Make-Ahead Foil and Containers

The secret to perfectly frozen foods lies in storing methods.


Wraps and A-OK Containers

Not all wraps and containers are created equal. Follow these guidelines when purchasing storage containers and wraps for the refrigerator or freezer:

+ enlarge image Creamy Chicken Enchiladas are a great crowd-pleasing choice for potlucks or an informal party.
  • Airtight food storage containers with tight-fitting lids: Most containers, even disposables, provide adequate protection in the refrigerator. However, when shopping for freezer-safe containers, check for a phrase or an icon on the label or container bottom indicating they are designed for freezer storage.

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  • Baking dishes: When freezing, use freezer-to-oven or freezer-to-microwave dishes, and cover the surface with plastic freezer wrap or heavy-duty foil.
  • Glass jars with tight-fitting lids: All major brands of canning jars are acceptable for use in the refrigerator or freezer. If freezing liquid and semiliquid foods, leave headspace in the jar so the food can expand as it freezes (1/2 inch for pints and 1 inch for quarts).
  • Self-Sealing Storage Bags or Plastic Wraps: Storage bags and wraps are available in all colors and sizes. Make sure you include products appropriate for both the refrigerator and the freezer in your cupboard.
  • Regular or Heavy-Duty Aluminum Foil: When freezing food, use only heavy aluminum foil.

Be Label Conscious

Ever peer into the freezer and wonder just what's inside that foil-wrapped package? Eliminate those mysterious packages. Using a wax crayon or waterproof marking pen, take a moment to properly label food before freezing. Labeling also helps you remember which packages are the oldest and which should be used first. Include the following:

  • The name of the item or recipe
  • The quantity, weight, or number of servings
  • The quantity, weight, or number of servings

Foil Foibles

A word of caution: Do not use foil to wrap foods that contain acidic ingredients, such as tomatoes. Acid reacts with the aluminum foil, giving the food an off flavor. To refrigerate or freeze a casserole that contains tomatoes or another acidic ingredient, first cover the food with plastic wrap, then with foil. The plastic wrap will prevent the reaction between the foil and the food during storage. The foil can be used as a cover when heating; remove the plastic wrap before heating.

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