This post was most recently updated on March 23rd, 2021
Going free is a great aspiration. But there are so many, many challenges along the way. The biggest one I have come up against so far is being able to without or using bags.
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The first step to the trays and double wrapped cling film by using reusable containers. Even ice cream containers work well to in. without was to get rid of the single-use – ie
I have a personal bug bear with cling film (aka ), I think it is wasteful and unnecessary in almost every situation.
I particularly get mad at the supermarkets using a double (or sometimes triple!) cling film layer over trays of or nothing, baby. , combined with most of them shutting down their butchery counters. This then removes all choice from consumers, it is
I understand that they think they need to use this to contain the . The reality is that it still does leak, and if you have even left in the sink to , you will know that it does.
I haven’t bought cling film for our household’s use in about 3 years, so having it double wrapped over my each night has never sat well with me. Buying without will be the first challenge to being able to without .
containers often get brittle in the and break, unless they are a specific that is able to get handle the . has previously been our go-to to in the and . But it is not ideal for long term as is hard usually, and it tends to rub holes in the .
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What can we use to Freeze Meat without Plastic Freezer Bags??
I have hunted high and low for ideas to store meat in the freezer that doesn’t involve plastic. There are very few options.
1. Mason Jars
, or a similar brand, are often suggested for . However, they aren’t the most economical use of space because of their shape. Also, when you smash one – and you will – you have a full of glass shards and wasted .
However, if you are storing smaller volumes of at once, using can be a feasible option.
Have you tried to fit a large family meal’s worth of meat in a jar? I need bigger jars!
They are however good for freezing liquids – find out how to do that safely here.
So my search for a good alternative to plastic freezer bags continued.
Sadly, butchers paper and now has a coating of on the inside, and these laminated combination products are THE WORST because you cannot compost or recycle them! So they are actually worse than in a , because at least you can recycle one of those.
At least with using paper you can fit more in than a , and it is easier to wrap with bones in it than it is to try and wedge them in to jars.
You can however get compostable soy or if you are just storing the for a week or two, a couple of layers of thick brown kraft paper will work fine. Neither is a perfect solution for long term storage in the .
This, again is good for short term storage. As soon as the , so it is not a perfect solution either! rubs on something else and gets a hole in it, the contents will suffer from
However, you can use a layer of brown paper or over the outside of the to add extra protection from developing holes.
2 Plastic free alternatives to freezer bags
4. Eco Friendly Freezer Bags for Meat: Using Silicone Freezer Bags in the Freezer
These are also used as reusable Sous Vide bags in restaurants, but they are perfect for freezing meat at home without using single use plastic bags or styrofoam trays!
Silicone the from your while it is defrosting. They are also perfect for storing for putting in the or . bags are made of safe and eco friendly grade silicone and they keep in
Silicone has no BPA, BPS, BPF, PVC, Phthalates, or Petroleum, and they are both and latex free.
The thing I love about the silicone bags is that you can get your butcher to pack your into the air tight silicone storage bags directly at the grocery store.
Then when you get home you can refrigerate or , add marinades, microwave or boil, reheat, even eat out of the bags directly!
As a reusable , these silicone bags are perfect, they are thick and washable and I love how you can reuse them over & over again. And if you want to make , they come in both large family sized and smaller individual sized bags.
I bought and love these ones , but there are so many reusable silicone bags available that you can checkout here.
My tips for using Silicone Freezer Bags
Three quick tips, that I hope you will find helpful:
1. When you first open the silicone , there is a strong type odor. BUT if you wash the bags in the sink or the dishwasher it will get the smell out easily.
2. The seal is very tight on the zippers to start with. Put a little oil or water on the inside and outside of the zipper so the bar slides easier. Especially for the first few uses.
Once your bags are broken in and you get used to sliding at an efficient angle, you won’t need the lubrication anymore. I find that generally the silicone bags are easier to work with when the zips are wet.
3. Do not put the slide bar in the dishwasher, the high heat can warp the bar and make it harder to slide. The parts fit and seal tight when they are straight. I wouldn’t want to try to slide a warped bar.
4. When you , stand the bags upright in the sink and allow it to . You can fill the sink with warm water to speed up the defrosting process.
These silicone bags seal tight and are obviously built to last. I hope to get many more years of regular use out of these reusable bags and I’m sure you will too.
5. Steamer Pans to Freeze Meat without Plastic
Steamer pans are the pans used in bain-maries for buffet meals at hotels etc, Gastronorm is the most well known brand, these are similar to a that you might keep things in the in, but they are made of stainless steel.
These pans aren’t cheap, but they should last forever. They are stainless steel so won’t react with your food and they are stack-able. Perfect for the freezer!
Watch the prices and check the shipping costs – some of the shipping prices are crazy high.
Steamer Pan Sizes Best for the Freezer
Steamer pans come in different sizes based on what portion of a big pan they are – 1/1 being a very big pan, 1/2 being half that, 1/4 a quarter and so on right down to 1/9. They also come in different depths – 65mm, 100mm, 150mm, 200mm etc.
My pans arrived in the post today! YAY! As a starter kit, I bought 5 x 1/4 65mm pans and 5 x 1/4 100mm pans and 10 lids (and rural shipping) for $200.
Which seems like A LOT to pay for storage containers. But considering they should last me a lifetime and you think of all the money you would spend on rubbish disposal over your lifetime if you use several meat trays per week. It has got to add up.
Tips for Using Gastronorm / Steamer Pans in the Freezer
Usually we only store our for a week or two before using it.
For longer storage, I found that covering the top of the with baking paper, or pouring water over the top to protect the from the air. As it isn’t the cold that causes , it is actually the dry air.
They are particularly good for storing . The trick to compacting the well to keep the air out from between it., usually , chicken or rabbit. You can use them to store , or
I will keep you posted as to how well they work for us. What do you use to store your meat in the freezer or fridge?
UPDATE: Jan 2021 These pans are great when you can find a butcher that will fill them. I can’t wait to have homekill meat to use in these. I haven’t had any problem with freezer burn or anything. They are really a great solution for freezing meat without plastic.
Enjoyed this? Read on for more tips for going plastic free.
How do you store your frozen things without plastic? Let me know in the comments below.
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