Freezing Food

My husband was also surprised that I enjoy freezing food because I said that canning food was "too modern" but this is actually an ancient technique from cold parts of the world.

freezing food

For example, the Incas of the South American Andes used freeze dried food as a way to preserve their potato harvest.

More recently (in the past 200 years), my mid-Atlantic ancestors used an "ice house" to keep foods cold in the summer. They cut big blocks of ice from ponds in the winter and stored them in a building with a deep pit in the ground.

The antique version of a refrigerator was a "spring house" built over the spring at the mouth of a creek where crocks of butter and cream could be sat in the cold water.

How to Freeze Food

I like to buy big packages of meat and break them into servings for the freezer. I also freeze muffins, waffles, peas, and homegrown summer corn off the cob.

The meats and baked goods can go into a freezer bags or plastic containers designed for freezer use.

Containers designed for regular storage will usually lose the lid once cold, and that's bad. That's how you end up with leaks and spoiled food.

Foods need to be well-sealed with as little air as possible to avoid freezer burn and the freeze drying effect. Some people like to use a vacuum sealer but I find that a freezer bag and straw works just as well.

Is is possible to freeze in glass canning jars, but I haven't tried it because things typically can fall around in our freezer. Also, with glass you have to worry about temperature shock and leaving space to it has room to expand as it freezes. You also can't keep the extra air out to prevent freezer burn.

Vegetables need to be blanched before packaging for the freezer. That means about 3 minutes in boiling water. For corn, we leave it on the cob and cook it about 10 minutes, then cut it off the cob and freeze it.

Advantages of Freezing Food

Freezing food is the best way to preserve color. If you want the strawberries to stay bright red, use the freezer. It also preserves far more nutrients and is safer than canning.

Disadvantages

The formation of ice crystals can break down the skin on fruits and vegetables, changing the texture. When you thaw those nice red strawberries, put them in a bowl because they will disintegrate and create a puddle!

Some people are worried about what happens to frozen food in a power outage. A big chest freezer that is well-stocked and kept closed can last for at least 3 days. Full freezers are more efficient at staying cold and actually consume less energy.




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