This is a guest post by Ana Brady. If you want to guest post on this blog, see the guidelines here.
Sometimes it goes a long way to realizing how much money we waste on food when we keep our freezers and pantries cluttered. A messy kitchen hides food items we don’t even know we have, and by the time we find them, the expiration date has already passed. And we paid money for all that food… We keep buying things, putting them in some dark and unexplored depth of the freezer or pantry, and finding them when it’s too late.
Keeping your kitchen tidy is part of what it takes to store food properly and save money, or better yet, not waste money.
Another thing you should not ignore is: food packaging. If you don’t want your food to go bad in the freezer, it’s really important to consider the packaging. Here are some options:
- Freezer bags
- Freezer paper
- Plastic containers
- Freezer aluminum foil
- Freezer aluminum dishes
- Freezer glass jars
Freezer bags they are made of a high density plastic material called polyethylene. You can store almost anything in them, but they are the best for those materials that you can shape as you want. For example, they are good for storing ground meat, because you can combine it and keep it in the freezer occupying little space.
Freezer paper it is not a usual kind of paper; it is thicker, covered in plastic and often used for wrapping meat. You can also use it to wrap any dry food you want. The same thing goes for freezer aluminum foil. The only thing you have to worry about when using foil is wrapping acidic fruit in it. Sometimes the acids in the fruit can have a reaction to the foil, which can cause changes in the taste of the fruit. For fruit it is better to use freezer paper, or some other type of packaging.
Plastic containers they are an excellent choice for food storage because they are reusable, and you can store anything in them, from liquids to veggies, fruit and dessert. They come in all sizes and shapes, and you can also find them in different colors (or at least with different colored lids).
Freezer aluminum dishes they are great for home cooked meals. You can cook the meal in the aluminum dish, let it cool and then pack it in the freezer. These dishes can withstand both freezing and very hot conditions, so you can also put them in the oven to reheat your meal once it’s defrosted. They also come in different sizes and shapes, and can be reused.
Freezer glass jars they are different from regular jars that split and break easily in the freezer. These jars are unbreakable, and you can store liquids in them. Be sure not to pour the liquid to the top, as liquids expand in cold weather.
One thing all these containers, bags and leaflets have in common is that they do not split or fall in the freezer, and preserve your food. Of course, this requires some of your help – you need to make sure NO air gets into any of these food containers and wrappers. If it does, it dehydrates the food and leaves it tasteless, colorless, nutrient-less and inedible.
Once you know what type of food packaging best serves your food, you need to figure out what type of labels you need. Your food items definitely need to be labeled, so you know what you have in there, and how much time you have to use it.
Food stickers can be made from:
For food stored in the pantry, it doesn’t matter if these labels can withstand cold temperatures, but for food in the freezer you need to make sure you’re using freezer labels that won’t tear or fall off.
Vinyl, polyester and polypropylene are more durable, and paper is cheaper. For food, though, coated paper is a good enough choice. The most important thing to consider when it comes to food packaging labels is their adhesiveness. For freezer food labels you really need a strong permanent label adhesivewhile for containers, jars and bags that you store in the pantry, you can use reusable stickers.
Ana Brady is a writer and mother of two. She blogs about food, family and health related issues. She works on a project on food packaging labels at Foodpackaginglabels.net.