How Dating Your Food Can Lead to Loving It More

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Everyone faces the issue of food storage. Perhaps you have a great new recipe for tomato sauce and you decide to can it for future use. Or maybe you have a bumper crop of berries to preserve. You might just want to know how to make some meals ahead or keep leftovers fresh. In any of these cases, dating your food will be an invaluable resource toward organizing and making the most of what you have worked so hard to create.

When it comes to the question of canning, there are many good books and other resources available online that will give you detailed instructions but here are a few handy tips to get you started. First, begin with something tomato based, such as the sauce mentioned above. Tomatoes are very acidic and thus resistant to bacteria. Also, only can in a meticulously clean environment. You might even want to plan your canning session right after spring cleaning, since that is when vegetables are their freshest and your kitchen the cleanest. It is also important to have the right equipment, including an accurate thermometer. This is not the time to just guess at the temperature. And finally, when you have finished the job, take time to carefully write on the jar lids a description of the contents, the date they were canned and the date they should be used by. You can obtain this last bit of information from your canning book or online.

Even if canning seems to daunting, you can still store food for future use. For instance, suppose you hit the jack pot at the pick it yourself berry farm. Just bring the berries home, wash them thoroughly and let them dry on a stack of paper towels. Do not try to rub them dry as that can damage their delicate skins. Then spread the berries in a single layer on a cookie sheet and freeze them for several hours. While they are freezing, get out several zip type bags (as many as you think you will need) and a permanent marker. Write the date, the type of berries and the use by date on each bag. To get an accurate use by date you can check online or consult your local agricultural extension office. When the berries are solid all you need do is pour them from the cookie sheet into an zip type bag, close and store.

Perhaps the best reason to store food is to have some extra meals on hand for busy days or if you are expecting guests. There are hundreds a recipes available today that are freezer friendly but if you want to stick to a recipe you already have here are some ways to make it freezer ready. First, you should know that meats in marinades freeze beautifully. Before you start preparing the food, take time to write, in permanent marker, the name of what you are freezing and the date. Then prepare your favorite marinade in the labeled bag and add you meat of choice. Then close the bag most of the way and press the sides together until the marinade rises to the top. This indicates that you have removed all the air so finish closing and your are done. To make the package easy to stack, you can place the bag in any rectangular container and let it freeze solid in a brick shape. Then remove it from the container and store. This allows you a stack the maximum number of items neatly in a small space.

On final tip on dating your food. In addition to writing the date on the storage bag, it is also handy to keep list of what you have and when it was prepared attached to your freezer. By listing items in order of completion, you can use them up in an efficient way and make the most of your efforts.

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