Reader’s Letter: How to freeze food without freezer bags?

First of all, I want to thank my dear readers and followers for the numerous comments and DMs on Instagram every day ❤️!! I also love to read your lovely emails! Most of your messages to me are so funny, I tend to literally laugh out loud. Seeing that I mostly work in coffee shops because I turn the queen of Procrasti-Nation whenever I try to work from home, I have had to become used to strangers giving me weird looks when I suddenly start snorghling (= snorting and laughing at the same time). Oops 🙈!

I try to answer as many of your questions as I can every day, but unfortunately, being only one person, there is only so much I can cram into one day (still waiting for the 36 hour day though 😝). What I do is diligently collecting your questions in a list so I can ultimately answer your questions in my Instagram posts and blog articles.

However, I also really love your messages! So I thought I would start a new section on my blog: Reader’s Letter!

Today, Cécile wants to know how she can freeze things without freezer bags or even without plastic altogether. 

Hello Shia,

[…]

I have two dogs, two huge ones. I feed them meat and whatever trimmings and bones the butcher has. I buy these every two weeks from the butcher. I guess you can say that my dogs eat healthier and live more sustainably than I do ;). I feed them 1.5 kg every day, which I pre-portion and freeze. And that’s where it gets tricky. Until now I have used freezer bags with a capacity of 3 liters. So far, I haven’t been able to find anything that I could replace them with.

I cannot use glass, and neither do carton and paper work. The chunks of meat need 24 hours to be completely frozen. I need something leak-proof or else the meat would bleed all over my freezer.

Tupperware do not work for me. I buy the trimmings from butchering, so they come in very different sizes. The volume is always around 2 liters, but the form is always different. With freezer bags I always have the same portion size while saving more space than with food containers. I can form the freezer bags to fit more into one freezer compartment while I can only fit very few food containers into the same compartment.

I have also considered big boxes that I could just clean. This way I wouldn’t produce any plastic waste. But the boxes themselves aren’t very sustainable either. I believe my question for you would also be of interest for other people (e.g. parents, who prepare their own baby food):

How can I avoid all the trash when freezing food to keep this process as sustainable as possible? What can I use to freeze products / food in? Are there reusable freezer bag options or maybe metal trays for freezers? Do you have any tips or hacks for freezing food?

[…]

Thanks, Cécile

Hi Cécile,

thanks for reaching out! It is not a well-known fact, but you can actually use glass to freeze food! Zero Waste Chef has a great article on how to freeze food without using plastic that I encourage you to check out. Personally, we use screw top jars and cloth (bags) in the freezer. You can always keep using the plastic food containers that you already have or maybe you know somebody who is decluttering and wants to get rid of some of theirs. This way you are using up what is already there, which is a sustainable thing to do. In the long run, reusables are always more eco-friendly than disposables.

However, we do try to keep plastic away from food for health reasons. Plastic leaks harmful substances like bisphenol A, bisphenol S, phthalates, flame retardants, etc. But personally, we believe it is about finding a balance. We kept using our old plastic food container instead of just throwing them all out. We eventually “got rid off them” when an acquaintance told us she was on her way to IKEA to buy that affordable set of food containers that we happened to have. I talked to her about the risks of using plastic, but she still wanted to get those containers. So we gave her ours and started using jars instead.

You said that it is important that you can fit a lot into your freezer, which is why you prefer bags over containers. In that case, you should check out reusable freezer bags made from silicon! Unfortunately, none of the sustainable online stores I know of sell these, so I am afraid you will have to order them on ebay or amazon. Just search for “reusable freezer bags silicon” .

And there is always the option to get the most out of supposedly “single”-use items. Ziploc bags can be reused multiple times. They are obviously not made to be reused indefinitely, but if you take good care of them, you should be able to make them last a decent amount of time.

The last option I have for you is to go for glass containers with airtight plastic lids to reduce the amount of plastic that comes in contact with the food and to freeze less at once. Yes, this means you would have to change the system you have now.

I hope some of the tips were helpful. Maybe a combination of all the options might be the solution?

Take care,
Shia

2 Comments

  1. MmePinson

    I would suggest a combination of glass and these silicon bags:
    Take jars & glass containers and fit as much as possible, and then the empty spots in between you fill with formable silicon bags. Too cool, I didn’t know that these existed. I will switch to that now. I had the same problem with the empty spots between glass and plastic containers in the freezer. Thx for the hint! But I have to admit, these silicon bags are quite expensive… 🙁 Anyhow, it’s for the environment, right? 🙂

  2. Jennifer Truong

    Great tips! Meat is pretty difficult to handle when you’re trying to live a zero waste life. I just give my dog vegan food. He actually loves it and has been doing well on it for over two years.

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