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Last Forever Freezer Bags  RSS feed

 
gardener
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Ziplock plastic ones fall apart after a few uses when frozen. I need something I can put produce in and reuse it year after year without it taking up tons of space when empty. Something squishable would be awesome.  Air tight is a necessity since I don't want freezer burn. Something I can label- also important since certain things look alike when frozen. My current system is so broken i had to do the taste test between mint and basil until the basil bag broke in a distinct way.
 
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There's a company called 'smelly proof' that sells thicker plastic ziploc style bags. Ive only ever seen gallon-ish sized ones but I'd bet they make a variety of sizes. I don't really have much experience with them, we bought some wholesale mushroom powders and all the individual quart ziplocs of different varieties came in one large (gallon? seems a bit bigger than that) bag labeled 'smellyproof'. No experience with freezing them but the plastic is thicker, the seems are wider, and the zipper mechanism seems sturdier so that might work.
 
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I have had some success with putting smaller ziploc bags into one larger one (multiple herb bags into one larger bag). Seems like the extra layer of protection helped the bags last longer at least and it doesnt take extra space. Sorry I cant say they last forever!
 
garden master
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I label everything with the name and a date.  Sometimes I use stick on labels, scotch tape, masking tape and/or a marks-a-lot.

I know this is not what you have in mind:  I use glass jar that pickles come in.  This helps recycle the jars.

A lot of folks use butcher paper though I feel it promotes freezer burn.

My husband likes to use FoodSaver vacuum bags.


Here is a product that is Eco friendly:

Available in Quart & Gallon sizes.
Thick, durable bags that help protect food from freezer burn and are also reusable.
Microwaveable (use as directed). When defrosting & reheating, open zipper one inch to vent.
Bags are designed to turn plastic into a material that has a completely different molecular structure that is bio-assimilated in the open environment, similar to the decomposition of a leaf.

http://www.green-n-pack.com/food-bags


They make other Green Products & Packaging

http://www.green-n-pack.com/

 
Amit Enventres
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Thanks! I'd think the pickle jars would get freezer burn because of ther air gap, right?

Do you think maybe those bees wax wraps might work?

The herbs are the hardest because the  bag is repeatedly open and closed. Perhaps I need to leave them in the ice trays... it's just so bulky.
 
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Using jars in the freezer without getting freezer burn: If you have a Foodsaver vacuum sealer that takes attachments, you can get adapters that fit over regular and wide mouth mason jars. I don't know if the adapters would work on other brands or with hand-pumps; the limiting factor would probably only be the diameter of the tubing (I don't know if it's a standard size or something made to their spec).  Foodsaver also makes plastic containers that have the same kind of valve and can be reused pretty much infinitely, too.

 
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Amit,
Why not just air-dry your herbs and store in glass jars?
 
Posts: 28
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Depends on your goal for the produce.  I freeze cooking herbs in ice cube trays with olive oil, then put the frozen cubes in glass containers.  Blanched veggies seem fine frozen in glass with headspace.  Berries frozen first on sheet pans, and peppers and tomatoes prepped are fine frozen in hard sided containers. I roast beets and freeze the same way.  Have never experienced freezer burn.  I dry herbs to be used in tinctures, teas or culinary, then put in mason jars in a cabinet.
 
steward
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Amit, I love your idea of trying to avoid freezer bags that wear out and avoid freezer burn, too!

I'm with Anne in that I use a lot of pickle jars for freezing all kind of food. And for lemon or orange zest, I freeze it in the little 4 oz. jelly mason jars. I usually go through it fast enough that I don't notice any freezer burn.

Frozen lemon zest is a far different flavor than dried, as it is for other herbs, too. I do both - dry and freeze - to preserve citrus zest, but have not frozen other fresh herbs very much.

Over in the Saving on Trash Removal thread we had a discussion on how to freeze home butchered meat without plastic, or without plastic-sided butcher paper. Some recommended going old school with waxed duck (cotton) cloth, leather, mutton cloth, or even old t-shirts.

The waxed duck cloth idea reminds me of your beeswax wraps idea. It's really cool that the beeswax wraps are so readily available now. I suppose if you tied it around the herbs it might stay put and keep the air out. I haven't tried the beeswax wraps myself yet - maybe someone else could chime in on that. For herbs, I think it would be very cool if one could find a waxed cloth bag of some sort, that would seal easily at one end. (Hm...sounds like a business opportunity to me!)

There's also a rich discussion of different food storage methods, including a bit about freezing things, in the Deep Pantry for people who like food thread, including this post with a link to someone's blog post about freezing without plastic.

 
pollinator
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I was just reading about the difficulties with cryogen freezing for humans.  The problem is that the freezing itself destroys the cells.  There is new advancement in this process, because they found that a specific magnetic vibration will stop objects from freezing.  Then, they turn off the magnetic vibration and the item freezes instantly with no cell burst.  Maybe this procedure will make it to the consumer level someday.
 
