Question on Food Storage

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    easy child and I are going to teach ourselves how to can. If we get into too huge of trouble with it we can call in Nichole's husband's grandmother and aunt to help us with it. (I'll just treat them to a big meal or something)

    But I know I've also heard people talk about freezing things for long term storage too. husband and sister in law are going to fetch my new freezer tomorrow. I can find all sorts of fruits and veggies on sale right now as they come into season for really cheap. Most we'll try to can. But some I wanted to try to freeze as well. And it would be cool if I could freeze my veggie soup and beef stew too, even though I plan to can it as well.

    What types of containers do you use? Just freezer bags? (obviously not for the soup or stew though)

    When freezing fresh fruits and veggies.........anything special I should do to them, especially the veggies? Cuz I remember mother in law saying something about "blanching" veggies but I have no clue wth that means.

    If I"m gonna freeze them, I want to make sure I'm putting them into the right container. I don't want it going bad in the freezer and wasting the money I spent on them. I just don't have it to waste.
  2. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

  3. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Thanks HaoZi !!

    That site was a wealth of information! And now I know how to "blanch" veggies.............I also like their info on raised veggie gardens too.
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Freezing is wonderful if you have the room. I would blanch the veggies (dunk them in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes then put them straight into ice water to stop the cooking) if they are the type that need it. It can be a pain, but it is well worth the effort. After blanching you need to get them to be pretty much dried off. Then freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Once they are frozen (6-24 hrs depending), put them into a freezer bag or container. consider getting a vacuum sealer - check garage sales. For some things they make a huge difference in freezing.

    One super helpful tip for freezing is to take the plastic bag that cereal come in, the one inside the box, and wipe it clean. Then store it until you are going to freeze and use that to line the cookie sheet. It is strong and nothing will stick to it as long as the food is pretty dry. I don't know why, but it works a LOT better than regular plastic wrap.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Hi, Lisa -

    Way to go on getting that 'preservation' bug!

    Freezer storage containers... never, ever use glass - it has to be plastic.
    I've only had success going one of two ways... unless you want to spend lots of money doing this (I thought not)
    1) you can re-use the hard plastic containers that frozen fruit comes in
    2) freezer bags - these are way thicker than sandwich and fridge-storage bags
    3) for the record - the expensive way is to purchase specialized plastic containers for freezing

    You have to get all the air out before you seal the container, or you get freezer burn. If you want to freeze in one-use portions, use smaller bags. Advantage: you can then pack these bags together tightly into a larger freezer bag - helps heep them together, and helps protect from freezer burn.

    Cooked stuff freezes fairly well, unless it has starchy veggies (potatoes etc.). We freeze Chili with no issues (6 months+)

    Canning anything with MEAT is higher risk, and requires a pressure canner, which is way harder to use, and has some risk (i.e. blowing its top through the roof) if you don't know what you're doing... so we don't can meat, fish, etc. mother in law does - but she knows how to work a pressure canner.

    Veggies, fruit, and juices are all safe in a boiling-water canner.
    Some things come out just like store-bought - like apple sauce.
    Other things are so much better home-canned, that you'll never buy the store product again. (For one, canned peaches.)
    And some things? I just can't get to work - gave up trying to can berries, they work better in the freezer.

    Oh, yes, that reminds me - berries don't need blanching but you still freeze in single layer.
    Line the cookie tray with wax paper - way better than plastic.

    Home-canned items are best stored in a dark room, ideally a cooler spot like the basement or specifically a cold room (insulated off from the rest of the house and not heated, so it is cooled by the basement walls).
  6. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I like the site have everything from finding a farm to canning the fruits/veggies.

    Hubby just bought me a canning kit, with the rack, jar grabber, tongs, etc. which was great because I'd been making do with what I had.

    Also, I have a pdf on building raised vegetable beds, if you're interested, let me know and I'll e-mail it to you.
  7. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I love the site KT posted. I use it frequently and recipes are great. I only took up canning last summer and had a great experience with it.
  8. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    What is a "boiling water canner"??

    I used to use my mom's pressure cooker before I got married. (tells you how long ago it was) She used it for her blackberry jelly/jam but also cooked everything else known to man in it. lol I figure if my mom, who honestly is far from having any skill in cooking at all, can learn then I can too. The woman can bake like wonderful.......cook? blech

    So I hope the newer versions aren't that much different. easy child and mine just arrived at her house along with the new cast iron dutch oven we bought. If they are too complicated and she can't help me figure it out, I'll send the darn thing back for what it cost me.

