Most people are living a busy lifestyle these days with work, kids, home and every activity known to man. Keeping your family fed with a good quality meal is important, as you should always try to be as healthy as possible. One great way to have a great meal that doesn’t take up much time is to prepare freezer meals. Your freezer isn’t just the place that houses the ice maker you bought from a company like Shealy-Hodges Corporation. You should utilize it in a way that will allow you to pull from it and put dinner on the table in a relatively timely manner. Here are some great tips on how to keep your freezer organized and keep great meals ready to be instantly heated and eaten.
Prepare Ahead of Time
In order to be able to pull a meal out of your freezer, you must have a day of preparation. Once or twice a month, use a weekend or a few evenings to prepare several meals that you can freeze and eat later in the month. You may even choose to make double portions of a meal one evening, eat half and freeze the other half for later.
When you are freezing a meal, try to freeze it flat in a closable freezer bag. Be sure that the seal is completely closed and lay the bag on its side on the freezer shelf. When it is completely frozen, you can put it on its side (like a book on a bookshelf) or stack it with other flat bags.
Separate into Portions
Before you freeze your food or meal, you may want to freeze it in portions. While the kids may be at a friend’s house, you only need to pull out two servings for dinner. If you are at home for the weekend alone, you only need to pull out a single portion. Be sure to separate chicken breasts, hamburger patties and fish fillets so that you can choose the number of servings to prepare.
Use Containers or Bins as Organizers
Once you’ve frozen several meals or foods, you are going to have to start to stack them. It is important to keep your freezer organized so that you know what you have on hand at any given moment. Get organizing bins and use them to hold all of your frozen bags. Much like magazines in a magazine rack, you can slide them into place and easily pull them out while everything stays neat.
Properly Label Everything
It is important to label everything that you freeze. Once it is frozen and flat, you may not be able to tell what kind of food it is just by looking at it. Label each bag with the ingredients and what the meal is. It may be a good idea to label the bag with cooking directions as well. The date is important to add because after 6 months, most frozen foods lose their freshness.
Keep it Fresh
The freshness of your foods depends on the way you store your frozen items. Use bags that are specifically made for freezing foods. These will allow less freezer burn onto the food. When air can get between the container and the food, more freezer burn will occur. Try to remove all air from bags and containers before freezing them. When using foil, be sure to double wrap each item to ensure freshness.
Items Best Fit for Freezing
Some items will not be any good once frozen. Foods that should never be frozen are dairy products, watermelon, lettuce and other fruits and vegetables that contain a lot of water. Fried foods are not good once they are frozen. Items that are great for the freezer are soups, casseroles, chili, stew, meat, fish, berries, breads, nuts, waffles and pancakes. These are easily frozen and reheated for a delicious meal.