I wrote the other day about making Chicken Noodle and Vege Soup. It makes a huge amount and I freeze it in individual servings so that I can take out enough for just me, whenever I want. This got me thinking about how I run my life with regard to food and I realised that I'm probably a bit odd in the way I do things. My Mum certainly never filled the freezer with tiny little servings of things. She always froze large family sized amounts.
My thoughts are that you never know how much you will need of the frozen goods. For example, I might decide that I want soup for lunch and everyone else wants pizza. If I had frozen the soup in a large amount I would have to thaw the whole lot (this takes ages by the way) and then the rest would be wasted. Same goes for the pizza - why not freeze it in individual slices so that only one or two pieces can be eaten at a time. Just on a side note to that, I have recently been making truckloads of homemade pizza and freezing it. As you know, I have a teenage boy who never stops eating so I need to have lots of quick, nutritious food on hand at a moment's notice. Jesse loves having pizza in the freezer because he can heat it up whatever he wants and dig in. Makes a great after school snack.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand - freezing individual servings! So, the question is - how do I do it. It's easy - I use sandwich sized zip lock bags. Fold the top of the bag over about an inch (2.5cm) so that the zippy part is out of the way and won't get food on it. Then put the bag in the palm of your hand and put the other hand inside to open it up. Ladle the soup (or other contents) into the bag. Turn the top of the bag back up then zip the bag up almost all the way - leaving about an inch open. It's important to remove as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn so squeeze all the air out so the contents comes right up to the top. Close the zip the rest of the way.
Always write on the bag what's going into it and the date. This means that when you search in your freezer you won't find bags of unidentifiable food.
The last, most important part is to clear a shelf in your freezer and lay the bags flat. This means that, when the items are frozen, you can stand them up. This takes less space than having lots of unusually shaped bags of food. It also makes things much easier to find in your freezer.
That's it - easy! By the way, I freeze everything this way (meat, leftovers, etc) - as flat as possible. I buy larger amounts of meat (they're usually cheaper) and separate them into small bags and freeze them flat like this too. Then I stand them up.
The contents will thaw much quicker when thin so, if you've forgotten to take that meat out of the freezer for dinner, you can whip it out and it will be thawed in no time. If, like me, you've been known to cook the meat from frozen, this works better too.
The only drawback here is that I do use lots of small zip lock bags but the pay back is that I don't waste a lot of food.
Now, here's the question for you - what does your freezer look like? Is it an organised dream or organised chaos?