How To Freeze Food In Glass Containers And JarsSeptember 22, 2020
Freezing is a great way to safely stockpile foods or store meals that you won’t eat right away. You can freeze just about everything: whole ready meals, soups, pizzas, sliced fruit and vegetables, and any baked or cooked homemade meals. Homemade frozen food has saved our lives on many occasions, when there’s no time to cook or we simply don’t feel like it. So what is the best way to freeze foods? The popular plastic freezer bags aren’t the best solution for our environment, but what about glass containers? There are plenty around and they can be reused over and over again. Check out how you can best freeze your foods in glass. It’s easy, healthy and great for our planet!
Glass containers – the Zero Waste solution
Glass jars and containers can be found in every home. After consuming jams, dips, or pickles bought from the supermarket, many people keep the glass containers for reuse. Keeping empty containers is one of the best solutions for reducing the amount of rubbish you produce.
Empty glass bottles or jars can be used to store products that you would usually wrap in foil, plastic, or aluminium. Eventually you can stop relying on the use of cling wrap, aluminium foil or plastic bags, which is a great first step for starting a Zero Waste household.
Glass jars and bottles can also be used to store frozen food, without having to use more plastic and create more rubbish. All you need to do is follow a few simple rules that will make freezing food in glass easy, stress-free, and successful.
Why should you freeze food in glass containers?
Freezing food has many benefits. First of all, it will save you a lot of time. You can cook large quantities of foods, like sauces and soups, and then freeze them for later. When the time comes, you can enjoy ready homemade meals without having to cook from scratch. A lesser known benefit of freezing food is that it can help save you money. How? Because having an empty freezer requires more electricity to run (and therefore money). This is because frozen foods cool the space around them, meaning the foods in your freezer can help keep eachother cold and make the fridge do less work. Ultimately, a freezer full of food uses less electricity.
What are the top benefits of freezing food in glass?
No chemicals involved
In choosing to freeze your foods in glass jars or containers, you can be sure that no chemicals will be absorbed into your food. Some plastic freezer bags and containers contain BPA, PVC, Pthaltates, or hormone disrupting chemicals which can leach into your food. Using glass containers will give you confidence that your food will not contain any additional chemical ingredients that can be harmful for the body.
The best feature of glass containers is that they can be reused over and over again. There’ll be no need for you to buy plastic bags or containers that just end up in the bin after defrosting your meal. By using a glass jar instead, you can simply wash it and use it again without having to create more waste.
Perfect affordable solution
Why spend more money on packaging for your frozen meals when you can simply reuse existing containers you have? Keep the jars after you’ve consumed jams, kimchi, vegemite, or pickles (see how to make your own kimchi and pickles). These are the perfect glass containers for freezing any food you like.
Long lasting packaging
Glass containers can last for ages if you’re careful and can stop them from falling and breaking. Jars don’t scratch easily and won’t absorb any odours if washed properly. They also won’t stain from coloured foods. On top of that, they’re also much easier to wash than plastic and dry quicker.
Great for organised freezer space
Have you ever found something you froze months (or years) ago, and had completely forgotten about until you saw it while cleaning the freezer? Small plastic freezer bags can easily get lost amongst all the frozen bags and foods taking up space. Using glass jars or containers make it easier for you to organise your freezer space and have all the products easily visible, so nothing gets left behind in a dark corner.
Which glass containers should I use?
Any glass jar with a twist off cap can be used for freezing foods. Some types of glass jars can be more sensitive to temperature change, however, so it’s important that they be handled with care. If you’re freezing something hot, like soup, wait for it to cool down before pouring it into the jar. This will stop the glass from breaking because of the temperature shock.
Another great solution is borosilicate glass, which is resistant to fast temperature changes. These jars are also BPA free and totally safe for storing and freezing food.
Jars with wide mouths are another good choice for freezing, as narrower jars can be under a bit of pressure when the liquid expands during freezing. That said, any type of jar will do just fine if you follow our tips about freezing in glass containers.
What can I freeze in glass jars?
Freezing food is not very complicated, and the list of foods you can freeze is pretty long. You can easily freeze fluids like sauces and soups, as well as smaller items like fruits and veggies. Some foods are better portioned or sliced before freezing, it will all depend on you and the size of your glass container. If you’re freezing loose products, you can lay the jar on its side, but with liquids it’s better to keep the jar straight until frozen, then you can place it on its side. OK, so how to freeze different products in a glass?
Fruit and veggies
All fruits and veggies can simply be put in a jar and frozen, but to stop them from turning to mush you can do the following. First lay them on a tray, then put into the freezer. When the fruit has hardened, you can transfer them to your jar or glass container.
