When I first suspected that histamine intolerance might be another piece of my wellness puzzle, it felt like yet another food restriction limiting my choices…but discovering how many things freeze well has been the silver lining! The freezer has now become a huge part of my food prep plan! So many of you have asked how I built and maintain my #freezerstash, here are a few pointers to get you started.
I chose to store most of my freezer foods in freezer safe sizes of mason jars.
Any wide mouth mason jar without shoulders is freezer safe (shoulders are the curving part up by the opening). You can reference a handy chart of all freezer safe sizes, both regular and wide mouth here. Of course you could opt for other freezer friendly containers, but I happen to have a huge mason jar collection, being that I am a bit mason jar obsessed! I love the white plastic lids by Ball Canning you see below in my jar cabinet (yes, I have a cabinet just for them!). The white plastic lid are dishwasher safe and just all around easier to use than the 2 piece canning lids that come with the jars. Some people have complained that they are not leak proof, but I guess when I travel I am careful to keep them upright so it has not been a problem for me.
My Freezer Stash
This is what SOME of my freezer stash looks like (there are more shelves and drawers). There are portioned cooked proteins, soups and veggie side servings. In general these are single servings but you could freeze larger portions to feed a family.
Make sure you always label and date your lids. I have my own shorthand just to make it easier. I use the pen that came with my label once kit but I write directly on the lids. I use a Prismacolor magic rub eraser to remove the writing. You can alternatively wipe it off with an alcohol pad.
I always have single portions of my shallot baked chicken thighs in the freezer. The basic recipe stays the same but the seasonings will vary…herbs de provence, cuban oregano, tarragon. Over time I have built variety in the stash from prior prepped batches. These are perfect to reheat and dump on a salad or add to a sauté.
I always have cooked ground meat portions in there as well. My standard is ground turkey as I seem to tolerate poultry better than other proteins, but you can stock a variety of cooked meats like ground beef, lamb or bison and get creative with the seasonings…greek, taco style, tarragon, herbs de provence, lemon grass with ginger and turmeric…so many flavor combos. As you add batches to the freezer stash over time you will have more variety to choose from. Bonus!
I always have a few versions of my creamy veggie or creamy zucchini leek soup in the stash. Sometimes I freeze them into pucks in silicone molds and transfer to ziplock bags when frozen. Then I can just grab a few pucks and dump them into a saucepan when I want a cup or bowl for a snack or meal.
Lately I have been freezing my soups in single portions in pint wide mouth mason jars. I put a little more than a cup in each jar and it makes a perfect mug size portion. I eat this soup most days at breakfast. It’s such a great way to get in some extra veggies! The tall thin 1.5 pint mason jars are the largest size that is freezer safe. I have some extra batches stored in that size, as those are big enough to share.
I have lots of ready made sides in the freezer stash. I like to roast Japanese yam or white sweet potato rounds on a parchment lined baking sheet…drizzled with olive oil and roasted at 425 til toasty. Then I let them cool and stack them on parchment in a ziplock bag. These freeze super well and can be added to a plate or salad in a flash.
Another option is to cube white sweet potato, Japanese or garnet yam..toss in olive oil and roast on a parchment lined baking sheet at 425 til toasty. These cubes can be frozen in mini 4 oz mason jelly jar servings to add just a little bit of carb to a meal. Sometimes after they are cooled I throw the batch in a zip lock bag and lay flat to freeze. Then I can pull out a handful to throw on a salad or add to a sauté.
Have a little leftover baked sweet potato after a meal? Jar up a serving or 2 with or without a spoon of your favorite fat, like brown butter ghee. Super handy for some future meal when you are short on time.
This roasted veggies combo is a regular in our house. Carrots, zucchini, yellow squash and parsnips. These are cubed and roasted on a parchment lined baking sheet at 425 til toasty. I jar these up and freeze them. They are delicious reheated and dumped on top of a salad.
This parsnip mash is amazing. I steam sliced parsnips until fork tender and dump them in the cuisinart with a big spoonful of brown butter ghee and process. Portion and freeze them. I do the same with japanese yam or garnet yam and have even done rutabaga in the past. You could switch up the fat and add a dash of cinnamon if you like. Duck fat works well too!
These mason jar meals or shepherds pies are super handy. You can assemble the entire jar and freeze. Bottom layer is seasoned ground meat…middle layer is my roasted veggie combo, or your favorite combo…top layer is your favorite mash. This jar has the parsnip mash. Cauli mash or sweet potato mash make great alternatives. These are a great grab-and-go option.