My first attempt at learning to freeze food without using plastic was about 6 years ago while we lived in Florida. I poured homemade hot sauce into glass bottles and stuck them in the freezer. That was a bad idea. A few hours later I heard this loud explosion and opened my freezer to find hot sauce splattered everywhere. It was a mess and I was scared to put glass in the freezer after that. I eventually learned that I had simply overfilled the bottles. There was no room for the liquid to expand which resulted in a hot sauce bomb. I’ve never made that mistake again. I also learned not to assume that everything is freezer-safe and to actually do a little research into my options before trying to freeze food.
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As Brandon and I move further into personal sustainability and minimizing our impact on the wild world around us one of my top priorities has been to eliminate plastic wherever possible. One of the easiest places for us is in the kitchen, or at least the freezer. Like a lot of people, we used plastic storage bags and plastic storage containers but we’ve moved toward freezer-safe glass and metal instead.
When you’re making the change to non-plastic freezer storage it’s important to know that not all glass containers are freezer safe. Most are but if the glass is too thin it could explode in the freezer. That mostly applies only to jars and bottles because anything oven-safe (like a casserole dish) should also be freezer-safe. The safety label on the item should specify whether or not it’s freezer-safe so just give it a quick glance before popping it in to the freezer full of food or sauce. To avoid an explosion like my hot sauce mess, be sure to leave at least an inch of room between the food / sauce and the top of the jar, bottle, or dish.
These are my favorite non-plastic freezer-safe items for food storage:
- Pyrex glass bakeware set with lids – These do actually have plastic lids but sometimes these transitions require baby steps. This set contains minimal plastic, great variety of sizes, and are freezer-safe (confirmed by Pyrex). As long as you let them warm to near room-temperature first, you can put them straight in the oven. Be careful about going straight from the freezer to the oven because a sudden dramatic temperature change can break the glass.
- Glasslock storage container set – Ok, so the same thing sort of applies with the lids but these are actually silicon and confirmed to be both BPA-free and freezer-safe.
- Ball wide-mouth glass jars – I prefer the 1/2 gallon jars for freezer storage but you can use any size you’d like as long as you get the wide mouth glass jars. I spoke to representatives at Ball and they confirmed they are freezer-safe. Just be sure you leave at least 1-inch of head space before putting the lid on. If you don’t, you’re likely to get an explosion in the freezer.
- Uncoated Butcher paper – I use this uncoated butcher paper to wrap all sorts of meat and fish in my freezer. My husband is vegetarian so any meat I buy is only for me and visitors. It usually lasts for 2 – 3 weeks with a single wrapping. If you’re going to store it for longer than that you should either triple wrap it or use a wax butcher paper I’ve never had a problem keeping meat, fish, burgers, and even veggie burger patties safely stored in the freezer when wrapped in this paper. Just wrap it up tight and seal it with freezer tape. I recommend using the Duck brand freezer type you can find here because it’s the only kind I’ve used that didn’t come off in the freezer.
Do you have any other tips to help freeze food without using plastic? Tweet me @ashleyfromhp or share them below. Don’t forget to pin this to your boards!