Food Preservation: Freezing

Food Preservation: Freezing

When someone hears “freezing food” – they probably think ok so what? This is easy. Just drop it in the freezer, right? 
Maybe. But if you take a few minutes to learn some tips before you start freezing food, you may have better results. 

This week on The Wayward Homesteaders Podcast, Missy and I talk about freezing food and what you should know. Maybe you’ve been freezing for years, but you still might learn a few things!

Food Preservation: Freezing

Food Preservation: Freezing – What can I freeze? 

Some of our favorite foods to freeze are sweet corn, blueberries, meat, bananas, and strawberries. We love to put frozen fruit into the Vitamix and make smoothies through the summer. Sweet corn is something we buy locally from our farmer down the road, and we freeze in quart bags every summer. Meat is of course the most popular food we freeze, so let’s dig into freezing meat. 

We buy almost all of our meat in bulk from farmers, or we grow it ourselves. We most recently bought a quarter of bison from a farmer near us, and we bought a pig from a friend last year. This year we are Raising Meat Turkeys again – check out our YouTube video about how easy raising turkeys can be in even small yards and on small homesteads. We are also raising meat chickens, and we are getting into heritage breed turkeys for meat. 

We do not do our own butchering at this point, so when these birds come back from the butcher, I will need freezer space. We should have about 40-50 birds in our freezer by fall, so having chest freezers is essential for us. We will drop these birds in the freezer in large bags until we are ready to process them, whether we smoke them, or just use as is. 

Even if you buy meat from the grocery store, it’s still beneficial to have a chest or upright freezer. You can buy meat on sale, you can watch FlashFood, if that’s local to your area, or you can go to your local butcher and possibly buy in bulk. Check out my blog on FlashFood to investigate what it’s all about! We love FlashFood, and we find great deals on there often. 

When you buy meat at the grocery store, you may want to consider vacuum sealing it. We love our Food Saver brand vacuum sealer. (Any affiliate links in this blog may earn me a small commission). Vacuum sealing food can help preserve color, freshness, and texture. You can freeze vacuum seal bags of say blueberries flat, and this will help you keep the freezer organized and not waste space. 

We also freeze foods like butter, whether homemade or store-bought, and we do like to keep a couple half gallons of milk in the freezer for emergencies. If we get a big snow storm or something, it’s nice to have some milk available, especially if our dairy goats aren’t in milk. Don’t forget to leave about an inch of headspace for any liquids in bottles or jars. 

As you heard in the podcast, Missy likes to freeze dough she makes for bread. This is genius. Bread already baked does not freeze well, in our opinion, and freezing the dough so that it only has to rise is genius!

We keep gallon ziplocs in our fridge freezer in the kitchen for scraps to make bone broth, too. So we have a bag for onions/carrots/celery scraps, and there are bags for different types of meat – chicken, red meat, etc – so that we can pressure can bone broth as we fill bags! 

We do not freeze things like cream soups, cucumbers, or cooked pasta. 

Food Preservation: Freezing

Food Preservation: Freezing – What can I freeze in? 

Our preferred way to freeze is in quart zip top bags. I always buy name brand, zip top freezer bags. I just don’t trust the ones that are only labeled for “storage” or that aren’t name brand. We’ve always had great success with this method. They don’t tear easily, and they keep food fairly safe. 

Did you know that freezer burn usually starts because food was stored before it completely cooled? Missy shared this in the podcast, and it’s such an easy “fix” for your freezing problems! 

You can freeze in multiple containers, if you prefer something that’s reusable. There are plastic containers and mason jars that work well. We don’t personally use plastic containers. I feel like they crack very easily. Mason jars work super well, but you had to allow the headspace allowance of at least an inch. We do not use mason jars much, except sometimes for juice, as they are usually taken up by canned goods on the shelf. 

If you are freezing things like bread dough or butter, we typically wrap it in parchment paper before dropping into a bag. This isn’t necessary, but it does tend to keep it a little nicer. 

Food Preservation: Freezing

Food Preservation: Freezing – Why Should I Freeze Food? 

Freezing food offers a back up to your other food stores, and it’s a great gateway into food storage. 
I often talk about diversifying your food stores. As in, don’t can everything, don’t freeze dry everything, don’t dehydrate everything, don’t freeze everything. If your power goes out, you may lose your frozen food. If your canning shelf falls, you will lose your canned goods. If a rodent gets into your freeze dried food, you may find holes in your mylar bags. 
So – diversifying food storage for food security matters. It’s important to have a variety of foods stored, as well as having them stored in many ways. 
If you’re just getting into preserving food, then freezing is a great option. It’s not expensive, and it’s relatively quick compared to freeze dryingdehydrating or canning. 
 
Food Preservation: Freezing

Food Preservation: Learn Various Ways to Store Your Food

If you’re looking for ways to preserve food, check out The Wayward Homesteaders podcast. We have a 5 part series about food preservation. The first 3 episodes are up as of the time of this post, and the last 2 will be up in the next 2 weeks. Learn about dehydrating/drying, freeze drying, freezing, water bath canning, and pressure canning. 

As always, Missy and I are available for your questions at www.chapelhillforge.com (chapelhillforge@gmail.com) and www.homesteadingroots.com (homesteadingroots@gmail.com). We love chatting food preservation, and we are happy to help you get started with your journey towards food security! 

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