Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Freezing Cooked Food

A selection of meals stored in your deep freeze can be such a help, especially when catering for the unexpected guest or on occasions when you may have to go away, leaving family to look after themselves. Remember to label all such meals clearly with the date, contents and reheating instructions.

Meals such as casseroles and stews, etc should be partially thawed for at least 1 hour before reheating in a moderate oven (350ºF, gas number 4). The time allowed for reheating will vary depending on the quantity. A meal size for 6 usually takes 1 hour if partially thawed first.

Freeze pies in aluminum foil pie plates for convenience. They may be frozen baked or unbaked. Cooked pies naturally take less time to heat through. Once again, preheat your oven (400ºF, gas number 5) with a baking tray in place. Place the frozen pie onto a hot baking tray. Bake for 35-40 minutes. The direct heat will seal the pastry base before the filling thaws out, so preventing a wet base.

Soup may be frozen easily. Freeze in meal size portions. Heat the soup slowly without thawing before serving.

Important points:

1. Always use rice flour to thicken gravy, sauces, stews, casseroles, etc., as ordinary flour or corn flour tends to separate on thawing. Gravy should not be stored for too long because of its high fat content.

2. Remember your deep freeze has a tenderizing effect on all food, therefore only partly cook any vegetables to be included in dishes to be frozen.

3. White potatoes do not freeze well, so omit from frozen stews and casseroles.

4. Development of poor flavors is often caused by flavoring such as onion (in large quantities), herbs, spices and wine, so it is wiser to add these after thawing.

5. Always make sure meals are completely cold before packaging to freeze, as warm meals placed into freezer cause condensation and loss of quantity.

Whenever possible use tinfoil or aluminum foil dishes for storing pre-cooked meals in your freezer, as these can be used to reheat meals in a hurry without thawing. This is straight from freezer to oven and adds 20 minutes to reheating time. Alternately, there is a type of 'temperature-resistant' casserole on the market which may be taken straight from the deep freezer and place immediately in a hot oven.

Daphnie is a food lover who has been involved in food industry for 10 years. She learned the easy and simple way cooking style from her mother and grandmother. She prefer to have the home make cooking style instead of outside food. She knew how much housewives will appreciate the recipes. Special thought has been given to the speed and ease of preparation to streamline cooking chores whenever possible to the minimum. Not only are these dishes attractive, they really are simple and speedy to make. Test and try out any of these dishes and you will agree that as well as being entirely successful, they all live up to our claim that they are not only delicious but quick and easy to prepare.

You can visit my website at http://www.a1cookrecipes.com/.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Yao_Daphnie

Friday, 13 May 2011

Use Your Home Freezer to Cut the Cost of Groceries

Food wastage is a modern problem that has grown steadily over the last few decades as we come to view food as an abundant and ultimately disposable commodity. There are many reasons why food wastage is so high, especially in the western world, and understanding some of these reasons can help you cut your own wastage and weekly shopping costs.

One of the causes, although by no means the main cause, is our propensity to buy larger quantities of food than we actually need. This causes food to go off before it has been used and it ends up in the trash can. By being careful about the amount of food we buy and using our home freezers to good effect, you can significantly reduce the amount of food waste your household produces. For example, supermarkets always have special offers to 'buy one get one free' or some similar bulk-buying deal.

Such offers are widely regarded as wasteful as they tend to encourage over-buying and the resulting increased waste. If you're choosy about which of these offers you go for, you can freeze some of the produce as soon as you get home to make it last longer. Combined with a little mealtime planning, you can get much more benefit from the offer and you won't feel you're wasting the food or even using it at the wrong time just because you don't like the idea of throwing it out.

Leftovers are also a source of significant food waste in most homes. Cooked foods don't generally keep for long in a refrigerator, but by storing them properly in a freezer immediately and marking the bags or tubs with dates, you increase the length of time the food can be kept. Soups, stews, bread and some soft fruits for example, are particularly suited to this kind of storage. Once you've established your freezer as a vital part of your food storage regime, you can go ahead and intentionally cook extra portions to allow them to be frozen for use later, rather than having accidental over-production and a full bin.

