The technique of quick freezing or ‘flash freezing’ food was invented by Clarence Birdseye in the early 1900s—a technique that revolutionized the frozen food industry. You can access this same type of technique using your home freezer and a few items from your kitchen. Flash freezing works well on many types of foods, but is especially convenient for small food items you wish to freeze and have access to in individual portion sizes. Flash freezing food keeps it from sticking together and locks in food flavors.
Prepare a baking sheet or pan with a thin layer of cooking spray, or use pans with a non-stick surface.
Cook the food you wish to flash freeze and immediately layer it in a single layer across the pan. It is fine if items touch one another on the pan, just do not stack them on top of each other. You may also flash freeze raw items such as meats, berries and cookie, pizza and bread doughs.
Move the pan into the freezer at once, uncovered. Do not let the surface of the food touch anything else in the freezer. Place on a shelf that allows adequate airflow above the pan to reach the food quickly.
Leave the pan inside of the freezer until the food is solidly frozen—four to six hours is usually adequate for small food items such as meatballs but you may leave larger items overnight. Be sure to remove them first thing in the morning to avoid freezer burn.
Place the individually frozen items into a large plastic bag made for vacuum packaging. If you do not own a vacuum sealer, you may use plastic freezer bags, but remove as much air as possible after you have filled the bag.
Remove the air with a vacuum sealer or press excess air out of the bag with your hands. You may insert a clean straw into the bag and suck out any remaining air, but be careful not to breathe back into the bag. Tightly seal the bag and label it with the date and contents. Return the bag to the freezer until ready to use.
Double seal items you have in freezer baggies to help avoid freezer burn.
If you are using a vacuum sealer on items you plan to open more than once, leave addition room at the top of the plastic to cut into it and then reseal after opening. Be sure no air is left inside of the extra plastic area you initially leave at the top.
Use only heavy-duty freezer bags, as others not made for freezing may break or allow in unwanted air.