It's that time of the year...gardening season. During gardening season many of us are preparing to gather vegetables for the freezer. We check vegetables already frozen move them around and make room for new packages of foods. But while we are taking inventory, we need to think about the proper packaging materials to use for home freezing. Foods for the freezer must have packaging materials that will protect their flavor, color, moisture content and nutritional value from the cold, dry conditions of the home freezer.
There are freezer packages that are moisture-vapor resistant, durable, leak proof, flexible and crack resistant at low temperatures. These materials will also resist oil, grease and water. You also need to make sure the packaging you choose will protect foods from absorbing odors. A very important feature is that the packaging is easy to seal and mark. Seals should be taped over with freezer tape when the seal isn't completely tight. You can find freezer tape that is specially designed to stick to packages at freezing temperatures. It's a good idea to use a permanent marker to add the date on each package to show when it was placed in the freezer.
There are two types of freezer packages that work well for home use:
1.Rigid containers...suitable for all foods, especially liquids. These containers can be made of plastic or glass and can often be reused. They are stackable and easy to store in the freezer. It is important to note that sometimes glass containers can easily break at freezer temperatures. You should purchase glass jars made for freezing and canning that are tempered to withstand extremely low temperatures. Also, be sure to purchase wide mouth jars so that removing frozen foods will be much easier.
2.Flexible bags or wrappings...suitable for dry packed products that contain very little liquid. These packages are usually plastic freezer bags, freezer paper and heavy-duty aluminum foil. Plastic zipper bags are a favorite packaging material and often used for freezing vegetables.
It is always best to purchase your freezer packaging supplies before the peak summer gardening season. Sometimes flexible freezer bags are in low supply so be sure to check with your local store before the last minute. Just remember to take the extra precautions to protect the flavor and appearance of your garden vegetables while preparing to preserve them. Then later during the cold winter months when you enjoy your frozen vegetables, you'll be glad you made the extra effort.
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