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How to Freeze and Can Your Food

Updated on August 25, 2017
Terrielynn1 profile image

Terrie is a mother who loves to cook and grow her own food. She enjoys Preparing and Canning fresh food. She is now writing a cook book.

Both of these methods work great for storing foods. Canning was used, by many people for preserving food before they had fridges. Those that grew their fruit and vegetables also used it when they didn't have root cellars. Then almost anywhere you looked, people were using these methods to keep their food. Many types of foods can be stored for a pretty long time this way. Then freezing fresh fruit and jam became popular. Companys even promoted freezing by making individual storage containers. Then came the freezer bags; Ziplock comes to mind. Now we have vacuum sealers for freezing food items. The reason I love the vacuum sealing method is that it takes up a lot less room in the freezer. It's by far my favorite. From my experience, it keeps freezer food the longest with the best taste result. Now Pinterest seems to have revived the canning and freezing food movement once again. You can find a way to package and store almost any food. It isn't difficult to do. But it can be time-consuming. I have been canning and freezing my family's food for about 32 years now. It's so sweet to have a cold room in my home. My granddaughter is learning the process now. I'll pass all my knowledge down to her.

Great berries for jam
Great berries for jam

Canning Veggies & Fruit

Chopping, carrots, onions and garlic
Chopping, carrots, onions and garlic
Canning the finished veggies
Canning the finished veggies

Canning With Glass Jars

Be Careful They're Really Hot!!!

Pickled Veggies, Cucumbers, Peaches, or Jam

You will need these items for canning:

  • Large canner
  • Tongs
  • Glass Jars, rings, and lids
  • Tea towel, Oven mitts
  • Cooling rack
  • Wooden spoon
  • Measure cup and ladle or funnel
  • Boiled eggs, whole, and veggies cleaned and cut up
  • Vinegar, water, pickling spice and fresh dill
  • For jams, use fruit and pectin and follow pkg directions. Instead of vinegar, spices, and water. Boil all ingredients on the stove in a saucepan. The same way you would, the liquid for pickling.
  • For the peaches, you use a 1-4 ratio of sugar to water, boil on the stove. I make a light syrup. Add 1 Tbsp of lemon juice to the mixture, it keeps the peaches from turning brown. If you want a heavier syrup then add more sugar, to taste.

Make sure all your items are gathered and ready to go before you start. You won't have time to go looking for items once you start. All these items above can well and are my most common items to can. The night before canning pickles, you need to soak then in water and pickling salt. This keeps the pickles crisp. Veggies for pickling go into the jars uncooked. If you are pickling eggs, they need to boil first. Then drop into cold water, peel, and put in jars. I boil a pickling vinegar and water mix an equal portion. Example, 4 cups vinegar to 4 cups water, if filling about 8 jars. The amount of liquid I use depends on the numbers of jars I am filling. Make sure your liquid comes to a full rolling boil. After all, jars are filled with veggies and pickling spices, I then fill the jars with my liquid that was boiled on the stove. Remember not to fill past the first ring on the jars. Then set a lid and a ring on each jar. Screw on rings, but do not tighten. You have to leave room for expansion during the sealing process in your canner. Place jars inside and put the lid on the canner and start the timer. It takes about 15-20 minutes for each batch.

When using a canner, you need to add water to it first. About 4-5 inches in the bottom works for me. If you're doing a large batch, you will need to add more water to your canner part way through.

All your canning jars must be boiled or washed in the dishwasher to sterilize them, including the rings. Containers will be very hot! You will also need oven mitts and tongs for removing jars from the water bath. Place a towel on your counter or use a rack. As each batch is done, seal each jar tight and place on the towel. Let them sit to cool. You will hear them snap down as they seal.

Peach, Blackberry Jam

Do You Can Any Fruit or Veggies?

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Finished cream of chicken soup.
Finished cream of chicken soup.

Crock Pot Chicken Soup

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 4 hours
Ready in: 4 hours 30 min
Yields: Serves six people

Ingredients

  • 4 Medium Carrots, Course Chopped
  • 1/2 Large Yellow Onion, Course chopped
  • 1 Cup Peas or Corn, Whole
  • 1-3 Stocks Celery, Course Chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Fine Chopped
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Box Chicken Broth
  • 1/2 Cup Wild Rice, Washed
  • 1Tbsp 3 Italian Blend Spice, dry
  • 1/2 Tbsp Dried Red Onion
  • 1/2 Cup or 1 Can Mushrooms, optional, Slices
  • 1-2 Chicken Breast, or Leftovers, Cooked Course Chopped
  • 1 PKG Cream Of Leek Mix
  • 1 tsp Course Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Shredded Cheese, Add to each bowl

