Saturday, January 12, 2013

Packing Food & Freezing Food: Learning Some Basics

One of my New Year's resolutions is to stop throwing away food. The majority of what I throw away is fruits and vegetables that have gone bad. The solution? Prepare food so it's easy to grab on the go or throw into a meal, and freeze food before it goes bad, so it's equally easy to thaw and cook!

Packing Grapes

Preparing pre-packaged food yourself is one of the best ways to ensure your food is eaten before it spoils, and to lose weight! Not to mention saving money on snacks while you're out and about. A triple whammy! 

To start off I tried something simple: grapes! 

Be sure to wash them well with some vinegar water to get the germs off. (Did you know that grapes are on the EWG's Dirty Dozen list? You can avoid pesticides by buying organic when possible, however EWG's tests are done after the produce is carefully cleaned. Even washing doesn't get rid of the toxins!)

Pull all the grapes off the vines. 

Separate into little baggies. 

That's it! Just store in the fridge, and now you have a little bag to grab on your way out the door, or whenever you feel like a quick snack! 

Freezing Green Beans

In my search to avoid wasting good produce I discovered that you can freeze fresh fruits and veggies! It's a really simple process of washing, blanching, packing, and freezing! Do it while you're in the kitchen already making dinner and it'll save on clean up. I prepared this half pound of green beans while I was cooking the other half for dinner! I found a great site with tons of resources on freezing and canning your own food where I found info on how to freeze green beans

Have a bag ready with a label including info like what the food is and the date. 

Wash and sort green beans. Cut off both ends. 

Blanch for 3 minutes. (This means 3 minutes in boiling water, if the water stops boiling when you add the beans wait to start timing until it starts boiling again.)

Spoon into ice water, leave there for same amount of time as blanching. 

Put into freezer bag and suck out the air. A straw is a great method for getting the air out! Just zip the bag until there is a hole big enough for the straw, exhale all the air out of your lungs and suck in through the straw while slowly pulling the straw out of the bag. It helps to roll the bag or compress it while sucking the air out. As soon as the straw is out zip it up! 

Isn't that easy? It's seriously as easy as it looks, I can't believe I've never done this before! To think this whole time I could have been eating fresh, preservative free, produce without having to buy those frozen bags of cardboard-pretending-to-be-green-beans!

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