You must however, remember to take your frozen food into consideration when planning meals and grocery shopping or you won't get the full benefit of the saving and your freezer will just end up full of food that's been there too long and needs to go into the bin. Make sure you use the meals in time, according to the storage guidelines and timescales allowed by your freezer.

Do you want to live a greener life? Do you find it hard to live a greener life and keep your household costs under control? Then get some great tips on how to save money and live a greener life at the same time.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Paul_Joseph

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

How to Freeze Fresh Vegetables From Your Garden

Every summer season, we plant a large garden in our backyard. As we became more proficient with our gardening skills, the larger our garden grew.

A few years ago, we decided to invest in a large upright freezer so that we could preserve our fresh vegetables for later use. Freezing is the most time efficient way to preserve foods at home. It is important to note that freezing does not improve the quality of foods, but when properly done it can preserve most of the quality of the fresh product.

Here are the steps that you need to take so you can freeze your own vegetables.

1. Choose vegetables that are at their peak of flavor and texture. Avoid any over-mature vegetables or ones that have any type of damage.

2. Wash your vegetables under cold running water. If desired, you can purchase and use a fresh produce rinse to remove dirt, bacteria and pesticide residue that might be on your vegetables. Pat dry.

3. Peel, remove seeds and slice vegetables to the desired size.

4. Blanche vegetables in a large covered stockpot of boiling water. Different vegetables require a different length of blanching time.

Water Blanching Times

Cabbage 3 minutes

Green Peas 2 minutes

Asparagus 2-3 minutes

Beans 2 minutes

Broccoli 2 minutes

Carrots 2-4 minutes

Cauliflower 2 minutes

Celery 2 minutes

Summer Squash 2 minutes

Sweet Peppers 2 minutes

Corn 4 minutes

Eggplant 4 minutes

5. As soon as blanching is complete, cool the vegetables quickly to stop the cooking process. To cool, drain the vegetables in a strainer, and then plunge into a container of ice water. Cool them for the same amount of time as they were blanched. Drain thoroughly, pat dry and freeze up to 9 months in re-useable plastic containers that are made for freezer use.

Shelly Hill and her husband enjoy planting a garden in their backyard every summer. You can find some easy recipes by visiting Shelly's recipe blog or contact her through her website.

Recipe Blog: http://wahmshelly.blogspot.com Website: http://www.workathomebusinessoptions.com/

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Shelly_Hill

Monday, 9 May 2011

Fruit Smoothie Suggestions - What You Should Know

A smoothie is one of the most delicious, nutritious and filling drinks ever invented. They are so popular for people of all ages that kids request it of their moms as a snack of choice before and after school. The most basic ingredient in a smoothie is fruit, but milk or yogurt added to it makes it smooth and creamy.

Even if you're still making your first few smoothies or have already tried a number of concoctions, these tips should help you make more perfect smoothies:

1. Check if your blender is still primed for smoothie making. If not, invest in a smoothie maker to make smoothie-making easier and cleaning quicker.

2. Always wash your fruit before blending them.

3. It's best to freeze the fruit/s you use beforehand, so your smoothie stays colder and thicker. Fresh fruits give a thinner, juice-like consistency to your smoothies, so if you like them that way, then don't bother freezing your fruit. Before freezing your bananas or melon, chop them into pieces and spread these on a plate so they won't freeze into one big lump.

4. If you're looking to make healthier smoothies, substitute. The most common substitute used in smoothies is low fat yogurt for ice cream. You can also use soy milk instead of regular milk. Instead of refined sugar, use honey to sweeten. Adding more water instead of milk also reduces the calories in your smoothie.

5. You can make your smoothies more nutritious by adding wheat germ, protein powder, or brewer's yeast.

6. For thicker smoothies, add more ice cubes or more fruit into your mixture.

7. While smoothies are best taken right after preparation, they can still be frozen for about three days and consumed then. For smoothies that you need to grab on-the-go, make them ahead of time and freeze them. Make sure you don't fill the container the whole way since smoothies will expand when freezing.