Directions

  1. Add olive oil to the pot first, turn on high. Add onion and garlic, All veggies, salt, and pepper. Blend till heated completely. And veggies Start to soften. Add broth and herbs. Mix and add 1 Cup water. Add chicken and rice.
  2. In 1/2 hr turn down to low and cook till about 1/2 hr before done. Mix milk and leek in a bowl, whisk together. Now add the milk, leek mixture to the pot and whisk together. And finish cooking.
  3. I made this to freeze for meals later. If your freezing, don't add the cheese. My family likes the cheese sprinkled on top of their bowls. Let cool completely before putting in sealer bags for freezing. Now use a ladle or measuring cup with a spout. And add the soup to the bag in the portions you want to serve at a meal.
  4. Follow the directions for your vacuum sealer and stand each one up against something while you finish sealing each one. Or set in a plastic freezer bin. This makes it easier to take to your freezer. For larger families, you can use a bigger crock pot and double the recipe.
  5. You can also use ziplock type freezer bags, if you don't have a vacuum sealer.

We Use a Vacuum Sealer

We use a vacuum sealer to freeze our foods in, because they keep the food fresh longer. The sealer allows you to remove the air, add the food and seal the goodness in. The foods frozen this way last 2x as long as regular packaging. I reccomend you use a sealer before freezing any food. They are quick and easy to use. The loss of freezer burnt food will be no more.

When Making Freezer Jam, Don't Over Cook It.

You Want It To Be Bumpy, Not Smooth.

Learn How to Make Pectin Free Jam

Freezer Jam, Fruit Topping

To make freezer jam I follow almost all the same steps as above for canning jam. First clean and rinse all fruit. I always use less sugar. Making it a perfect topping for ice cream, instead of a jam. Or a cooked fruit dessert. Making jam this way also makes it ideal for use as a filling. I used two peaches to every 1/2 Cup of strawberries or blackberries. I use what is ready to pick at the time of canning and freezing. Cut fruit into large chunks; they will reduce with cooking. Mix with sugar and pectin. Follow the pectin directions but use 1 Cup less sugar. Change the amount of fruit according to the number of bags you will be filling. This time I used a total of 8 peaches and 2 cups of strawberries. It filled about five freezer bags. Heat on the stove and bring to a boil. Let cool slightly and fill your freezer bags. Then let them cool before you seal with the vacuum sealer. These can stack in the deep freeze without taking up a lot of room.

Do You Eat Canned or Freezer Sealed Food?

Would You Eat More Fruit and Veggies If You Could Store Them?

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Blanching Vegetables

For freezing veggies in freezer bags or a vacuum sealer, you will need to blanch them first. Blanching is a process of cooking in water or steaming. Only cook for 3 to 5 minutes. The reason is you are just softening them, not cooking all the way through.

Vegetables I Blanch

Here is a list of the veggies I blanch before freezing in bags or vacuum sealing:

  • Carrots
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Cabbage
  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower

Fresh Noodles or Dried

For the chicken soup recipe, you can also use noodles if you don't want rice. You can make your own noodles and freeze them using the vacuum sealer. cook separate from the chicken soup. My family prefers fresh, homemade. We make a large batch then freeze the leftover for other meals. Or make the noodles you like, when your soup is taken from the freezer to eat. Just add them to the soup when you heat it back up. This is a wonderful meal in the winter time. Using a vacumm sealer also works for freezer jam and dividing bulk packages of food and resealing them in family portion sizes.

Enjoy, Prepared With Love

It's really true food connects us all. Some use food as a reward for behavior. Some use it as a way to bring the family together. Some even use it as a way to show their family how much they love them. Others use it to make sure they get to see their friends. No matter what your reason is, food really does bring us all together. Whether it's trying something new or sitting down to our own traditional foods. There is always a memory tied to a food. I bet reading this has already made you think of yours. Now get out your cookware and try them yourself. Then come back and tell me what you think. From my house to yours, now let's eat!

PS, If you have any questions just ask. I am happy to help you. If there is a step you think I missed, please let me know.

© 2017 Terrie Lynn

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    • Terrielynn1 profile image
      Author

      Terrie Lynn 9 months ago from Canada

      Done , thank you. This article really made me think. I cook with a pinch of this or a touch of that. I had to write down everything I cooked and their measurements.

    • possum lover profile image

      possum lover 9 months ago from the backwoods just to the North of South Carolina

      This was an awesome hub, and it explained everything on how to freeze food. I am so happy that I was able to inspire you Terrie to write this wonderful hub. I would also be thrilled if you put my picture from the question that started all of this into your hub. You have my full permission to use it, if you chose to.