Preserving food by freezing is based on the principle that extreme cold (0°F) halts the activity of microorganisms, enzymes, oxidation, and other changes that cause food spoilage. When preserving foods by the heat treatment method of canning, containers must be hermetically sealed. Although that's not necessary for frozen storage, the packages you use must be airtight, as well as moisture/vaporproof, odorless, tasteless, and greaseproof.
The best package size for you depends on your freezer and your family. Pack food in containers that will take care of your crew for one meal. You can plan on two servings to a pint container; three or four servings from a quart-size. It's quicker to thaw two single pint containers than one large container.
There are two kinds of freezer containers suitable for freezing foods at home — rigid containers and flexible bags or wrappers. Some delicate vegetables like asparagus or broccoli might be damaged if packaged immediately after blanching. To protect them, these vegetables are tray frozen briefly before being packed in freezer containers.
Rigid containers. Rigid containers are best for vegetables or foods that are liquid or don't have a distinct shape. Rigid containers include plastic freezer containers with tight-fitting lids or can-or-freeze jars with wide mouths and tight-fitting lids. Square or rectangular containers use freezer space more efficiently than round containers or those with flared sides or raised bottoms. Freezer containers can be reused. Wash them and their lids in hot suds; then rinse, drain, and cool.
Can-or-freeze jars come in three sizes: 1/2 pint, 1 pint, and 11/2 pints. Plastic freezer boxes come in 1-pint, 11/2-pint, 1-quart, and 2-quart sizes.
Freezer bags and pouches. Bags made from polyethylene or heavy-duty plastic or the new boilable pouches that can be heat-sealed are also good for freezing vegetables. Liquid foods are safest in plastic
bags that are then placed in protective cardboard boxes. Although bags aren't always easy to stack, they're great for tray-frozen vegetables and bulky or odd-shaped items.
Plastic freezer bags come in many sizes: 1 pint, 11/2 pints, 1 quart, 2 quarts, 1 gallon, and 2 gallons you close these bags by pressing out the air, twisting the top and doubling it over, then wrapping the top several times with a twist tie.
Other packaging materials. Never use empty, plastic-coated milk cartons or cottage cheese or ice cream containers for freezing, since these aren't airtight enough to be reused as freezer containers. Lightweight plastic wrap, butcher paper, and waxed paper aren't tough enough to protect food in the freezer, either. Freezer wrap — specially laminated or coated freezer paper, heavy-duty plastic wrap, or heavy-duty aluminum foil — is seldom used for freezing vegetables. Reserve it for meats, fish, game, casseroles, and cakes.
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