There are multiple ways in preparing food for the freezer. I quickly mentioned a few in the article Containers for Freezing Food. Those and more techniques will be in this article and I will include a few photos for illustration.
The easiest procedure and the one I use the most is putting the food in glass containers that have the four tabs on their plastic lids. These snap and give an airtight seal. My containers have been used numerous times and I see no end to their life.
Glass canning jars are equally easy. You just need to remember to leave 1" to 1-½" of space between the liquid and the lid. Liquid expands and will have a higher level after it has frozen. I have only seen wide mouth jars marked as freezer jars and never in the large quart size.
Many firm items can be frozen without a covering and then within 1 to 10 hours put into freezer bags. Items such as bean patties, berries and certain sweets like truffles. You lay them out, without touching, on a cookie sheet and then slide the tray into the freezer until solid. This allows them to freeze without sticking together. You might have to use a spatula to pop them off the cookie sheet but they come off very easily. Pop them in a freezer bag and they are done.
Sometimes I like to wrap my items individually with saran wrap. When I am finished I place the group in a freezer bag or rigid sided plastic container with a lid. Just another option for when I am running low on my glass containers.
Casseroles come next. They can also be frozen in the glass containers with airtight lids - as is. When I am running low on containers I will go to the little extra work to freeze in saran wrap and freezer foil. First I line the container with foil so that all corners are covered. Then I do the same thing on top of the foil. I put my casserole in the prepared dish just as I would normally. Fold all the sides in with the saran wrap first and then the foil. Label the foil clearly and slide into the freezer. After the casserole is solid - remove it from the glass dish and put the wrapped casserole back into the freezer.
When you want to use this casserole, remove all the wrapping. Then slide it back into the original casserole dish to defrost. Bake when defrosted as directed.
Another way that I have adopted for casseroles is is to make two long handles with aluminum foil. The way you do this is to take a long strip of foil that is about twice as long as your casserole dish. Fold it over many times so it is one long, many-layered strip. Lay this in your casserole dish down the middle. make your casserole as you normally would. Put this in the freezer to harden. When the food is solid take the dish out of the freezer. Use the 'handles' made of foil to carefully remove the food from the dish. Now pack this in a freezer bag, label and replace in the freezer. Now you have your casserole dish back.
The bottom center casserole, Chicken (soy) Tettrazini is in a casserole dish that does not have a tight-fitting lid so I slide the whole thing in a freezer bag.
Lastly, don't forget to label the items. It makes life so much easier. I use freezer tape and sometimes I write on the freezer bag with a permanent marker.
As you can see you can find an option for every situation in preparing food for the freezer. It is so rewarding to open your freezer and have food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks just waiting for you.
Click on any of the links below for the nitty gritty of freezing:
- How Do You Freeze ...
- Containers for Freezing Food
- To Freeze or Not to Freeze
- Freezer Storage Time
- Preparing Food for the Freezer (this is the page you are on)
- Blanching Vegetables
- Stocking the Freezer
- Food Freezing Tips