8. If you're still using a regular blender to make your recipe, add liquids to the blender first so they don't bind the frozen fruit and get it stuck. It is for this reason that smoothie makers are preferred for making smoothies.

9. Nutritional supplements like whey protein, flaxseed oil, wheatgerm and wheatgrass powder make smoothies more nutritionally beneficial. Whey protein provides energy, helps repair muscles and bones, enhances memory and aids in weight loss. Flaxseed has fiber and Omega 3 fatty acids. Both supplements keep the stomach full longer. Wheatgerm is a good source of fiber, Vitamin E and folic acid while wheatgrass powder is a good source of chlorophyll that is also nutritionally beneficial.

10. Green smoothies are one of the best methods of consuming your daily servings of fruit and vegetables. Leafy greens are naturally rich in nutrients but low in calories. Spinach, lettuce and kale may be used for your green smoothie recipe. Green smoothies are ideal for those seeking to lose weight because they control the body's hunger longer.

Drink up for health! Blend your own smoothies!

Last but not least, you should check out a Vita Mix blender if you want to become healthier, and be sure to read this post called " Vitamix coupon codes."

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Emile_Neumeier

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Is Your Freezer Big Enough?

When I first heard about Once a Month Cooking with Freezer Recipes, I had a mixed bag of feelings. I was excited, intrigued, intimidated, relieved, but above all, I was curious. I was not sure if all the food I cook would fit in my tiny freezer which already throws things out at me every time I opened it. Is your freezer big enough?

The thing about freezer recipes is that you have to see what others don't see to be doing something so smart. That's what brings me to the point that if you are smart, you can find a way to fit everything your freezer recipes in your little freezer.

Here are a few clever techniques you can use:

1. Store is freezer bags not containers. The containers take up too much space. You can also reuse the freezer bags if you put each dish in a Ziploc bag before you put it in the freezer bag. You may be able to store more than one freezer recipe in one bag.

2. Lay the bags down in your freezer instead of standing them up. Once the contents are frozen, stand the bags up. It will be easier to access the food if it is standing up like a row of books rather than if you have to dig it out.

3. You might have some recipes that need to be frozen in the pan you cooked them in. Well, here is what you can do. Freeze those items in the pan and when they freeze, take them out and put them in a bag. Line your original pan with aluminum foil to make it easier to transfer to the bag.

4. Use aluminum foil whenever you can. Some freezer recipes like pizza can easily be wrapped up to give you some more space in your freezer.

5. Only buy what you need. Remember you will not be cooking for a while once you cook in bulk with freezer recipes. So limit your shopping of freezer items to only those things you will cook on your cooking day and things you need everyday like Popsicles for kids, ice-cream that you will eat etc.

These are just a few tips that you can use to maximize your freezer real estate for your Freezer Recipes. There are more clever tips and ideas you can use in 'Frugal Mom's Guide to Once a Month Cooking'. Visit http://www.usfreeads.com/2516734-cls.html to check it out.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Anna_Jug

Friday, 6 May 2011

Freezing Fish - Keep Your Fish Tasting Fresh In The Freezer

While fish is great fresh, it is not always possible to eat it right away. If you have some fish that you cannot eat within 2-3 days, it is a good idea to go ahead and freeze it so it will not go bad. Of course, to make sure your fish is frozen the right way, you need to avoid just throwing it into the freezer. To get the best quality and to keep it tasting fresh even out of the freezer, here are some tips for freezing to keep in mind.

Eliminate Air

First, realize that air is a big problem when freezing fish. If it is able to touch the fish it will definitely cause problems. The best option is to vacuum seal your fish before freezing. If you cannot do this, tightly wrap up the fish so no air is able to get to it and make it go bad in your freezer. It is a good idea to purchase a vacuum sealer if you are going to be freezing fish on a regular basis, since it will save a lot of money by keeping fish nice and fresh.


Another way that you can avoid allowing air to cause problems is to glaze the fish. This can be done by taking fillets, dipping them into very cold water, and then putting them on a pan to freeze. After the water freezes, you should repeat the process. The goal is to have about ¼ inch of ice as a glaze on the fillets. Once they are well glazed, store in a plastic freezer bag.

