Habits + Routines

Styles of Freezer Cooking

This is the first post in Creative Savings’ freezer cooking series. You can find all posts listed on the introduction page.

This detailed post explains the 4 different methods, or styles of freezer cooking. Find out which one you should try first!

One of the things I hinted at the beginning of this series, was the fact that there are multiple methods to freezer cooking. And that’s a good thing!

It means you can pick whatever method works best for you, and still have a successful freezer cooking day.

Most methods are divided by the number of hours you spend preparing meals. For example, you could have freezer cooking in an hour, 5-hour freezer cooking, or something similar.

As a fairly new freezer cooker, I have a really hard time accurately estimating the amount of time I’m going to spend recreating each recipe.  Instead, I prefer to assign methods based on the types of freezer cooking I normally do. It just makes more sense!

The Preserving Method

This is the method I have typically used the most, especially when I was just starting out as a newbie bride.

I would take fresh garden or in-season produce and spend a few hours {or sometimes an entire day!} making freezer jam, homemade applesauce to freeze, or just freezing extra U-Pick produce.

Berries especially freeze well, and are taste amazing in smoothies, muffins, and fruit salads!

Freezing Strawberries
I have also experimented with freezing herbs, and I still have some fresh basil from last Summer. It really adds quite the pop of flavor to my pasta dishes.

Freezing fruits and veggies are a wonderful way to maintain garden freshness all Winter long, and if you’re lucky enough to have a deep freezer, you can build up quite the stash. Mine is still in storage until we can buy a house that has room for it. {Hopefully soon!}

The Doubling Method

The key to this method is to take the one recipe you’re currently making, and double it for the freezer.

So, if you’re whipping up a batch of muffins for breakfast, make a double batch. Instead of making one casserole for dinner, make two. It’s that easy.

Perhaps the best perk of the Doubling Method, is that is doesn’t take any more time than if you were only making a regular recipe. And having an extra meal in the freezer to use on a busy night, is really a time-saver!

You can read more about this method on Living Well Spending Less, where Ruth calls it Minimal Freezer Cooking. Definitely a good description too!

The Freezer Cooking Day Method

This method is the one I most recently tried, and I absolutely love it. You choose about 4-5 recipes, carve out a good chunk of time in the morning or afternoon, and make food exclusively to pack away in the freezer.

Styles of Freezer Cooking

Depending if you double some of the recipes or not, you can have quite a stash of meals by the end of the day to rotate throughout your regular meal planning schedule.

It gives you variety, without making you rely only on freezer meals. It’s doesn’t take more than a few hours either!

The Once a Month Method

If you’re a freezer cooking expert, {or just want to be super ambitious!}, you can commit to once-a-month freezer cooking sessions. This is exactly what it sounds like….creating one month’s worth of meals, in a short period of time.

It might take one day, or an entire weekend. It really depends on the types of recipes you choose.

However, even though once-a-month freezer cooking takes a lot more time in the beginning,  at least you would have a full month’s worth of meals and snacks. You really wouldn’t have to cook for the rest of the month!

The nice thing about having so many methods, or styles of freezer cooking, is you don’t have to pick one single method and stick with it.

You can experiment based on your particular season of life, and change it when the right time comes.

If you have young children right now, you might not be able to devote a whole day to freezer cooking, but doubling a normal recipe to give you an extra meal down the road, would work perfectly.

Every little bit helps, so create a method or plan that works for your family!

Do you have a specific freezer cooking method?

 

4 Freezer Cooking Methods

Tweetables:

  • Creative Savings explains 4 different methods to freezer cooking. Find out which one you should try first! <– {Click to Tweet}
  • Your freezer cooking method should be based on the season of life you are in. Here’s why: <– {Click to Tweet}

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18 Comments

  1. I typically do the freezer cooking day method. I like getting it all done at once! But right now I’m also trying to do an extra recipe once a week to stick in the freezer for the upcoming holidays. I know it will be so nice to have some extra “help” on those busy days. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Our family has been doing the preserving method for quite some time. One of my favorite things to do is buy whole chickens when they go on sale, then cook them in my crock pot, de-bone and shred the chicken then package in freezer bags by 2 cup measurements. Most of my recipes call for close to that amount of cooked chicken. Saves a huge amount of time to have my chicken already cooked for those recipes. We also will do that with ground beef. I will fry up 4-5 pounds and add taco seasoning to some or just plain cooked ground beef for those recipes that call for browned ground beef.

    I have yet to tackle the freezer cooking day method. But I will put together some extra casseroles together when I make those. I usually package them in smaller pans as we don’t eat a whole casserole of anything and have wasted quite a bit, so instead of a 9X13 casserole, I will make 2 9X9 casseroles, bake one for dinner and freeze the other.

  3. I’m so a “doubler” type! and I absolutely loved how you gave me a type to claim, now I don’t feel like like a slacker because I don’t do OAMC. Doubling and Preserving work well for me in this season! Great post, really.

  4. I prefer to do a freezer cooking day. It helps me knock everything out in one day and I don’t have to think about it again for weeks to come.

    Though, I probably should try to do more of the doubling method. It’s just me and my husband here and most recipes feed four. I tend to halve most recipes to feed us appropriately, but I can actually get a freezer meal without much additional effort by making the regular recipe.

    Great post, Kalyn.

  5. I usually do the doubling method, but I’d like to try some of these other methods.

    Speaking from experience, if you’re going to use the doubling method, I highly recommend that you use recipes that you’ve already tried. You definitely don’t want to end up with recipes your family doesn’t like, much like I’ve done a few times. Live and learn, I guess! ;o)

  6. I am a Doubling Method kind of lady but it just does not give me enough. I have baby coming and that will mean 5 kids. As a homeschool mama plus secretary for my hubby business as well as Pastor’s wife, soccer coach, archery coach helper and wrestling coach helper, my life is going crazy. Not to mention all the animals. So I need to do something to make my meal time less stressful. My issue is with this pg I can only stand for 5 min. So I will have to have some family help (kids are great) and maybe grandma too!

    I am excited to try this 5 hr method of cooking. You are really helping me as I been looking for months but it has overwhelmed me. You break it down real nice.

  7. The dish in the very first picture looks delicious! What is it and do you have the recipe?

    My household is just me and my husband, so I tend to use the “Quadrupling” method by accident – no matter how hard I try to stick to the recipe, I somehow end up making 8 meals’ worth of food, so I just pack three two-person portions in the freezer and eat the rest that night.

    1. I know exactly what you mean about accidentally making too much. I always forget to halve everything! I’ll send you an email with the recipe too. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Love your post. Thank you so much! I do some of all. I do preserving and doubling most of the time because my health doesn’t allow me to stay in the kitchen more than a couple of hours at the time. There are exceptions. I have a 22 qt slow cooker/roaster so if I am making chili, soups or stews, then I make enough to fill it. I will freeze those things in gallons. Right now, I am preparing for the holidays. I have gallons of dressing, squash casserole, sweet potato pie filling already in the freezer. I also have three whole chickens cooked and de-boned for a chicken casserole my son loves. This week I will be cooking 2 hams and slicing them so they are ready. Still have a few more casseroles and sweets to get done, but no stressing for the holidays. Just thaw and cook.

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