Here are several methods to ensure you always have clean food on hand!
I love how the freezer magically extends foods’ shelf life from days to months. This is great for penny pinching and for fewer visits to the market. But it can be tricky to know exactly how to freeze or defrost a particular food item.
- Defrosting meats: Meats are wonderful to store in the freezer. You can pretty much pop any meat into an airtight container and throw it in the freezer. But how do you defrost meat safely? One way is the refrigerator method. Simply place your frozen meat in the refrigerator on a low shelf (preferably with something underneath, like a paper towel, in case juices are released when defrosting.) For every 5lbs of frozen meat, you should calculate 24 hours of defrost time. Once thawed, these meats will stay safe in the refrigerator for 1-5 days (less time for fish, poultry and ground meats, more for beef and pork). You can also safely re-freeze these meats within the same time limits. For a speedier defrost method, simply submerge your meat in a bowl of cold tap water until defrosted. You will need 30 minutes per pound of food and will also need to change the water every 30 minutes to ensure it’s still cold. Beware of using warm or hot water, which will cause the outer layer of food to reach a temperature where bacteria can multiply. With this method you will need to cook food immediately once defrosted and food can only be re-frozen once fully cooked.
- Freezing Veggies: When you have a case of the “over-purchased weekly veggies” or when you want to keep wonderful seasonal items throughout multiple seasons, freezing becomes an excellent tool. But, unlike meats, you can’t just throw fresh veggies into the freezer. In fact, some veggies don’t do well frozen at all. It is important to know how to prep veggies for the freezer. Most vegetables will require a simple process called blanching, which is when you place fresh veggies in boiling water for a period of time and then place them in an ice bath before freezing. Certain veggies will need more or less blanching time than others. Below is a helpful chart for determining your blanching times.
2. Fermenting: A great way to extend the shelf life of your veggies and provide an excellent source of probiotics that help keep your digestive tract healthy. While fermenting may not be the norm in most modern households, it has actually been around for many years and is very easy and efficient. All you’ll need is a sharp kitchen knife, a large bowl, some salt, glass containers, and some counter space, as well as a few extra, easy-to-find tools. You can click HERE for an easy sauerkraut recipe!
3. Soaking and sprouting: Yes, it will take a little planning and organization BUT it is still so simple to do and will yield so much more benefit, especially from these foods which can be irritating to our digestion. Read our T30C blog for a comprehensive article on soaking and sprouting that provides you with instructions and benefits of doing so.
Try these methods in your kitchen to make sure you always have super nutritious and clean food ready to go!