Soups and sauces
Liquids will expand during the freezing process, so you always have to be sure to leave enough free space in the jar when freezing liquids. Try to leave around 3-4 cm empty space from the top. It’s also important to make sure you cool the soup or sauce before pouring it into the jar to prevent it from breaking due to temperature change.
When you’re cooking, place your vegetable peels and scraps in a big glass container and freeze it. You can then take it out and add more scraps next time you cook and continue refreezing. Some vegetable scraps you can save include carrot and parsnip peels, and scraps of tomatoes, onion, and broccoli, all of which are great ingredients for making a stock. When you have filled your whole container in the freezer, you can use your frozen veggie scraps to make a flavoursome broth.
Small jam or dip jars are perfect for freezing herbs. If you have a bunch of parsley or dill, cut it up and put into a small jar. Frozen herbs can be added to soups and sauces. You can also freeze lemon or orange zest.
Whether it’s curry or a stir-fry, you can freeze any of your homemade meals. Try to portion the leftover food into smaller meals and place them in a jar, being sure to leave free space for any food that contains liquid.
How do I thaw frozen food in a glass container?
Defrosting food is not too complicated. If the products are loose, like veggies or fruits, you can simply just shake them out of the jar. With liquid foods, however, it is slightly more complicated.
Be aware of temperature changes when defrosting soups or sauces that have been frozen in a glass container or jar. Just like with the freezing process, the same will go the opposite way. You cannot put frozen jars in boiling water. The best way to defrost frozen glass containers is to leave the jar outside or put it in the fridge.
If you need to defrost your food faster, place the jar in warm (not hot) water. After the sides of the jar get a bit warmer, you can transfer the food into a pot and defrost it. This won’t be easy if you’re using jars with shoulders, which is another reason why it’s better to choose wide-mouthed jars for storing liquid foods.
Top tips on how to freeze food in glass
Before you start freezing in glass, read the following tips to make the task much easier and more successful.
- Chill your food before placing it in the freezer. As mentioned before, some glass containers may break when exposed to sudden temperature changes. Additionally, hot dishes will raise the temperature in your freezer compartment, which can thaw other foods and make the freezer use more energy.
- Leave some free space. As mentioned earlier, liquids expand in the freezer. No matter the consistency of your product, if it’s fluid, it will expand after freezing. For that reason, always leave 3-4 cm of free space when storing it in a jar. In doing so the liquid will have enough space to expand and won’t damage the glass container.
- Use the right jars. You can freeze food in glass containers, but make sure you use the right ones. Thin glass can break under pressure or when exposed to temperature changes. The safest option is to use containers made out of borosilicate glass. You can also use the classic pickle jars, just be careful with the temperature changes.
It’s also better to use jars with wide mouths when freezing liquid foods so that the jar doesn’t break when the food expands. Wide-mouthed jars will also make it much easier to thaw the food.
- Never freeze food that has already been defrosted. Freezing thawed food can develop bacteria that makes food go bad. The exceptions are products that are cooked between one and the next freezing. For example, if you turn frozen meat into a ragu sauce, then you can safely freeze it as the bacteria will be killed during cooking.
- Label your frozen food containers. Your kitchen should aim to avoid food waste, whether it’s fresh or frozen. To stop losing and forgetting foods, you should describe your frozen foods well. At first, this may seem like a waste of time. After all, your home freezer is no restaurant coolroom, and you more or less know what’s in it. Or at least you do until it starts to really fill up! Start labelling each frozen food container so that you have no doubts about what’s in it, see how to make your own food labels & stickers on Microsoft Word. On each label, write the name of the product and the date they were frozen. You can try a system with two different coloured markers for your frozen food – one for raw food and one for cooked meals. This will make your freezer well organised so that you don’t waste any food. Everytime you check what’s in your freezer, look at the dates and aim to eat older portions first.
- Get organised. Remember to organise your freezer properly. Always place new frozen foods at the back of the freezer, so that you can reach for the older ones first. This will also help you to plan your meals better – you can just look into the freezer and immediately know what you have.
- Do not freeze food that is old. Freezing will definitely not add freshness to food. It is best to freeze food immediately after it has been prepared and cooled. This way your food will still be fresh and delicious after defrosting. It’s also a good idea to keep track of what’s in your freezer to avoid food staying there for too long.
- Keep your freezer clean. A snow-covered freezer will not work effectively. It will freeze poorly and you will only waste food and electricity. Each freezer works differently, which is why it can be difficult to tell how often it needs to be defrosted (some freezers it on their own). But it’s worth paying attention to whether the walls are covered with snow or not.
- Don’t open your freezer during a blackout. In a sudden power outage, or if your refrigerator breaks, do not open the freezer door. The food you have kept inside should survive perfectly frozen for 24 more hours. By then, you will hopefully have electricity again – or a new freezer.