    *claps hands* ohhhhh goody. I gots lots of people I can ask for advice from. Yay! (I'll probably need it lol)

    I got the dark cool room part covered and so does easy child. We've both got good basements.

    And while produce is popping up on sale, I also plan to try lots that I've never tried before. Like zucchini (omg I spelled it right!!) egg plant.......still not overly excited about turnips or beets though......but who knows, I may turn out liking the darn things. lol

    Ohhh, and does any one have any good way of cooking southern greens like kale and mustard? Had a neighbor once who omg would cook up a batch and have me drooling. I lost her way of cooking them ages ago. But would love to see if I can find a recipe (I say recipe but I think she just boiled them and added some things to it) that is somewhat similar to hers, or good by itself.

    And yes, I'm trying to find cheap ways to fill out our diet. lol
  9. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    You need some kind of a rack to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pan while the water's boiling, or they could shatter. The kit Hubby got me was about $30 at Target. Using the big spaghetti pan made me nervous that the jars would break. Boiling water canning is just that; processing the jars in boiling water for how ever many minutes until the jars seal...that's what I've been doing.

    If you're freezing fruit etc to use later, I suggest measuring and marking the bags. I have several 1 cup bags of persimmon pulp (for cookies or bread) and 2 1/2 cups of apricot...need another cup to make another batch of jam.

    I think Janet had a great recipe for greens...or maybe it was everywoman. It was one of those Southern ladies, anyway!
  10. keista

    keista New Member

    Well, there is only one delicious dish to make with beets (two if you ask my friends) Saltibarshchiai aka borsht aka cold beet soup. DD1 calls it pink soup, because that's what it is - pink! Beets can also be added to a hot vegetable stock or soup.

    The other dish is a variation of potato and/or bean salad - add beets to either one. Adds flavor and color. I don't do PLAIN potato and/or bean salad, so I don't do the variation either.
  11. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    A boiling water canner is a huge speckeled pot made specifically for canning. I have one and will try to get a picture of it and send it to you via Facebook.
  12. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    Hound, I know Star forwards some coupons your way, and when I finally remember to get stamps and mail her this next set there's some Ball canning/jarring supplies/whatever it is coupons in there.
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Boiling water canner... this one is at Walmart... no idea where I got mine, but they're still the same as my Mom had!

    if the link doesn't work, search for: Granite Ware 21.5-Quart Canner With Rack

    Its not a typo... 21.5 quarts of water is what it holds.
    Rack is designed for 7 standard canning jars - one in the middle, 6 around the outside.
    These can be pints or quarts - both having the same rough diameter, but pints are half-height.
    You don't need as much water for pints...
    Granite Wear is old-fashioned enamal-coated metal.

    And no, I won't send you mine! <lol>
  14. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You can use half gallon freezer bags for freezing stew and they work just fine. I really really want one of those machines that takes all the air out...someone mentioned it in a post above but they are a bit expensive. I think ziplock has come up with their own mini version which we may try but for now we use the double paneled zippered freezer bags and put stew, stew beef or anything like that in half gallon containers. You can save ice cream containers to make this easier to form. Those blue bunny ice cream tubs are excellent.

    We cut and freeze all sorts of squash such as summer squash, zucchini, onions, peppers. All go into freezer bags.
  15. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    easy child and I saw that one tonight. lol And it reminds me of my soup pot. LOVE those enamel coated cookware. You can cook anywhere with them and they never wear out, ever. Was thinking at the time that it might be perfect. But our pressure cooker can also do what that one can, or so it I'll hold off for now. easy child insisted on buying the Ball starter set or some such......what it had to lift the cans in and out sure didn't look metal to me, so I'm thinking at the very least we're going to have to get one of those racks.

    I have 3 roaster pans and my huge soup pot that is the enamel coated, had them for almost 30 yrs and they look like they did when I bought them.

