While Ziploc bags and plastic wrap can be useful for sealing up food that’s going into the freezer, there are better alternatives—ones that are better for both you and the environment.
The problem with these simple plastic solutions is that they can leach chemicals (bisphenols A and S). On top of that, they don’t last forever, meaning they’ll eventually become waste. To go plastic-free in the freezer, here are a number of great alternatives.
Mason or Ball jars are very good for freezing, as long as you use the wide-mouth variety and do not fill to the very top. Leave a good inch at least for the contents to expand. It is also recommended to pour a 1/2-inch of water over any frozen food in a glass jar to provide further protection from the freezer air; rinse off this ice seal with warm water before thawing the rest of the contents. Other kinds of jars are not recommended, since the glass is usually not thick enough to withstand expansion.
Metal is great in the freezer. You can put an open can of food directly into the freezer (it’s safer than storing food in a can in the refrigerator). It thaws quickly in a dish of hot water. For a quality metal container, check out these Korean-made stainless steel food storage containers.
If you are freezing food for a shorter period of time – 2-3 weeks at most – you can wrap in unbleached butcher paper or waxed paper sheets or bags. Butcher paper doesn’t seal the food as well as waxed paper, but it makes a good first-layer wrap. Double or triple for longer freezing periods. Seal any kind of paper wrap with freezer tape.
Foil is fragile, and if there’s a single hole that can mean freezer burn for whatever it contains; but if you’re careful with wrapping, the foil is a great option for the freezer. With that said, the foil is only an eco-friendly if it can be recycled locally. If not, it’s better to avoid it.
You can reuse waxed milk, juice, and cream cartons in the freezer. They are especially good for stocks and soups since they allow for expansion and are waterproof. Cut open at the top, wash out well, and seal up with freezer tape. As with all opaque containers, be sure to label clearly so you know what’s inside.
Many fruits don’t need packaging of any kind in the freezer, such as tomatoes, bananas, and peaches. Even better, their skins will slip off easily once thawed.