Know How Long to Freeze

It is important that you know how long to freeze your fish to ensure you enjoy it while it is still at its best quality. You should not allow it to be frozen for any more than six months. It should be fine up to this point but after six months, the quality is going to begin to decline. If you are freezing fatty fish, like trout or salmon, you will need to avoid freezing longer than three months because they lose quality even faster than other varieties.

Fish You Should not Freeze

Some types of fish do not do well frozen, so it is best to avoid freezing them. The fattiest types of fish are the ones to avoid freezing. This can include sardines, herring, mackerel, and bluefish. While you can glaze these fillets, the quality goes downhill very quickly so it is best to simply use these types while they are fresh.

Thawing the Fish

Not only is it important to know how you should be freezing your fish, but you also need to know how to thaw it back out. Make sure that thawing is done very gradually. It is not a good idea to put fillets into a microwave to try to thaw them. It is a better idea to allow them to thaw out in your refrigerator or put into cold water to thaw them out as well.

Freezing and thawing fish the right way is important. This way you have the best quality of fish for oven baked fish recipes. Another way to use up leftover fish you have frozen is to find a good fish taco recipe that will allow you to use it up.

EasyFishRecipes.net - The Only Thing Better Than Our Recipes Is Catching Them Yourself!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Christine_Szalay_Kudra

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Freezing Fruit

Preserving fruit by deep freezing is easy and very convenient because fruit can be frozen raw and eaten raw all the year round. Raw fruits which are low in acid content need treating before freezing to prevent discoloration on thawing. To help you identify high or low acid type fruits I have prepared and listed below:

Low Acid Fruits

Raw fruits low in natural acid tends to discolor and go brown once cut. To prevent discoloration I recommend adding ascorbic acid, because it is nature's vitamin C and so we add a vitamin to the fruit.

The low acid fruits listed below should be cored, stoned and peeled (where applicable). Place fruits into acid solution, 1½ teaspoons of ascorbic acid powder to 2 pints of ice cold water. Soak for approximately 5 minutes. Drain and use either the raw fruit sugar method or the raw fruit syrup method for freezing.

Apples, apricots, avocados, bananas, cherries (sweet), nectarines, peaches, plums, pears, persimmons and quinces.
High Acid Fruits

Raw fruits high in acid content freeze particularly well, and do not require soaking in ascorbic acid before freezing, as they contain enough of their own acid to prevent discoloration on thawing.

The high acid fruits listed below can be frozen using the dry raw fruit sugar method, the raw fruit sugar method or the raw fruit syrup method. Prepare fruit as for eating ie. Peel, core or stone (where applicable). Wash berries in ice cold water, drain and dry in a clean tea towel before freezing in one of the above mentioned methods. Red and black currants are excellent frozen in the dry raw fruit method ready for making jam or pies all the year round.

Blackberries, boysenberries, cherries (sour), raspberries, strawberries, rhubarb, grapefruits, oranges, gooseberries, guavas, melon, papaya, pineapple, plums, red and black currants, passion fruit and lemon juice.

Dry Raw Fruit Method

Wash fresh ripe fruit in ice cold water, drain and dry carefully. Prepare as for eating. Peel, core, or stone (where applicable). Place meal or pie-size quantities into good quality plastic or polythene bags, pat gently into a flat pack shape. Remove the air with a vacuum pump, seal with a wire twist. Alternatively, use the free flow method of packaging. To thaw, simply thaw in a refrigerator and serve chilled or use without thawing in all types of cooking.

