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I am a big seasonal eater, which in Massachusetts leaves me a bit in the dust (I’m very jealous of CA farmer’s markets, that’s for sure!)
Thus, I have been attempting to freeze more fruits, vegetables, and baked goods made from seasonal items. But – things haven’t gone so well. Freezing cut pears for future smoothies in glass pyrex containers has resulted in a gigantic block of pear “ice”, thus making the single serve quantity extremely hard to procure, unlike the bags of frozen fruits and veggies at the market. So – does anyone have any ideas of how to preserve fruits and vegetables to be friendly to my single-person lifestyle?
I’m also looking for the best solution to freeze pies. My grandmother used heavy duty plastic freezer bags, but I’d like to avoid purchasing new plastic if I can…any thoughts?
(the suggestion of learning how to can has been brought up—and while canning jams and jellies is on my list of things to learn, as far as fruits and vegetables go, the heating process destroys a lot of the nutritional content, which isn’t so good)
Perhaps you could separate the individual servings with aluminum foil. If you treat the foil carefully, you can reuse it over and over again… probably not for ever, but at least it’s not single use and won’t leach chemicals like the plastic bags.
Also, you could try to cut the block of frozen food into smaller pieces when it’s not completely frozen.
I purchased glass storage jars made by Bodum. They have a stainless steel lid with a rubber gasket. They are meant for extreme temperatures so in my opinion things freeze better. I got mine at The Container Store but they don’t have them on the website, I did find some on the Bloomingdales website.
You could also try the small custard cups with lids – don’t know how they’d hold up to freezing but it might be worth a try. I found some on Amazon.
Before I found Beth’s blog I did purchase unbleached wax paper sandwich bags. I did not realize that they were probably coated in plastic. I thought I was doing a good thing and purchased a case of them. Because I found out about the potential plastic in them I have use them sparingly. That said, they are wonderful for fruit in the freezer. I often make “ice cream” out of bananas and I cut them in chunks first and put them in the wax baggies. They typically stay separated but if they do freeze together they are easy to separate.
One last thing, before I got a new refrigerator/freezer my stuff would all freeze in blocks too. I don’t know why a newer model doesn’t do that. Just mentioning it because it might be a setting you can control.
You can freeze pies by wrapping them in butcher paper — my mother did this for years so I consider it tried and true and not just my own practice. (Caveat — the butcher paper you buy by the roll in the supermarket probably has a plastic coat.) You could probably also use aluminum foil (but I don’t like to use aluminum foil to freeze as I think it can change the taste of food).
Re freezing fruit — if you are trying to freeze individual pieces (as opposed to freezing in a syrup/juice) you could lay the pieces out flat on a cookie sheet or such and then when they are frozen, pack them in your container. They will be much easier to separate.
I may not be completely objective here, but I use the Sanctus Mundo airtight and watertight stainless steel food containers for freezing all sorts of food such as fruits, veggies and baked goods (available at our store — see them here: http://lifewithoutplastic.com/…..p-341.html ). We just introduced a 1.5 Litre one which is quite large and works great for larger items. I also use glass mason jars for spaghetti sauces or soups and make sure I leave space at the top for expansion.
As for freezing pies, that is a tough one. I would be cautious using aluminum foil if the ingredients of your pie are even slightly acidic as acids actually “dissolve” aluminum and will make it blend with your pie filling… yum! You might have noticed holes forming on the top of an aluminum sheet that is used for covering a lasagna… the missing material actually ends up INSIDE the lasagna!
I really like Susan’s idea of using butcher’s paper. Is there some environmentally-friendly butcher’s paper out there?
Chantal Plamondon, co-owner
I put mine on a parchment-lined cookie sheet in the freezer until they’re frozen. If you freeze it in clumps, you have to thaw it in clumps. I do bell pepper strips, berries, and cut fruit this way. Package after they’re completely frozen, and you can pull out just a few at a time when needed. You could also put it in a muffin tin in “smoothie bunches” – a little of each fruit in each cup. Or you could go ahead and make the fruit part of the smoothie, freeze in ice cube trays, and thaw as needed – to be pureed with any other stuff you want to throw in that doesn’t freeze as well (or has “side effects” like ground flax getting slimy after the freeze/thaw).
I freeze veggie clumps on a plate or tray individually (I don’t bother with parchment) and then store in a Life Without Plastic airtight container. I’ve been freezing veggies this way for about two years. It works great. Here’s my blog post, although now I have switched to the big stainless steel containers instead of the smaller glass ones. /2013/08/my-morning-zero-waste-green-smoothie/
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