What You Can Do NOW To Prepare For Thanksgiving To Decrease Stress!

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With just over a week to go, it is time to get ready for Thanksgiving! Having to prepare an entire feast for your immediate family can be stressful enough on a typical day, but when you add in extended family,

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16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

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16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

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If you are looking to keep your foods fresher longer – and who isn’t? – you need look no further than your freezer.

Freezing is an easy and convenient way to preserve food. By freezing leftovers and foods that will spoil before you use them, you can save money and reduce food waste.

As a general rule, you can keep fruits and vegetables in the freezer for up to a year, poultry for six to nine months, fish for three to six months, and ground meat for three to four months. Use resealable freezer bags or freezer-safe plastic containers and label them with the date of storage.

But you can freeze many more food items than you probably realized. Here is our top 16 list of foods you didn’t know you could freeze.

1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.

2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.

3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.

4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.

5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.

6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.

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7. Bread and tortillas – You can easily freeze bread slices or loaves of bread and tortillas. If they are dry after thawing, just wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for a few seconds.

16 Popular Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze

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8. Chips – Potato and veggie chips can go stale quickly, so if you have extras on hand, try freezing them. They defrost quickly, but you may even like the taste of them straight out of the freezer.

9. Flour – Did you know that many bakers keep their flour in the freezer? It not only stays fresher longer, but it makes tastier baked goods as well.

10. Eggs without shells – Whether they are from your own chickens or whether you just got a good deal at the store, you don’t want to waste eggs. Did you know you could freeze eggs – just not in their shells? Crack them and scramble them. Then pour the liquid into cube trays and freeze. Next, remove the cubes and store them in freezer bags for up to six months.

11. Cooked rice and cooked pasta – You can safely freeze cooked rice and pasta in individual portions for later use in meals. When you are ready to prepare a meal, simply sprinkle the rice or pasta with a little water and then heat it in the microwave.

12. Chicken broth – You can freeze chicken broth for up to six months in the freezer. Be sure to use an airtight, freezer-safe container – not a can.

13. Pasta sauce and tomato paste – Did you only need a tablespoon of tomato paste or part of a jar of tomato sauce for that recipe? You can freeze the rest for later use. Just be sure to store it in a freezer-safe container – not a can.

14. Herbs – You can successfully freeze your fresh herbs in olive oil. Chop your herbs and place them in an ice cube tray. Then cover them with olive oil, allowing a little room at the top for expansion. You can transfer frozen cubes to a resalable bag. Then plop them right into soups and other recipes.

15. Cookie dough – It can save time to make a big batch of cookie dough at once, but you don’t save money if they go stale before anyone eats them. Your freezer can come to the rescue. Freeze homemade cookie dough in individual spoonfuls on a baking sheet. Freeze them and then transfer to a resealable bag for later use.

16. Fresh citrus – How many times have you only needed one slice of a lemon or lime? Did you know you could freeze the rest? Slice or section citrus fruits and place a piece of wax paper between each piece. Remove as many seeds as you can before freezing.

Now that you have some new ideas for freezing food, here are some basic rules to follow:

  • Most meats, dairy, and some vegetables should not be re-frozen after thawing.
  • Cool down cooked foods before freezing.
  • Wrap foods properly to avoid freezer burn.
  • Freezing retards bacterial growth but it does not kill bacterial growth.

Are there other foods you would add to our list? What freezing tips would you have included? Share them in the section below:

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6 Ways to Store Food Long Term

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When preparing food for long-term storage, consider how much is required, how long it needs to last, its nutritional value, and the resources available for preparation. Depending on your goals, there is a long-term food storage method for you.

Freezing

  • Depending on the emergency, freezing may be an acceptable option. Storage times vary depending on the type of item and its packaging, but meats can last up to two years when frozen properly. Blanch fruits and vegetables to halt quality-compromising enzymatic processes before freezing them. Most of the nutritional content remains stable when frozen items are stored in air-tight packaging.

 

Dehydrating

  • Dehydrated items maintain much of their nutritional content. Herbs, which are both beneficial to health and flavorful, are good candidates for dehydration. Fruits and vegetables also store well when dried. Blanch vegetables and fruits first to extend their shelf life. You can use a dehydrator or your oven on low heat to dehydrate items.
  • The key with dehydration is to ensure that all of the moisture has been removed. Food fresh off the dehydrator may still feel soft or moist. Follow instructions for each food, and take a sample off the dehydrator to cool for a minute or two in order to test its dryness. Dehydrated items should be stored in cool, dry, dark places. Use glass jars and vacuum-sealed pouches to extend the life of dehydrated foods.

 

Curing

  • The curing process harnesses the power of salt to eliminate moisture and prevent the growth of bacteria. Curing can be time intensive at the outset, but it will enable you to preserve flavorful meat for extended periods of time.
    • Dry curing involves coating a cut of meat in salt and other herbs and letting it set for an extended period. Smoking is another method of curing which adds flavor to meats. Brining is a wet curing method in which meat is soaked in a salt-rich solution. Research instructions for dry curing, brining, and smoking before using any of these methods. If cured incorrectly, items can harbor botulism, which can lead to food-borne illness.

Canning

      • Canning is a time-tested method for preserving fruits and vegetables. The acidity of the food will help you determine how to process it. Most jams and tomato-based products are safe to prepare through boiling. Low-acid vegetables and meats necessitate the use of a pressure canner. It is wise to look for updated canning recipes to ensure that new food safety measures are included in the instructions. Once food is canned, check to make sure that the jars are sealed. Store canned items in a dark, cool, and dry environment. With regard to shelf life, items with a high acidity can last one to one and a half years. Foods with a low acidity can last up to five years.

 

Fermenting

      • Fermented foods have been making a comeback in recent years. Their popularity is likely due to the health benefits associated with consuming them. Items like kimchi, sauerkraut, kefir, and pickles are rich in pro-biotics. During a disaster, the benefits that fermented items have on the immune system make them must-haves.
      • The fermentation process involves many considerations. Fermenting can extend the life of your foods for months or years. While the items may be safe to consume after extended periods, their health benefits may decrease as they age. Using a fermentation pot is the most common way to get results.

Vacuum Sealing

      • Vacuum sealing may be performed on nearly any food. It is important to remember that vacuum sealing is most often used as an adjunct to other preservation methods. For example, you may vacuum seal meat, but you will still have to keep it in the refrigerator or freezer in order for it to be safe. Jerkies and dried fruits and vegetables may also be vacuum sealed to increase their shelf lives.
      • Vacuum sealing can be accomplished with equipment such as the Food Saver, but Mylar bags may also be used without a special machine. If you are not using a machine to suck the air out of the packaging, oxygen absorbing pouches can be used to achieve the same effect. This method is great for processing bulk grains. Vacuum sealed bags can be placed in five-gallon plastic buckets to make them easy to store and protect them from pests.

 

There are so many options for long term food storage. A conscientious prepper will take advantage of multiple food preservation methods in order to reap the benefits of each type. With proper research about storage environments, recipes, and food safety guidelines, it is possible to maintain a safe, balanced, and flavorful food supply – even during a disaster.

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