We need to fuel our bodies during our outdoor times, thus the freezer bag food is convenient. It offers variety and simplicity since one has no need of moving together with his or her utensils since most of the outdoor activities involve groups of people though individuals still have a share. Freezer meals can be referred to as portable food that comes handy during the outdoor times. A freezer storage bag is used and it’s structured in that it’s a recloseable multi bag, which includes an inner liner bag and an outer support bag. Both liners are thermoplastic. Be sure you have a reliable cooler use. Our article on the best backpack coolers is a must-read and will give you more options.
The freezer bag cooking method is preferred because it saves time too, since the outdoor activities like hiking, biking, paddling, etc. use a lot of time and few people would like to be involved in cooking or carrying a variety of traditional ingredients to cook; it becomes hectic. The freezer bag meals become great for the company of friends or family. The food is frozen ahead of time for the activity or outdoor tour, labeled and well stored. They are ready for feeding, only some water is added and the food is good to swim down the gullet to the stomach.
While selecting foods to freeze, one has to select those that freeze well and also keep in mind the right way of freezing the various types of food. To add to that, they should also be labeled and packed differently as in breakfasts, main dishes, and desserts. Proper packaging maintains the color, flavor and moisture content of the food. It’s preferable to store food in smaller freezers since bigger freezers will freeze the food slowly and the result will not be satisfactory in terms of quality.
Advantages of the freezer bag food are that it saves money by preparation of less expensive foods or even inexpensive meals and also saves on the food wastage by reducing it. Freezing preserves food, hence improving the safety of your health. It enhances bonding in the groups involved, may it be a family or a group of friends, since it feels good to share food and time together during the meal time. Moreover, it saves on decision making on what to eat at a given time, since it’s well packed, and also reduces the workload since the group involved shares the packing and preparing of the frozen food, thus reducing human effort.
On the other hand, it has some nutritional disadvantages since frozen food tends to have a high amount of sodium as compared to the fresh foods. High levels of sodium in the blood affect the body by causing high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease and maybe diabetes. Other frozen foods may contain high amounts of fat and calories and since one feeds on it fully, he or she ends up consuming a lot of fat.
Apart from that if the food is not well frozen that gives a back door to microorganisms that come and cause food spoilage and also food poisoning. One needs to be careful while freezing the food. Freezing also leads to changes in the food texture from the fact that freezing changes liquid water into a solid, leading to expansion, thus affecting the food texture and some vegetables with a high water content appear withered after thawing. Freezer burns, as a result of evaporation of ice crystals, cause food to toughen and dry out.
HOW TO PREPARE A FREEZER BAG MEAL
Here are a few steps that will make the process of preparing the freezer bag meals faster and more enjoyable:
- Get the ingredients required for the outdoor activity and they should go with the number of people involved. It’s advisable each one to bring his or her favorite ingredients for a certain meal to be prepared. For fruits and vegetables in the morning while fresh is preferred or later in the evening so as to maintain their flavor and color too.
- Prepare favorite soups and recipes that freeze well after cleaning them thoroughly and then place them on a cooling rack slightly at room temperature before undergoing refrigeration to allow circulation of air all Maintain the depth of the food at around 2 inches. The food should be slightly undercooked if it will be reheated there after the freezing for convenience.
- Prepare to cool the food at refrigerator temperature before bagging them. Loosely cover the cooling food to allow heat loss and protect food from accidental contamination from other foods during the cooling process.To speed up cooling one can divide the food into smaller portions
- Now look for the freezer bags for storage of food in the freezer. They keep food fresh for a longer time and are quite efficient and convenient. Quick freezing is convinient since it prevents foods from sticking together. A thin, flattened shape freezer is preferred for its fast freezing and hasten thawing.
- Label the foods to avoid mystery of foods. One can use a permanent marker on the outside of the bag or a freezer tape, gummed freezer labels . On the label some of the important information that should appear include: amount of food in the freezer bag, packaging date, name of the food, number of servings, notification if special ingredients have been added, form or nature of the food(chopped, sliced).
- Lastly, place them in a freezer and it’s better for the freezer bags to be placed on a flat surface in the freezer. One should avoid placing the food in the freezer if it’s hot or warm since it can heat the other foods in the freezer leading to rise in temperature thus affecting the storage of the food. After freezing they can now be stacked directly on the freezer shelf or store vertically especially when freezing liquid foods.
When it comes to feeding, the foods are thawed carefully and differently depending on the class of the food.Perishable foods have a specific temperature that must be reached during thawing for better taste and efficiency.
Some vegetables can be cooked while still frozen thus no need of thawing while fruits can be thawed in a refrigerator or a microwave or even at room temperature. Immediately after thawing it’s advisable to cook the food to kill any bacteria that can have entered during the process.
For more yummy freezer bag recipes, see our must-read article for more information.
FREEZER BAG RECIPES
The following are examples of freezer recipes that one can consider when planning for an outdoor activity that can take some time away from home.
Meat Sauce Mix
You will need the following ingredients:
- A sizeable amount of ground beef or turkey
- A medium minced onion
- A can of tomato paste and some water or a can-full of tomato soup
- One teaspoon of garlic powder
- A teaspoon of salt too
Lean meat with drained fat, add the ingredients and simmer for about 30 minutes Add water to the food or tomato juice if necessary, depending on your taste Brown meat; drain fat. Add all other ingredients.
