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Ina Garten’s Rules For Freezer Meals And Food Storage Are Worth Memorizing

If you're freezing food for later, remember these first.

Ina Garten, resident stay-home queen, has been posting useful kitchen and grocery advice on her Instagram all week.

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All to help us during ~these times~, of course. 🙏

Ina's shared everything from her go-to pantry pasta to her pick for an easy dessert to make with kids.

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Those would be broccoli and bowties and jam thumbprint cookies. 😋

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Her latest post is a crash course in make-ahead freezer meals and food storage — and it's worth memorizing.

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Let's break down a few of her tips, shall we?

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First rule, according to Ina: Before you pack and freeze meals for later, allow food to cool down to room temperature first.

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This helps prevent still-warm foods from partially thawing other already-frozen ones — which can affect taste and texture. Read more here.

Recipe: Instant Pot Vegetable Stew

Then, remember: "Leave space [at the top of] the container — because liquids expand when they freeze."

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Chilis, sauces, soups. ✅

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And don't stack containers until they’re frozen, says Ina. That way food can freeze quickly, evenly, and completely.

This is especially key if your containers are plastic or not hard-shell. Spread them out first if you have the room.

Ina also highlights two simple-but-important points: 1) Label + date everything. And 2) Defrost food overnight in the fridge, not on the counter.

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A few more tips I'd add, as someone who's also been trial and error-ing freezer meals lately.

(And sidenote: The point of freezing food right now isn't to hoard. It's to hopefully waste less, put off your next grocery trip, and — for fellow parents with kids at home! 👋 — allow you to bulk-prep when you have the time.)

Invest in durable freezer-safe containers.

Judging by her IG, Ina's into plastic quart containers. I have a set similar to these glass ones. Either are v. useful!

Get a set of 24 lidded plastic containers for $16.99; or a set of 8 lidded glass containers for $29.99, both from Amazon.

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Or if you don't have vertical space for tall containers, flat-freeze meals in resealable bags.

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The meals can be cooked or not — and flat-stacked bags are a really efficient way to utilize space in a small freezer.

Read more: 6 Crock Pot Freezer Meals

Last thing? Remember that you can (and should!) freeze foods you're maybe not thinking about.

Or stuff you'd otherwise toss — like about-to-wilt herbs, or leftover boxed broth or tomato paste.

Read more: 16 Food Storage Hacks For Stretching Your Groceries As Long As Possible

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What are your most useful tips and tricks for food storage and freezer meals right now? Share in the comments. 🥘

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