I'm trying to balance my new found interest in cooking & healthy eating with efficiency and not spending soo much time in the kitchen.
I discovered a new term recently: OAMC ("once a month cooking": spend one day per month a do a ton of cooking, preparing 30 days worth of home-cooked, ready-to-go frozen meals). Cooking in bulk would be more efficient and less expensive.
Here's the issue:
I'm really concerned about storing food in plastic, and especially heating food in plastic.
I have been cooking stuff fresh in the morning, then using corning ware ceramic 20oz mugs to transport & re-heat my lunches at work. The corning ware is made in china so who really knows how much heavy medals or other badness is in it anyway.
If I want to do bulk food prep, I won't have the freezer space to use these types of large containers. And, there's too much air volume inside so the contents would be subject to freezer burn.
I toyed with the idea of getting a foodsaver vacuum sealer for bulk cooking, but I'm simply concerned I'm trading my health for convenience. On the other hand, home-cooked paleo chow (even in plastic) is probably way way better than what I was doing before going paleo.
From what I understand, folks who use vac pac foodsaver type systems sometimes BOIL their frozen meal in plastic. HOW HEALTHY IS THAT? Is it better than microwaving them?
I generally like pressure cooked beef/chicken in some kind of home made bone broth with rice and veggies. I have the impression that if the food is frozen in liquid, it's less subject to freezer burn. IS THAT TRUE?
Do stews/soups lend themselves to vac pac type systems?
Maybe I should freeze it in plastic vac pac, then cut open, take the frozen block of meal and put in a glass container to microwave it? Will the frozen meal be frozen to the plastic or do I have to thaw it somewhat to get it out of the plastic and into the glass?
Any suggestions on this topic would be greatly appreciated.
asked byCaveMan_Mike (3275)
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on April 05, 2013
at 01:40 AM
I think there's a lot of controversy about whether plastics really leach estrogeneric compounds into our food or not. What we DO know is that they find the plastic compounds in our bloodstreams, breast milk, etc. What we don't know is whether or not this is bad. Seems to me, foreign substances in the body are bad. I choose to err on the side of caution and I'm working on ridding my kitchen of as many plastics as is practical. Not 100% perfect, but much better than when we used to use a LOT of plastics.
My great "discovery" is glass canning jars. They come in a variety of sizes, they're chemically inert. Kerr and Ball canning lids DO have BPA inside the liners, but I try not to let it touch my food. When it might touch the food, I try to place something underneath the lid to prevent the direct contact--foil if the food isn't too acidic, unbleached parchment if it is. There is another brand with BPA-free lids, but I haven't gone there yet.
For $20 you can buy a rechargeable hand held vacuum sealer made by Food Saver. For another $20 or so, you can buy both sizes of Food Saver Vacuum sealer jar attachments (regular and wide mouth) at Amazon.com. You can use the hand held vacuum sealer with these attachments to seal the jars--works GREAT. I got the idea here: http://www.salad-in-a-jar.com/salad-in-a-jar/yes-you-can-use-a-handheld-vacuum-pack-machine-to-seal-salad-in-a-jar BTW, this hand held sealer works on our Vacu Vin wine bottle stoppers too--no more pumping!
I even take my lunch to work in these jars--I've knitted "sleeves" for them so they don't knock together in my lunch bag. I got a few strange looks from my office mates, but this works great. I can even reheat hot food in the jar (without the lid, of course).
Oh, and Walmart seems to carry a good variety of jar sizes year round. Otherwise it can be hard to find canning jars except in the fall.
on April 04, 2013
at 03:56 PM
Suggestion: get rid of your plastic phobia. Phobias are unhealthy.
Another suggestion: eating nothing but frozen TV dinners, even if home-made, would suck.
Yet another suggestion, one that you might actually find useful: if you want to take something frozen out of a plastic bag, put it into the sink under the hot water for 30 seconds or so, the plastic bag will "unfreeze" and you'll be able to take your slab of ice out of it.
on April 04, 2013
at 05:05 PM
Lumifer I think your answer isn't very helpful or kind. I too would like to know if anyone has input on this topic. I am trying to find a healthy, less time consuming way to feed my family. I do not like to stock my freezer up with food and have no room for other foods-but if we are planning a month at a time it may be doable! We feed our dogs raw so our fridge is always full of raw chicken for them-would be nice to have meals made that are not too boring for the family.