Saturday, September 28, 2013

Living the Pantry Lifestyle: Q & A

Stephanie's Bacon, Brie, and Leek Quiche
Here are answers to a few questions which have been asked.  Another "off the top of my head" post so please excuse typos and grammar errors.

1)  Stephanie was asked about the twelve meals she uses the most which she wrote about in her post about micro cooking.  She explains those twelve meals... here.  She has made that quiche for us before and it is just as yummy as it looks!

2)  I hope to write an entire post about "deepening the pantry in small spaces" next week. 

3)  Okay... here is probably more than you ever wanted to know about how I buy and use Ziploc bags for storage!  :)

I read long ago that the regular (non-freezer) Ziploc bags are fine to use for the freezer if you are double bagging.  One would do this if trying to save money since the freezer Ziploc bags (for good reason as they are thicker and stronger) cost more than the regular kind.

For the actual Ziploc style bags, I like to purchase name brands with coupons having had some store brand Ziploc style bags that did not ummm... zip.  The exception is when I can only find a size in a store brand, such as my two gallon Ziploc style bags.

I also purchase simple gallon size plastic bags that have a twist tie closure on them (can be hard to find but in my area they are available at Meijer's).  I do buy the store brand of these bags and I use them a lot. 

They are far less expensive than the Ziploc style and work just fine for many storage items in the frig. One day I was looking for this style of bag at a large store and couldn't find it. An elderly woman was looking for the very same style bags.  Most people I know do not use them so I was surprised to see someone looking for them.  She said that was the only style available before Ziploc bags and she still preferred them... just plain old one gallon bags.

For using in the freezer, I get all the air out of the bag I can and then tie it with the twist tie (they come in the box with the plastic bags).  Then I slip it into a gallon size regular (non-freezer) Ziploc bag before placing in the freezer.

Some items are better placed in a quart size Ziploc bag and then slipped into a gallon size Ziploc bag before freezing.  Especially when the food has been finely chopped such as with onions.

If you are on a tight budget, the savings by doing it this way can really add up.  Also, I should mention that I reuse those gallon size Ziploc bags over and over, sometimes for years!  I store them in the freezer.

I package my meat for freezing this way, too.  Most of the time I can slip the meat directly from the grocery store in the package in which it was sold right into a Ziploc bag.  That protects the meat from freezer burn for a long time.  I throw away the gallon size Ziploc bags when I have allowed meat to defrost in them, otherwise they can be used over and over.

I do purchase actual FREEZER Ziploc style bags to use in some circumstances when double bagging the food would not work.

Some stores carry two gallon size Ziploc bags (again, I do know Meijer's carries them only in the Meijer brand) which I keep on hand for slipping family size packages of meat in that I don't want to transfer to smaller bags before freezing.

I also use them at times to hold multiple smaller bags of items that I want to keep all together in one large Ziploc bag.  For instance, the two gallon size Ziploc style bag works great for slipping the bags of cranberries in that I purchase during the Holidays when they are available.  One large two gallon Ziploc bag can hold all the bags of cranberries in once place that I use during the year.  I just have to open it up, grab one of the bags of cranberries, reseal and toss back in the freezer... so easy.

4)  I never thought of checking TJ Maxx for peppercorns!  Great idea, Manuela.  I think Kroger is trying to keep their prices the same or even drop some prices since they stopped doubling coupons.  I have been shopping Kroger even before Wal Mart these days (some Wal Mart prices are higher!).

5)  One of the reasons I like using those two gallon size Ziploc style bags when I can find them is they make it easy to stock up on some meats on sale, come home and just slip the packages right into the Ziploc bag and throw in the freezer (so to speak).  Of course, most of the time one can do the same with the gallon size but when I have returned from the store I am often tired and prefer doing as little thinking as possible.  ;)

That's all I have time for now!  Be sure to click on the link to go to Stephanie's blog (above) if you are interested in seeing her "twelve basic meals".


Corin said...

I love the 2 gallon bags too! I found (I think?) a good deal on the Ziploc brand online, though they weren't listed as such, here:

I used them to pack clothes in for a recent vacation. :) We have TONS left over, that I'm using to keep like things together in the freezer.

Vee said...

Thank you for a very comprehensive discussion of freezer bags. I have been frustrated by losing food for not having the bag stay shut. I plan to look for the plain plastic bag. I have used them before, but have not thought of them in a long time. Off to see what Stephanie's menu looks like. A relaxing weekend to you, Brenda.

Anonymous said...

Probably you already know this, but I thought I'd mention it, just because it does save freezer space. When you're using a ziplock bag and you want to get as much air out of the situation as possible, may I recommend using a drinking straw? Get the contents arranged in the bag as you wish. Then insert a drinking straw into the bag opening. Then zip the bag *almost* all the way. Then using 2 fingers, squeeze the zipper as much as you can without totally strangling the straw. Then *suck* the remaining air out of the bag, being careful not to puff your breath into the bag. You will see the bag cave in. Then go ahead and squeeze the daylights out of the zipper and the straw, while you valiantly finish zipping as quickly as possible. XOXO

Anonymous said...

Revised last sentence of previous comment:
Then go ahead and squeeze the daylights of the zipper while removing the straw and valiantly finishing zipping as quickly as possible. (In other words, don't leave the straw in the zipper:)