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How to Freeze Food in Glass Jars and without Plastic
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Freezing food and liquids in glass containers is absolutely possible and can help you avoid plastic and trash. Find out how it's done safely!

Freezing food is the best method to preserve vitamins and other vital ingredients in fruit and vegetable. I love storing some of my home grown produce and using it during the winter. Unfortunately we often use plastic containers or even one time use only plastic bags for this.

There are many good reasons to avoid plastic products and wrapping, especially when it comes to storing and preparing food. So, is there an plastic free alternative for the freezer?

A quick and easy solution to this is freezing in glass jars! This works much better than you may think. You probably have heard of breaking bottles before that were stored too long in the freezer. This gives rise to the common believe, that freezing food in glass jars isn’t possible or at least advisable. With some care and the right approach though, breaking jars are almost impossible. In this post, I’ll explain how it works and what you have to keep in mind for successfully freezing food in glass jars.

What jars are suitable for freezing?

Generally all twist off cap jars for jam, honey, fruit and vegetables can be used. I prefer round jars with a wide opening with a straight shape.

Freezing food and liquids in glass containers is absolutely possible and can help you avoid plastic and trash. Find out how it's done safely!
by Joel Kramer [CC-BY-2.0]
If you want to freeze a lot of food it may be worth buying jars that are ideal for freezing, for example these. They are resistant to temperature changes and are even less likely to break. You can get them in different sizes to create perfect portions for one or more meals.

What can I freeze in glass jars?

You can freeze solids and fluids without problem in glass jars. Fresh berries, beans, peas and similar should be washed, drained or dried and poured loosely into the jars. Larger items like apples, coliflower or rhubarb schould be portioned first and layered losely into jars. It doesn’t make much of difference whether you store these jars standing up or lay them in the freezer.

Now with fluids, that’s where it gets interesting. You can also freeze soups, sauces, baby food, apple sauce and other fluid items directly into the jars and freeze them. However, unlike with fruit and vegetables you don’t have airpockets in the jars into which the froozen food can expand. Therefore the risk of breaking glass is higher. You need to use a small trick to prevent the breaking.

Freezing fluids without breaking glass

When freezing water expands and completely filled up jars can easily break. Even if the freeze without breaking, the chances of a break are still high when thawing. To avoid this, only fill about three quarters of each glass and ensure that you freeze them standing up. This way, you keep enough space for the fluids to expand and the stress on the glass is equally distributed on all sides. These jars even have a conical shape, so when expanding, the frozen food pushes slightly upward and reduces the pressure even more.

Generally, the bigger the footprit of the jear relative to volume the less likely it will break, simply because there is more space to expand and the pressure is spread across a larger area. Consequently avoid especially tall and narrow jars and use wider ones instead.

Heated iteams should only be portioned and placed into the freezer once they are completely cooled down to room temperature.

Thawing frozen food the right way

Thwaing berries and similar items usually doesn’t cause any issues. Give them a quick shake and you can easily pour out the desired amount. The rest goes straight back into the freezer.

Fluids on the other hand should be thawed slowly at first. Ideally you should place the jars into the refrigerator for a few hours. Never place jars straight from the freezer into hot or boiling water. Breaking glass is almost garuanteed.

We hope that you can use these tips to get rid of plastic containers and single use freezing bags. Instead use the ecological and healthy alternative glass.

Freezing food and liquids in glass containers is absolutely possible and can help you avoid plastic and trash. Find out how it's done safely!
photo by Frédérique Voisin-Demery [CC-BY-2.0]
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What are your thoughts on freezing food in glass jars? Do you have other ideas for a more sustainable kitchen? Leave us a comment below.

  • B.Liston

    Is there more chance of freezer-burn with 3/4 filled jars of soups/other liquids? Would a circle of waxed or parchment paper put on top of food before closing avoid freezer-burn?

    • The risk is slightly higher but we haven’t had any issues with it in the past. Key is to keep it constantly frozen and avoid uncontrolled thawing. a piece of wax paper may help, but we have no experience with it. Have you had issues before?

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