Anne Miller
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Here is another alternative that I found:

https://www.amazon.com/1-Liter-Reusable-Silicone-Storage-Versatile/dp/B01AE6N72W/ref=as_

Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bag


 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Anne Miller wrote:Here is another alternative that I found:

https://www.amazon.com/1-Liter-Reusable-Silicone-Storage-Versatile/dp/B01AE6N72W/ref=as_

Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bag



Anne, I think you are a brilliant Googler. Nice find!!
 
pollinator
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For some of my freezing, I have labeled freezer bags that I reuse that stock scraps, and when empty they just get tucked behind other things in the freezer for the next use. This way I don't have to worry about total cleanliness or permeated flavors.

For herbs, my two favorite ways to preserve are compound butters which are first wrapped in either plastic wrap or parchment paper, then a freezer bag - which I reuse for years. Or herb logs, where I use a quart bag to form a log of fresh herbs, and when frozen I transfer the log to a gallon bag, and keep the quart bag with it for the next log. I find these to get much less freezer burn then ice cube herbs.

While, none of these last forever, it does extend the life substantially.
 
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Interesting thread!

Stacey I'm trying to picture what you are using as an example and I'm having a little trouble. Is it possible that you can take pictures of the process especially of the freezer logs so my visual brain can get a grasp on it it? sounds like something I can use. Do you freeze them in portion sizes as you would use for another recipe or do you break off pieces of the log?

I'm really appreciating getting ideas! I keep trying different things but have not settled on a good plan of action yet.
 
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Would love for everyone to make fully informed choices.

Beeswax contains the pesticides that the bees have come in contact with while out and about. The vast majority of beekeepers use pesticides, fungicides and antibiotics IN their hives. I know of no way to purify the beeswax. My grandma used to spread the beeswax and honey on her toast. I used to chew comb honey as a child. I wouldn't recommend it anymore.

Beeswax candles are emitting pesticides when you burn them.

Beeswax impregnated cloth are leaching pesticides.
 
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John Duffy wrote:Amit,
Why not just air-dry your herbs and store in glass jars?




John, I don't see that anyone really addressed your question. Some herbs do well with air drying meaning they maintain their great flavors or even become more potent. Others do not. Specifically chives, parsley, and cilantro. When dried these three really become flavorless.

I really appreciated everyone's input here. I've been grappling with this same questions myself, and I'm yet to find a completely satisfactory answer. I've just settled for re-using labeled plastic bags long past the point of being air tight. Mostly I choose the plastic bags because they use less space than jars, which remain the same size while the contents are slowly whittled away. I also wanted to say I don't bother with the ice cube tray and olive oil, finding if I chop the herbs and just throw them in the bag they freeze fine and it allows me infinite choice in how much I can take and use. I've never had it freeze so hard or solid that I couldn't easily break the lump apart and take just a pinch if I wanted. Lastly I always end up finishing the herbs off within a year, usually less, as I prefer to use the herbs fresh in the summer when I have that choice, so any freezer burn is really limited by that.

My only qualm with my current system is that I don't like storing anything in plastic.

I really like the idea of waxed, zippered bags! Someone need to make and sell them. Even if the zipper is plastic it would be way better. I would definitely buy them.
 
pollinator
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There are certainly some great ideas here. So much depends on exactly what you're freezing and how you intend to use it afterward.

I mostly dry my herbs, but I do home squeeze and freeze lemon juice to avoid sulfites that pre-squeezed juice tends to contain. I marked the side of an ice-cube tray at the "1 tablespoon" height, freeze the juice, and then stack the little cubes in a reusable plastic container. Sometimes these are containers I've adopted from people who bought pre-packaged food in them, but otherwise, I try to score Tupperware from the thrift shop. I refuse to buy cheaper brands of reusable plastic containers as they simply don't last long enough. Most of my Tupperware is 20 to 30 years old and only a few pieces have failed. That said, in my experience *all* plastic eventually gets brittle and breaks. (see the discussion on this thread https://permies.com/t/84355/Plastic#699756)

Some things that I currently freeze in plastic bags are in a heavy duty bag which I roll up to remove most of the air and then stick a rubber band around them. The band is an interesting science experiment as it warms up! I normally keep baked garlic cloves, sweet pepper strips and ginger root this way. These are things I want to be able to use small quantities of on an intermittent basis.

The quality freezer bags are thicker and expensive, so I often will freeze servings of veggies like blanched green beans just in sandwich bags that are gathered into a larger heavy duty bag. The heavy outer bag seems to help preserve quality and also is less likely to get punctured.