Raw Fruit Sugar Method

Wash fresh ripe fruit in ice cold water, drain and dry carefully. Prepare as for eating. Peel, core or stone (where applicable). Use a good sized bowl and 2-3 oz of castor sugar to 1 lb of fruit. Prepare 1 lb or 2 lb lots of fruit at one time to prevent unnecessary crushing. Place fruit into bowl and sprinkle with sugar, shake bowl gently from side to side to distribute the sugar. Guard against adding to much sugar as excess will not freeze. Should extra sweetening be required it can be added after thawing. I recommend the flat pack method of packaging sugared fruits in meal-sized quantities or use any of the special plastic or wax coated containers with tightly fitting lids to seal, label and freeze. To thaw in refrigerator for 9-10 hours and serve chilled.
Raw Fruit Syrup Method

Prepare sugar syrup, approximately 2 cups water to 1 cup sugar, and leave to cool completely. Dissolve 1¼ teaspoons ascorbic acid powder in every 2 pints of cold syrup. Now wash fresh ripe fruit in ice cold water, drain and dry well. Prepare as for eating. Peel, core or stone (where applicable). Add fruit to syrup, leave to stand for 5 minutes then package in meal size quantities. Plastic or waxed containers with tightly fitting lids are ideal. Remember to leave approximately 1 inch head room for liquid to expand. Seal carefully, label and freeze. To thaw, simply thaw in unopened container in a refrigerator, serve chilled.

Cooked Fruit

Cooked fruit can also be frozen as a means of preserving. Caution on three points:

1. Do not overcook fruit to be frozen. Remember a freezer has a tenderizing effect on all foods. You will find that half the normal cooking time is ample for fruit which is to be frozen.

2. Wait until fruit is completely cold before packaging and freezing.

3. Remember to leave approximately 1 inch head room in container for expansion.

Daphnie is a food lover who has been involved in food industry for 10 years. She learned the easy and simple way cooking style from her mother and grandmother. She prefer to have the home make cooking style instead of outside food. She knew how much housewives will appreciate the recipes. Special thought has been given to the speed and ease of preparation to streamline cooking chores whenever possible to the minimum. Not only are these dishes attractive, they really are simple and speedy to make. Test and try out any of these dishes and you will agree that as well as being entirely successful, they all live up to our claim that they are not only delicious but quick and easy to prepare.

You can visit my website at http://www.a1cookrecipes.com/.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Yao_Daphnie

Monday, 2 May 2011

How to Freeze Food the Right Way

There are several advantages to using your freezer well, many of which are described in the article Making the Most of Your Freezer. There are pitfalls such as freezer burned food however, and some foods are better for freezing than others. In this article you will find out which foods freeze best, how to prepare foods for freezing, how long they should stay frozen, and the best methods for thawing them.

Why Freeze?

* Save time. You can cook food ahead of time and pull it out of the freezer when you need a fast dinner.

* Save seasonal foods. If its harvest season and you have more fresh fruits and veggies than you can eat, throw some in the freezer and enjoy them later!

* Preserve foods until you are ready to cook them. The freezer will keep your groceries from spoiling.

Before you Freeze

* Freeze food in small amounts. This way it is easy to thaw just the amount you want.

* Use containers that are air tight and especially designed for the freezer to keep your food tasting fresh.

* Label your packages clearly with the name of the food and the date it was frozen to help you keep track later when it is frosty and hard to see.

* Use a First-In-First-Out method by always rotating newer items to the back of your freezer. This way you will use up the oldest items first.

* Keep your freezer temperature set to 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C) or below. At this temperature most bacteria will not grow so your food is safe from spoiling.

Thawing Frozen Foods

* If food is shrivled or freezer burned then just throw it out.

* Don't wait until the last minute to start thawing. Transfer the frozen item to your refrigerator the day before you need it so it can be thawing over time.

* If you need to thaw more rapidly place the item in a leakproof container and place it in cold water. Change the water periodically until the item is thawed.

* If you must defrost using a microwave then make sure the packaging is microwave safe and stir food halfway through to make sure it warms evenly. Food thawed in this way should be eaten immediately.

* NEVER thaw food by leaving it at room temperature.

What To Freeze and For How Long

Many items can be frozen, and most foods frozen at the proper temperature will never spoil. However after certain amounts of time the food may become damaged and lose its flavor or quality. Here are examples of some common items and how long they should be frozen:

Fish: Up to three months. Wrap in foil and place in a freezer safe zipper bag with the excess air removed. Lean fish can be frozen for up to twice as long if they are frozen soon after they are caught.

