Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Food storage, for a single person?


Recommended Posts

I am, in many senses, a food storage dunce. Part of the reason is that my family growing up was fairly large (well, there were 5 of us total, but 4 were males) and there were no leftovers, or food got consumed so quickly it could be sitting out on the counter and not spoil before it got eaten. Part of the reason is that I lived with roommates for many years; similar situation.

The past few years have been more difficult. Allow me to pose my food storage conundrums.

* a brick of cheese - I put in a ziplock bag, but if I don't take a bit for 2 days, it starts getting hard.

* sausages - if I buy 4 or 6, do I cook and refrigerate, or just refrigerate? How long will they keep?

* bread - I've long ago learned to keep refrigerated, and it seems okay.

In general, I seek your advice!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Try freezing the bread instead, if its presliced. Its easy to pull slices out, and they thaw very quickly. The bread stays fresher longer.

Sausages - cook what you will eat. Freeze the rest.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Link to post
Share on other sites
And the cheese? :)

If it's a two pound loaf, say, break it down into four four parts and wrap separately. That way, only the bit that you're using is exposed to the temperature and humidity changes.

Shelley: Would you like some pie?

Gordon: MASSIVE, MASSIVE QUANTITIES AND A GLASS OF WATER, SWEETHEART. MY SOCKS ARE ON FIRE.

Twin Peaks

Link to post
Share on other sites
I am, in many senses, a food storage dunce.  Part of the reason is that my family growing up was fairly large (well, there were 5 of us total, but 4 were males) and there were no leftovers, or food got consumed so quickly it could be sitting out on the counter and not spoil before it got eaten.  Part of the reason is that I lived with roommates for many years; similar situation.

The past few years have been more difficult.  Allow me to pose my food storage conundrums.

* a brick of cheese - I put in a ziplock bag, but if I don't take a bit for 2 days, it starts getting hard.

* sausages - if I buy 4 or 6, do I cook and refrigerate, or just refrigerate?  How long will they keep?

* bread - I've long ago learned to keep refrigerated, and it seems okay.

In general, I seek your advice!

Smarmoton, fellow single eater!

You'll need to invest in some supplies, namely freezer storage bags, plastic wrap, foil, and pre-cut parchment/wax paper. I tend to buy my things in bulk at Costco since it's located five minutes from my place.

Big packages of chicken parts, pork chops, sausages: Once I get them home, I portion them and wrap them in parchment paper and then in foil and place them in a freezer storage bag. I mark the bag (or write on a piece of paper & put it in the bag), noting what the item is AND THE DATE!! Yes, it takes a little extra time. Mind you, it's worth it, unless you're good at "What's that mystery meat?".

Russell J. Wong aka "rjwong"

Food and I, we go way back ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

Smarmotron, I think you sound like the perfect candidate for a Food-Saver. Especially for cheese. If you vacuum pack hard cheeses you would not be limited to one and could enjoy a variety of cheese.

There are only two of us and I consider this to be one of my most essential appliances. I buy most of our meat in bulk and separate it into portions before vacuum sealing and freezing it.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

Link to post
Share on other sites

Consider the possibility of buying as many Europeans still do. In order to do that you will have to develop the knowledge that shopping, especially for small amounts of food on a daily or bi-daily basis can be a most pleasurable activity.

First of all, seek out those shops that carry the very best of the products you want to eat. At the butcher's for example, don't hesitate to buy two lamb chops; at a cheese shop don't be the least bit embarrassed to order two slices of this and a small wedge of that; at the greengrocers purchase just those fruits and vegetables you want with that day's meals; at a baker's shop, buy just the amount of bread you want or need for the next twenty-four hours; and at the chocolate shop, just a few chocolate truffles or pralines as you like.

First of all, that will give you the pleasure of buying precisely what you want and at the quality level you demand; second, it will give you a pleasurable time every day with various shopkeepers; and third of all it will avoid the sin of leftovers that go bad.