I've had bad experiences with putting glass in freezers and know several others who similarly had problems. Any liquid that collects at the bottom can freeze and knock the bottom of the jar off (this has happened twice with re-used jars, but proper canning jars with a good taper  would be safer. I've got several brands - some are obviously tapered and some not so much.) Glass contained on a door shelf would also be safer but glass is slippery and one friend broke a toe knocking a glass jar out of her freezer.

I have used glass jars to hold dried food and sometimes cut a circle of plastic from an old bag and set it on top of the contents to slow its contact with air. The above ideas involving beeswax would do this job I expect. I like that idea of using old cotton T-shirts to home-produce this product!

Ann Miller's find is very interesting. Does anyone have a read on whether there are any hidden health issues with silicon? It wouldn't be the first time that something considered the latest and the greatest (think Teflon) was later found to have issues.
 
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Amit Enventres wrote:Thanks! I'd think the pickle jars would get freezer burn because of ther air gap, right?

Do you think maybe those bees wax wraps might work?

The herbs are the hardest because the  bag is repeatedly open and closed. Perhaps I need to leave them in the ice trays... it's just so bulky.



Amit, I'm with you on bulky - my freezer is jammed so I try to find alternate solutions too. So far,
I have the beeswax wraps, and they are a substitute for saran wrap. You soften the beeswax a little with the warmth of your hands and mold it onto the bowl or around whatever item you're covering. They're nice, and I'm glad I have them but I use a giant commercial roll of cling wrap from Sam's for most things. If you're freezing your herbs, the beeswax will freeze hard. That won't work.
I have the silicone rubber reusable Ziploc-esque bags as well. They remind me of cosmetic bags. I find them VERY hard to zip shut, so I don't use them very often. They do stain - I put carrots in them and found that out. Very sturdy and washable but drying is the same as trying to dry out a washed Ziploc - hang and dry, turn inside out, hang and dry....but I do it. I go through bags like crazy and I hate it. I'm always looking for a reusable way.
What about stackable tupperware type containers? I'm not sure how you'd get rid of the air gap, but it might not be necessary. It doesn't help with your bulky issue, though. I don't dry herbs, so I should shut up about it.

But I won't...I make my dog's food, and it's raw. My system is to weigh out a day's worth, wrap it with that commercial (cheap) cling wrap, and throw the lot into a big freezer Ziploc. I reuse those, because they don't get dirty and I wrote "Emmet's food" on them. So maybe try something similar? Wrap the herbs up tightly envelope-style, you could even tape it and write the dates on that and store in a ziploc squishing out all the air. Maybe make little packets based on how much you might use at one time....that's my two cents.
 
Stacy Witscher
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Carma - So I fill a quart bag about 1/2 full, then scrunch, squeeze and roll the herb leaves into a log inside the bag, squeeze as much air as possible out of the bag without losing the log shape, seal bag, roll, and secure with rubber bands. When frozen, you can remove the log from the quart bag, put it in a gallon bag, and save the quart bag in the gallon bag for the next roll. I like this technique for basil, parsley and dill. To use, slice pieces off the log with a sharp and/or serrated knife.

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An alternative to freezer bags is good old glass mason jars.  I've been using them for years with great results.
 
Amit Enventres
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Anne Miller wrote:Here is another alternative that I found:

https://www.amazon.com/1-Liter-Reusable-Silicone-Storage-Versatile/dp/B01AE6N72W/ref=as_

Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bag




Thanks all! I'm loving this discussion and learning a lot.

I looked into these bags, but what ended my interest is that zipper air lock comes off. We have trouble with things getting lost here and I can see that disappearing.

I did some more Amazoning and I found something interesting. https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B078GQFFN5/ref=sspa_mw_detail_1?psc=1

Still not perfect, unless the herbs are loose instead of blocks.  Perhaps also the silicone push pops will work too in that case?  I'm thinking I'd need a color not confused as popsicles if I do that.

I'm curious on the freezer burn thing now- I froze my herbs with water and they are freezer burned, but you can't really tell when they are cooked up,  I think. There's enough not burned goodness in each cube still.  Perhaps the oil acts as a freezer burn barrier?

As for silicone being the next bad thing, who knows. If frozen, I feel like there's less transfer of bad stuff, but maybe it's all in my head. They are food grade though, for whatever weight that holds. 

I should add to this food discussion that I do use, for my daughter's lunches,  the bag in container method of freezer storage and the bags in the plastic container are cloth that go in the wash,  but they are short timers in the freezer section,  so freezer burn isn't an issue.  Though now I wonder if oil prevents freezer burn this could work for about everything.
 
William Wallace
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Don't forget the tried and true method of shoving a straw in the bag, and sucking out all of the air.  This is one of the cheapest methods.
 
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