In recent memory, the consumers’ go-to for freezing foods has been plastic. But now that we’ve discovered that BPA (bisphenol-A) comes with certain health risks (and now, whoops! its replacement, BPS, might be even more damaging!) lots of people are looking for BPA-free alternatives. It’s a big stumbling block for people like me who want to preserve garden bounty (I freeze vegetables like green beans; their acid content is too low for water bath canning) or things like soup stock and pre-made meals without the health risks of plastic. Here are some options to consider:
- This collection of Pyrex glass containers is excellent
on my wish list. These are oven safe, plus they’re good for both refrigerator and freezer storage and they have glass lids as well as plastic. Other glass containers that I use for freezing have plastic lids that are beginning to crack; I’m having a heck of a time finding replacements. Glass lids are so much more durable.
- If you are the parent of a baby and making your own baby food, rejoice! Check out these super cool freezer safe glass baby food storage containers. Alas, these aren’t exactly inexpensive options. Life Without Plastic has some great bpa-free storage options, but again, not cheap.
BPA-free glass jars:
- I freeze some things in glass canning jars. I’ve had some breakage, but honestly? I think that was my fault. I shouldn’t have used the narrow mouth jars with shoulders. When freezing in glass canning jars, you’ll want to use straight-sided wide mouth jars that say specifically that they’re for canning or freezing and be sure to leave enough head space for expansion. I’ve also had good luck with recycling glass peanut butter jars. They’re straight sided and the glass is fairly thick. (And I’ll bet ole Laura Scudder is pretty happy right about now that she didn’t succumb to the plastic packaging craze.)
- A reader commented that she invested in some steam table pans to freeze in. They stack well, are reusable, and come in a variety of sizes.
Recycled milk cartons and aseptic packaging:
- We’ve all filled a recycled half gallon milk carton with water to make ice blocks, right? Why not use them for freezing soups and stocks? If you buy broth or soup in aseptic packaging, you ought to be able to reuse those as well. Just make sure you have some freezer tape on hand to seal the containers. (Yes, there’s an element of plastic here, but aseptic packages are bpa-free. And if you’re diverting items from the landfill, I say it’s a better option that buying new plastic bags.)
Butcher paper and foil:
- When wrapping pre-made meals (think: burritos) or meats, these are a good option. If you don’t want the foil to touch the food directly (it can react with certain foods), wrap first in a layer of wax paper. If you’re being especially careful to eliminate toxins, there’s a soy based wax paper available (regular wax paper is made with paraffin, which is a by-product of petroleum).
- If I want to freeze items in small portions, I’ll fill muffin tins and freeze them. Once frozen, I thaw slightly, pop them out, and wrap in wax paper and foil. For larger meals, use the same method with freezer safe bowls.
- This isn’t practical for most things, but you can stick some produce directly in the freezer without any sort of container. I’ve had luck doing this with tomatoes. Just toss them in a freezer safe bowl and voila! When you’re ready to use them in cooking, thaw them out and the skin slips right off. I’m told you can do the same with whole passion fruit.
I’d love to hear your suggestions, especially if you’re of a certain age and remember freezing before plastic – what did you use??