Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tools of the Trade pt 3: Tools of preservation

As promised, I'm keeping up with the blog with tools and things I've learned. In this section I'll talk a little about preservation, specifically freezing. Many times, my recipes will yield more than required to build all of my bentos (sometimes intentionally). If I don't intend on eating the food myself immediately or it's a component that I'll re-use at a later date, I'll save and freeze the food. The tricky part about freezing is determining what will defrost well later, but in almost every case, if you don't protect the food those pesky ice crystals will form and cause the dreaded Freezer burn.

So what's the best way to protect your food? Well freezer burn results when ice crystals form from the meat or vegetables when exposed to air. The best way to stop this is storing your food in air tight packaging. I use to use a food saver it's a great tool and I still use it for some of my more "heavy duty" storage. My issue around the foodsaver is that the bags aren't resealable, or if you intend on resealing you have to make a really big bag and cut your way down every time you open the bag. Also, it is a heavy duty machine, it takes up lots of counter space and is very loud.

Never fear, there's an alternative solution that's a actually very cheap. The guys from Reynolds have recently released a more portable solution. They have a resealable bag (quart and gallon sizes) that has a small sealing "port", you can see it in the picture it's the blue dot with a clear center. You basically seal the food in, and place the vacuum pump over the dot and push the button. Assuming you properly sealed the bag, it sucks out all the air. It's a perfect solution, if you want to take some of the "stuff" out simply open up the top take some out, re-seal and vacuum the air back out. It's less loud than the food saver and easily stored. As to what I store, I'll save that for another post, but to tide you over I ran across this handy post on freezing that should be pretty good stuff to know.

As always thanks for coming by. I'm still brainstorming menus for the new year, it's coming up fast so more food posts soon!

2 comments:

Lunch Buckets said...

I'm intrigued by the Reynolds product! I never wanted a FoodSaver because counter space is just too precious around here - but this thing might be perfect!

Ironjack said...

I promise I'm not a shill for the folks at reynolds :) , but the initial set was like 8-9 dollars (I think they are promoting it with coupons too) comes with 3 quart bags. The quart bags come in packs of 14 for something like $3.50 around here. I've found it indispensable for allowing me to create full meals out of my leftover bento components.