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another easy way to fill zip locks,I use this method when making deviled eggs, Roll top down one turn of zip lock and then fill, any dribbles are now on inside top of bag, then you also dont overfill! then flip zipper potion back up and squeeze out air and zip!
Such a great tip Diana, thank you!
can cooked hamburger , pasta , tomato, type of soup be frozen?
Hi, Iesa! If possible, I’d leave the pasta out of the portion you want to freeze. Cook it fresh and stir it into the soup when you reheat. I have frozen soups with pasta before (and it’s fine to do in a pinch so you don’t waste the soup!), but the pasta turns quite mushy and semi-dissolves into the soup when you reheat it. It still tastes great and is fine to eat, but isn’t quite as appealing!
Great tips! I freeze soups a lot, as well as beans and grains separately so I can stir them into soups later. I have noticed that the bean soups break down some after frozen, but I don’t mind since I like them creamy.
Great article! Another way to avoid a mess is to cool your soups in quart jars, then when it comes time to fill the Ziploc, you can just put the opening to the bag over the top of your jar, turn the jar over, and no mess as the soup drains into the bag.
Are you sure it’s safe to microwave food in plastic bags?
If you set the frozen bag flat on your jelly roll pan and leave it out for a few minutes it will thaw pretty quickly.
Hi, Rob! Check the bags that you’re using. Most name-brand freezer bags (like Ziploc) are safe for microwaving. I usually only microwave enough to thaw the edges and wiggle the block of frozen soup out of the bag.
Even if you have properly stored pre-cooked baked beans in the freezer, check the taste, texture, and odor before eating them. If they are no longer good, just throw them away.
I always defrost by putting the frozen bagged items in a bowl of cold water and then wait for a few hours. This method keeps the product at a safe temperature while defrosting and saves room in your refrigerator.
has anyone just thought about putting a pot of water on to boil and putting the freezer bag with the contents, such as soup, in the boiling water to heat up…in the old days like the 60’s or 70’s there was a company that made boil in the bag meals
when I fill a zip lock bag with leftovers of any kind, i always turn/fold the top of the bag down, it helps keep the outside of the bag cleaner from spills & the zip lock area clean of food
What a great idea! Sometimes the simple things are best….freeze flat!
I’ve been doing this with ground beef for years!!! I buy it when it’s on sale and stock up. I divide it into 1 lb. servings, use a rolling pin to flatten it out, seal it, label it date it and freeze flat. When I want to cook it, I fill my kitchen sink with hot water, drop in the frozen bag and in about 5 minutes the meat is thawed and I can use it to cook. I used to thaw the meat in the microwave in a block and hated how the edges got all grey and the center was still raw and frozen, DISGUSTING! This method works great! Especially for people like me who don’t always remember to put frozen meat in the fridge overnight to thaw.
Thanks for this helpful info on flat freezing. It has worked like a charm many years. Sharing is helpful and fun!
An extra hint on freezing homemade stocks; freeze a thin bag of stock that you can smack on the corner of the cutting board to have smaller pieces for when you only need a couple of tablespoons of stock. The popular hint for this is to freeze in ice cube trays and pop them out to put in a freezer bag. That’s a bit too fussy for me and I don’t even have cube trays.
When freezing larger amounts of cooked dry beans or soups and similar cooked foods I always smoothe the top of the contents in a freezer safe dish (like Pyrex), I gently poor a thin layer of water over the surface. It’s necessary to freeze flat for the ice to form evenly. This is a barrier to the dreaded freezer burn flavor that can ruin the dish. When you are ready to thaw, just rinse off the surface of the ice layer and presto! No icky freezer burn taste.
I do freeze this way in Zip lock bags, such a space saver. However, I don’t thaw by putting the frozen food in the microwave as I was under the impression that any plastic shouldn’t be put in the microwave.
Check the brand you use. Many (maybe even most?) plastic containers and bags are now approved as microwave safe.
Check Amazon for the Jokari Hands-Free Baggy Rack Storage Bag Holder. It works so well for filling ziplock bags!
Food saver system is the best overall way to freeze any thing..Re-usable bag always cut 1/3 larger than you need in order to cut open&then reseal. One yr later just as fresh..meats seafood veg et al
The canning funnel works best. The freezer bag will comfortably hold 4 cups without overflowing. In lieu of the funnel, fold the top part of the bag (with the interlocking grooves) inside out. The bag now holds itself open. Place in a bowl or oversized cup with straight sides that holds it snugly (I find the 4 cup measuring cup too wide in diameter). Fill with up to 4 cups of your “stuff”. Unfold the top of the bag and evacuate as much air as possible while zipping locked shut. Hope this helps.
This method also works well for storing ground meat in the freezer. A quart bag will hold about 1/2 pound of meat and the gallon size will hold 1 1/2 pounds. Put your measured quantity of meat in the bag and press the meat flat with your fingers into a rectangular shape. Then use a small cutting board to press it into a smooth flat package. I go a step further and use my sharpening steel to press down on the flatened meat and divide it into approximate 1/4 pound portions before freezing. That way I can use one portion or the the whole pound. (Two or three 20 second bursts in the microwave will defrost the single portions for use.)
Turn the top of the bag inside out and it won’t fall over and stays open. Rarely gets food on the zip part.
I have been doing it this way for years, now. Glad to hear someone else does it too.
The other thing I do is cook a lot of chopped onion (I can get 3 lbs of already chopped for about $3 locally) and celery, then line a jelly roll pan with wax paper, spread out the cooked onion and celery, cover it with a sheet of wax paper and freeze it. When frozen I break it up into large pieces and put in a freezer bag. I also do this with hamburger, using some of the already cooked, before freezing, onion and celery. Cook the hamburger, drain, add the cooked vegetables, stir. And then I do the same freeze and breaking up as the onions and celery. There are just the two of us at home now and it really makes it easy to get dinner on the table.
ooohh! I never thought of freezing cooked onion/celery. There is 1 of me and I rarely need a whole onion. Thanks, Bonnie Baker Lippincott!!
When you freeze raw onions it converts the sugars and you get a different result when cooked. My friend would chop and freeze her “trinity” one day and complete making the gumbo the next. When the roux is just right you can stop it going too dark by throwing in the vegies. It can be a bit of a violent reaction so use caution regarding spattering hot oil .
I’m curious if you reuse the freezer bags after the first use? I do not — I’ve always assumed the seals would give way and leak the second or subsequent times. I also generally end up cutting the bag off the frozen block of whatever b/c I’m in a hurry!
I usually reuse the bags for other, everyday things or for freezing non-liquids (like berries or vegetables). I agree with you — I’m less confident of the seals after the first time!
How do you clean the bag to reuse? I would be afraid of contamination.
I usually just flip the bags inside out and scrub with soap and water using a dish rag or sponge. Let them air dry inside-out in a dish rack. I rarely freeze raw meat (and I throw away those bags if I do). Cross contamination or bacteria growth is far less of a concern with cooked foods as long as you’re doing a good job of cleaning the bags after use.