothing however takeout, there’ll come a time when you will want to make use of your freezer to retailer additional meals. And so simple as it might appear to toss a package deal of rooster or a bath of soup in there to protect its longevity, leftovers can sadly wind up froze or forensically unrecognizable if not frozen correctly.
However it doesn’t should be this fashion. With the fitting containers, you may remodel your freezer right into a frosty wonderland, full of well-preserved elements and ready-to-eat meals. The proper containers will maximize your freezer area and, crucially, shield your meals from freezer burn and peculiar odors. After plenty of trial and error, we’ve realized that these containers work effectively in just about any freezer situation.
For soups, inventory, and different liquidy meals: plastic deli containers
Plastic deli containers are the unsung heroes of the restaurant trade, used for every thing from mid-shift drinks to storing prepped elements. They’re additionally a worthwhile addition to your own home kitchen, within the freezer and elsewhere. They’re nice for freezing soups, stews, and beans as a result of they’re sturdy sufficient to face as much as the icy temperatures of the freezer and are simple to stack in neat rows. Use a everlasting marker to label your containers, and ensure to not overfill them: Liquids increase as they freeze, and an overfilled deli container can crack.
There isn’t a transparent model chief on the subject of deli containers, however there are many totally different choices on Amazon, together with multi-packs with a number of totally different sizes and a hulking pack of fifty pint containers with lids for lower than $20.
For cooked rice, meats, and different “dry” eats: Ziploc freezer baggage
Positive, you can retailer your leftover cooked rice in a deli container, however the humble freezer bag is a way more space-efficient choice. Scoop parts of cooked rice, shredded rooster, or roasted veggies into quart-size baggage, then press them flat to allow them to be simply stacked on the shelf in your freezer. In my expertise, it’s value splurging on the name-brand Ziploc baggage, that are thicker, boast sturdier double zippers, and appear to do a greater job of heading off freezer burn than their generic counterparts.
However for those who merely can’t abdomen the concept of all these Ziplocs ending up within the landfill, Stasher’s reusable silicone stand-up baggage can be found in a number of sizes and performance in the identical approach as Ziplocs. Over time, although, you could discover that they tackle the odors of particularly pungent meals, like garlicky pasta sauce or Spanish rice.
(An essential observe: It’s an unlucky incontrovertible fact that lots of the greatest containers for freezer storage are made out of plastic. Many are additionally billed as single use, however there’s nothing stopping you from rinsing out a deli container or a Ziploc bag and utilizing it once more, as long as it’s in good condition. And, as at all times, recycle when potential.)
When you actually choose glass containers: mason jars
There are a ton of glass freezer containers in the marketplace, however few are extra utilitarian (or cheap) than a superb ol’ mason jar. Mason jars can be utilized to retailer virtually something within the freezer, and they are often reused time and again with out degrading or beginning to scent bizarre. They’re additionally hermetic, which makes them nice for storing meals that profit from being saved within the freezer however shouldn’t be uncovered to moisture, like nuts, espresso, and spices.
That is one other a type of situations the place title model is greatest. Mason jars made by corporations like Ball and Quattro Stagioni are sturdy sufficient to face as much as your freezer’s chilly temperatures — simply bear in mind to make use of jars which are straight sided — however repurposed pasta jars and knockoffs most likely aren’t (they’re extra inclined to thermal shock). Contemplate it an funding in your future meal-planning success.
Marylu E. Herrera (she/her) is a Chicago-based Chicana collage, print media, craft, and fiber artist. Her collage work has been featured within the Minimize, the Los Angeles Instances, Bitch Media, Eater, and Punch.