    I know with onions and peppers you don't have to blanch them, Janet, but what about the squash and zucchini? Looks like I'll be buying some ice cream. (good excuse lol )

    Ohhh, you all are getting me excited about all this. lol And I'm wishing I'd started years ago. Every time I wanted to my Mom would manage to talk me out of it going on about how hard it is and all the work involved.
  16. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I used this book for years when I was young enough to keep three huge gardens going. It's a very good guide to doing it all safely and you can find it used and cheap. I love your enthusiasm! You don't do anything half heartedly. You probably have already beaten me in the couponing game, of course it helps to have a couponing buddy. Go Lisa!!!
  17. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Thanks 3S!

    Yup. Getting super excited. easy child and I are going to even learn to make our own breads the old fashioned way. I've always loved to cook, that's no problem, and I love cooking from scratch. MY problem is the clean up afterward, I hate washing all the dishes. lol

    I just planted some red and yellow tomato plants. One in one of those topsy turvy deals, not sure yet if I like the thing or not as filling it with dirt and putting the plant in is well......interesting. The others went into two huge old flower pots I've had forever. Not sure how they'll do, but hey they were free from Nichole who's husband was going to toss them anyway.

    Last week walgreen's had their topsy turvy planters bogo free so I snatched two of them up and easy child got the other two. One is for strawberries.
  18. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I wish I had the gardening knack, everything I grow, even planing pre-grown flowers - dies! I would love to can, and make preserves. When we go to Nova Scotia there is this elderly couple down the road, and the wife orders a years worth of rasberries from a farm, they deliver it and she cans 365 little baby food jars for her husband for the entire year! I would LOVE to be able to do that! It takes her an entire day, but it seems so worth it. I guess I'm one of the people who have to buy everything, I'm jealous of all of you who do this. I put everything in ziplock bags in my freezer, pizza, soup, I love those, there's nothing Occupational Therapist (OT) clean, and I stock up when they're half price.
  19. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    the squash and zucchini are just cut up...nothing to it.

    Oh if you want to do just half boil them. You cut them up into the strips as if you were going to cook them right now and them boil them or steam them really...for like 20 minutes and then take them out and rinse them and drain. Pat dry with paper towels and then chop up into bite sized pieces and pack into a gallon sized bag. That is the normal size for a portion for two or three people because collards cook down when you cook them further after you only cook them for 20 minutes. Well.. maybe not...we eat collards as a main if you are doing them as a side, do a half gallon baggy.
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, if I could learn to cook them the way my neighbor did or even, they'd be the main dish. lol They were delicious.

    Upallnight, we didn't get our garden's in this year due to all the rain, then easy child's accident. Such a disappointment. So we're buying whatever comes up dirt cheap and are going to can it. It's all we can do right now.

    I have this weird "gift" for growing things. No clue how or why. Used to fascinate mother in law who used to have the most beautiful flowers and wonderful veggie garden. It just frustrates my mom who could manage to kill a plastic plant. I don't really do anything special that I can figure. They just grow for me. I've got flowers that should have only lasted a season that continue to come back year after year. Right now I'm having a major brain fart, so can't recall the names of is marigolds. I can grow things in the wrong places, or wrong soil types. I can put a "shade" plant into full sun and have it flourish. mother in law would just shake her head over my daffodils ect because she had a whole technique to planting and caring for them.........and I'd just buy potted ones at the store, dig a hole and stick them in. I don't even think I got the depth for the bulbs right........and they grow great and multiply. She'd ask me what I did and all I could ever tell her was I just put it into the ground. She'd just shake her head. I've had to watch where the kids carve pumpkins.......because I keep popping up with pumpkin vines where I don't want them to be.

    It's been like that every since I can remember. I used to garden and tend the yard with my Dad. Like I said, I don't do anything special. And I don't complain, cuz I'm no expert gardener by a long shot, but still my stuff tends to grow well. Maybe I picked up on tricks my Dad used to use and it's automatic or something, I dunno. I think Aubrey has the same weird gift. She planted lemon seeds in her daddy's bamboo plant. Nichole thought it was a weed and went to pull it.......which is when Aubrey confessed to planting the seeds. Nichole figured it wouldn't survive anyway so put the lemon seedling into a pot for her, now a bucket.......and it's just growing away. lol No clue what they'll do with it when it really gets some size to it.

    Gardening can be fun. But now I need help at least getting it started. Until just recently the girls really weren't that interested. So now it looks like there will be the family garden again. :)