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What is Freezer Cooking?

M.J. Brower
M.J. Brower

Freezer cooking is a method of meal planning in which a person makes multiple meals at one time and freezes them to eat later. All that's needed is plenty of storage containers; the willingness to spend most of a day every so often cooking and packaging food for freezing; and a large freezer. A deep freeze is ideal, but a refrigerator-freezer combination can work too. In the long run, freezer cooking can save time and money by reducing the amount of time spent in the kitchen on a daily basis and by using common ingredients so that nothing is wasted.

Once-a-month cooking is probably the most popular type of freezer cooking, although some people are more comfortable cooking just one or two weeks' worth of meals at first, until they get the hang of it. The most common method is to plan all the meals, shop for groceries, and then set aside a day for cooking. Shopping for groceries can take the better part of a day; many people who are particularly interested in the money-saving aspects of freezer cooking shop at several stores to get the best prices on all the needed ingredients. On cooking day, friends or family members sometimes team up to share meals and cooking duties. This can be fun for everyone and also provide a greater variety of meals.

A cookbook and utensils.
A cookbook and utensils.

Meal planning is essential, and there are many tools to help with that. There are books, websites, e-mail lists, and online forums devoted to freezer cooking. Most of these resources offer meal plans and recipes, as well as tips for freezing and cooking. There are even online services that make customized meal plans, based on their users' dietary requirements or other preferences, such as kid-friendly meals or budget meals.

Casseroles, soups, and stews feature prominently in freezer cooking, as the same core ingredients can be repeated in many of these kinds of dishes. Some recipes call for part of the dish to be frozen, with fresh ingredients added before cooking. For example, potatoes don't freeze as well as some other foods, so they are often added to a frozen soup or stew at cooking time.

Freezing is usually done in plastic zip-top bags made specifically for use in the freezer. Other kinds of containers are used as well, depending on the recipe. Plastic or glass containers or aluminum foil can be used for freezing. If the cook has a large enough freezer, freezing the food in the dish it will be cooked in can be helpful. Frozen meals can then be defrosted, usually 24 hours before eating, to be cooked and served.

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    • A cookbook and utensils.
      By: Vivian Seefeld
      A cookbook and utensils.