Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600506


  Proper  packaging for freezing is important to  keep  food
from drying out and to preserve  food value,  flavor,  color
and  pleasing texture.                                      

  All  containers should be easy to seal and  waterproof  so
they will not leak.  Packaging materials must be durable and
must  not  become so brittle at low temperatures  that  they

  To  retain  highest  quality  in  frozen  food,  packaging
materials   should  be  moisture-vapor-proof    to   prevent
evaporation.  Many of the packaging materials on the  market
for  frozen  food  are  not  moisture-vapor-proof,  but  are
sufficiently moisture-vapor-resistant to retain satisfactory
quality  of  fruits and vegetables during  storage.   Glass,
and   rigid  plastic are examples  of   moisture-vapor-proof
packaging materials.   Most bags,  wrapping  materials,  and
waxed  cartons  made especially for freezing  are  moisture-
vapor-resistant.    Unsuitable containers include   ordinary
waxed  paper,  and  paper  cartons  from cottage cheese, ice
cream, and milk.                                            

  Rigid   containers.    Rigid containers  made  of   glass,
plastic,  tin,  or  heavily waxed cardboard are suitable for
all  packs,  and especially good for liquid  packs.    Glass
canning  jars  may  be used for  freezing  most  fruits  and
vegetables  except those packed in water.                   

  Nonrigid  containers.  Bags and sheets of  moisture-vapor-
resistant      cellophane,     heavy     aluminum      foil,
polyethylene,  or  laminated  papers are suitable  for  dry-
packed vegetables  and  fruits.   Bags also can be used  for
liquid packs.                                               

  Bags  and sheets are used with or without outer  cardboard
cartons   to  protect  against  tearing.   Bags  without   a
protective carton are difficult to stack.  The sheets may be
used   for  wrapping  such  foods  as   corn-on-the-cob   or
asparagus.  Some of the sheets may be heat-sealed to make  a
bag  of the size you need.  Sheets that are heat-sealing  on
both sides may be used as outer wraps for folding paperboard

  Select a  size  that  will hold  only enough of a fruit or
vegetable for one meal for your household.                  

  Rigid  containers that are flat on  both  top  and  bottom
stack well in a  freezer.  Round  containers and  those with
flared  sides  or  raised  bottoms  waste   freezer   space.
Nonrigid containers that bulge also waste freezer space.    

  Food  can  be removed easily, before it  is  thawed,  from
containers  with sides that are straight from bottom to  top
or  that flare out.  However, food must be partially  thawed
before  it  can  be removed from  containers  with  openings
narrower than the body of the container.                    

  Bags,  sheets   and  folding paperboard  cartons  take  up
little  room when not in use.  Rigid containers with  flared
sides will stack one inside the other and save space in your
cupboard  when  not in use.  Those with  straight  sides  or
narrow top openings cannot be nested.                       

  Care  in  sealing  is  as  important as  using  the  right
container.  Rigid containers usually  are  sealed  either by
pressing  on  or  screwing   on   the   lid.    Some   rigid
cardboard  cartons need to  have  freezer tape  or   special
wax  applied  after sealing  to  make   them  airtight   and
leakproof.    Glass   jars  must  be  sealed   with   a  lid
containing  composition  rubber or with a lid and  a  rubber
  Most bags used for packaging can be heat-sealed or  sealed
by twisting and folding back the top of the bag and securing
with  a  string, a good quality rubber or plastic  band,  or
other  sealing device available on the market.              

  Glass   and  rigid  plastic   containers  can  be   reused
indefinitely.  It is difficult to reuse aluminum foil boxes,
because  edges  of lids and containers are  folded  over  in

  Reuse of rigid cardboard cartons, unless plastic-lined, is
not  generally  advisable  because  cleaning  is  difficult.
Folding paperboard cartons used to protect an inner bag  can
be reused.                                                  

  When you  compare  prices  of the containers  available in
your locality, consider whether they   will  be reusable  or
not.  If containers are reusable, a higher  initial cost may
be a savings in the long run.                               

  Care of packaging materials                               
  Protect packaging materials from  dust  and insects.  Keep
bags  and  rolls  of  wrapping  materials  that  may  become
brittle, such as cellophane, in a place that is cool and not
too dry.                                                    

  Freezing accessories                                      
  Check  on  other  items  that  help make packaging easier.
Some  containers are easier to  fill if you use a  stand and
funnel.  Special sealing irons available  on  the market for
heat-sealing  bags,  wrappers,  and  some  types  of   paper
cartons.  With some sealing  irons,  a  small  wooden  block
or  box   makes sealing of  bags  easier  and quicker.      

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