Place one cup of the sauce in a freezer bag and freeze.
Easy, Cheesy Pasta
- 2 cups of Meat sauce mix
- 2 cans of chili beans
- 4 cups cooked, drained macaroni
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Mix together, chili beans, meat sauce mix, and macaroni. To them add a half cup of grated cheese. Place the mixture in a freezer bag and label it appropriately. Then place it on a metal pan or saucepan and heat over until bubbling occurs. Add some water if the mixture becomes dry.
Add a half-full cup of the remaining cheese over the pasta as it is served and place the remainder in a freezer bag and label it and tape it to the pasta mixture.
Trail Rice Pudding
In a medium size freezer bag, add the following:
- One cup of rice
- Cup half-full of whatever small dried fruit one may prefer like raisins
- Quarter dry milk
In a second freezer bag, add the following:
- A package of pudding mix, depending on your favorite flavor
- Add some powdered milk and should be about a half cupful
- Add a cup of some boiling water to the rice bag and let it cool off for about ten minutes
- Add two cups of cold water to the pudding bad and shake vigorously making sure no powder decides to settle in the corners.
- Let the well-shaken pudding sit somewhere.
- The mixture of both bags gives a nice delicious dessert, especially if it has thickened well enough.
The scones can be perfectly packed well in a plastic wrap are even better when crumbled.
The following ingredients are needed:
- Three cups of flour, the all-purpose kind
- A half cup sugar, especially the white one
- Some four teaspoons of baking powder
- A half-full teaspoon of salt
- A three quarter-full cup of butter
- A cup of milk
- 1 beaten egg
Raise the temperatures of the oven to about 300 degrees Celsius and then do some greasing or spraying the baking sheet. Combine all the dry ingredients in one big bowl and a cut of butter. Mix up the beaten egg and the cup of milk and add flour until it becomes moistened. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for some time until it becomes less sticky. On a flat surface lay the dough and pat it to about a half an inch in a circle.
Cut it into around eight to nine wedges and put them on a baking sheet. Bake it for about a quarter and hour till it becomes golden brown.
In the ingredient list or shopping list the following have to be present in order to cook the banana bread:
- A couple of one and a quarter cups of smashed potatoes
- A cup full of some sour cream
- Another cup, quarter filled with margarine or butter
- One and a quarter cups of white sugar
- Two eggs
- A teaspoon of vanilla extract
- Some two cups of the all-purpose flour
- A teaspoon of baking soda
- One teaspoon of baking powder
- A pinch or quarter teaspoon of salt
Let the oven temperatures reach 350 degrees Celsius. Use the margarine or butter to smear on two loaf pans. Put together banana and sour cream and set them aside. In a big enough bowl, cream together margarine or butter with the sugar until a smooth gravy is formed. Then beat one egg at a time, and then stir in the vanilla and banana mixture.
Put together the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon. Stir them into the banana mixture. Spread the butter nicely and evenly into the prepared pans of bread, and then bake for about 50 minutes in the preheated oven, or till when a clean toothpick is pushed into it, and if it comes clean you have a well cooked meal. The loves now can be wrapped and frozen for later eating.
Some vital ingredients in order to cook spaghetti includes:
- Two cups of meat sauce mix
- One and a half Italian seasoning or pasta
- Parmesan cheese which is optional
To make pasta:
Put together the meat sauce mix together with the Italian seasoning or pasta ( either of the two). Label it and include some instructions that will state “heat the contents in a microwave till they are thorough”. In a sizeable pan boil some three quarters of water and add a teaspoon of vegetable oil to reduce the boiling over. Add pasta gradually and boil them uncovered stirring occasionally.
The results of the pasta should be tender and firm. Then immediately empty them in a colander and do not rinse since it washes away valuable nutrients. On the hot cooked pasta pour meat sauce and sprinkle some parmesan cheese.
While freezing for later feeding, the pasta noodles should slightly be undercooked so that they do not get mushy way afterwards.
Chocolate Popcorn Trail Mix
- Have some two squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate
- Some two of popcorn (microwave popped)
- A cup of Craisins
- Two cups of frosted wheat cereal
Melt the chocolate in a bowl that can withstand microwave conditions and stir it till it is fully melted. Add other ingredients of choice and toss fast to coat it. Cool nicely on a wide surface of wax and then store in freezer bags that are tightly sealed.
Freezing bags are wonderful companions in outdoor activities or picnic away from home. You can even put your DIY homemade trail mix inside these bags for easy snacking on the go.
Wrapping it Up
There you have it, all the reasons why you should start preparing freezing bag meals for your outdoor adventures. Most people do it because it saves you plenty of time while you are hiking, camping, or having any outdoor related activities. Furthermore, it also saves your energy, you would otherwise use for cutting, mixing, and cooking the meal.
For more useful pointers on DIY backpacking food, see our article on this important topic.
We have also presented a few interesting and tasty meal recipes and now it’s up to you to try them out and let us know how you liked them by leaving a comment in the comments section below, where you can also ask questions if you have any.