Steaks: Up to eight months. Steaks should always be frozen raw and should be individually wrapped and then placed in an air tight container (such as a freezer bag) before freezing.

Soups and Stews: Up to three months. When freezing soup the most important tip is to freeze it in individual servings so you do not have to thaw it all and refreeze it every time you want a portion of the soup. Divide the soup into individual portions in freezer bags and then place the freezer bags on a cookie tray to freeze. Once they are frozen you can remove them from the tray and stack them in your fridge normally.


Freezing food is an important tool in the toolbox of any home chef. By using your freezer effectively you can save yourself time and money. For more in-depth tips on using your freezer and for a full chart of common items and how long they can be frozen, view: Making the Most of Your Freezer at http://www.homerunmeals.com/

Visit Home Run Meals for recipes, cooking guides, and more.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Daniel_Gleason

Sunday, 1 May 2011

7 Secrets to Successfully Freeze Food

If you know the secrets to successfully freezing food it is quite clear-cut when you sidestep the causes of freezer burn and loss of food. How many times have you taken an expensive roast out of your freezer to discover it is freezer burned beyond eating? Or unwrapped vegetables from your garden to discover them parched and white streaked? With the right food storage containers and some expertise, you can successfully freeze food you purchase in advance and it will cook up beautifully and hold on to its nutrients. This article reveals to you 7 secrets you need to know to successfully freeze food.

We all love to finding those bargains and stocking our freezers. And when the growing season is full on, or is coming to an end, you want to save some of those beautiful vegetables so abundant during the summer. You can care for your investment, your family's nutrition, and enjoyment of meals with the skills of properly freezing food.

Freezer Burn Prevention

What is freezer burn? Freezer burn appears as ice crystals on the food, with the food being discolored and dry. When food freezes, millions of water molecules within the food form ice crystals. These crystals will migrate through evaporation, which can mean out of the food and toward the walls of your freezer. This loss of water drys out the food. Oxygen enters the damaged food cells as water escapes, causing loss of color, nutrients and taste. And if temperatures are uneven the escaping water will thaw and refreeze, forming the crystals of ice you see. Freezer burned food is harmless to eat, but can be flavorless and the texture is unappetizing. So, what can you do to prevent freezer burn?

7 Secrets to Successfully Freeze Food

1. Keep your freezer below 0 degrees F and don't open it without a reason.

2. Never put hot food in the freezer. It causes dramatic warming and freezer burn on what is in there.

3. Freeze small amounts, not more than a pound per portion, and use food labels with the contents and the date!

4. Wrap meat tightly with heavy plastic, then aluminum foil, then pack in airtight containers.

5. Blanch and thoroughly drain vegetables, then pack tightly in plastic containers, "burping" out the air. Be sure to leave enough space for expansion during freezing, and seal the top with heavy plastic wrap before you snap on the lid.

6. With soups, leave expansion room at the top, and thoroughly cool. Seal the surface with plastic wrap before covering and freezing.

7. If your freezer is half full, fill containers with water, leaving expansion room, and freeze. This stabilizes freezer temperature.

To Recap: Use the proper supplies and methods and the food you freeze will remain flavorful until you are ready to cook it. Food storage containers tailored for freezing are available now that are FDA approved. These plastics contain no BPA or risky chemicals and are often manufactured to be safe to go from freezer to microwave. Divide out the food you are preparing to freeze in no more than one pound amounts. Fill the containers close to the top, leaving expansion room. Seal the surface of the food with freezer rated plastic wrap and mark them with dates and contents. If you acquire a diverse size set of food storage containers, you will be able to properly load your freezer. Freezers do their work best when packed full.

With these 7 secrets to successfully freeze food you won't ever again have to see a carefully planned meal undone because your ingredients are destroyed by freezer burn. And now it's simple to acquire just the right things you need to preserve your food at its peak.

Save yourself money and frustration by using these secrets to successfully freeze food and employ the best quality procedures and food storage methods. And did you know you can stock your freezer and economically buy groceries online now to be delivered to your front door? Click here because Life IS getting easier!

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Carolyn_Elizabeth_Blake