As to the time involved - shouldn't be a problem. Pleasure always takes a certain amount of time.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Consider the possibility of buying as many Europeans still do.  In order to do that you will have to develop the knowledge that shopping, especially for small amounts of food on a daily or bi-daily basis can be a most pleasurable activity. 

. . .

As to the time involved - shouldn't be a problem.  Pleasure always takes a certain amount of time.

While I enjoy this kind of shopping, for most people with full time jobs, I don't think it's a realistic option. Most Americans don't live in places where there are butchers and cheese shops and produce markets within walking distance, so it would mean driving around on the way home (and that's if these shops are open later than 6pm), getting home and starting dinner even later than otherwise. Wonderful in theory; not in practice for most of us.

I think it's possible to compromise, though, between buying one lamb chop or a few ounces of cheese, and buying a family pack of chops and several pounds of cheese. Meat (including sausage) freezes well, as does bread (refrigerating bread slows down mold but causes it to dry out faster). So you can buy those in bigger quantities. Cheese will keep if it's wrapped well, but unless you go through it fast, don't buy the giant bricks -- buy 8 ounces.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found that buying larger qtys of things that freeze or store well, and then stopping every few days for produce worked pretty well when I was single. Its a sort of mid-model between that of buying it all in bulk and that described by Daniel Rogov. And it keeps one in the most pleasant section of the market/grocery store on the more frequent outings.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I keep bricks of cheese darn near forever (ok, that's an exaggeration, but a long time) wrapped in paper towels inside ziplock bags. The paper towels keep the cheese and its moisture from touching the plastic, which tends to delay the growth of mold and slime. When the paper towels start feeling pretty damp, I throw out the old one and rewrap.

Bacon: remove slices from the large package, portion into however many you usually eat at one time, and wrap in plastic wrap. I usually lay out the plastic wrap, put one slice of bacon on the end, fold it over, then put another slice on top, so the slices are separated by the plastic wrap. I do 4 slice packages that way, then store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. They defrost quickly in the microwave.

I completely agree with portioning out the proteins, wrapping, labeling, and freezing. Again, they defrost pretty well in the microwave.

Sausages freeze brilliantly uncooked.

I'm cooking for two, but I often make up the full batch (feeds 4 or 6 or whatever) of curries and the like and freeze the rest in meal size portions. That's my idea of fast food - defrost, heat, and it's a lot better than those frozen dinner things. This does require having a certain amount of Rubbermaid/Tupperware/Gladware/whatever containers around, but those cheap ones in the stores work well.

Rice also freezes well. I make up a large batch, then portion and freeze in ziplock bags. Two minutes in the microwave and it's hot and fluffy and ready to go.

In other words, your freezer is your best friend :biggrin:

Marcia.

Don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he wanted...he lived happily ever after. -- Willy Wonka

eGullet foodblog

Link to post
Share on other sites

I live alone and found the best solution for cheeses and other foods was a food saver machine. I got one at a close out store for about 75% off the list price. It certainly paid for itself in stopping food from going bad. I found vacuuming sealing stuff in wide mouth canning jars to be better than bags for most stuff. No air = no mold, no dehydration.

I can cut an 8oz block of cheese in thirds and seal them up and they keep for months and months. I used to lose volumes of sour cream, cheeses (hard and soft) ricotta, berries, lunch meats, milk, etc to mold before I started vacuum sealing. I can keep fresh blueberries for 2 weeks without them getting moldy. I even found it to help keeping that half sweet pepper, celery or onion fresh longer.

I make a whole pot of pasta sauce, stew, soup and ladle it into canning jars, vacuum seal and freeze for later. Pint jars are enough for 2 meals for me.

Can you tell I love this thing???

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been looking into a foodsaver as another single eater (who prefers to buy in bulk and cook in bulk whenever possible) but I've never actually used one--when you take out a portion, do you just slit the bag open and then reseal it? or do you have to use a fresh bag?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding bacon, buy the pound of bacon and fry it all up in a cast iron skillet. Set aside some bacon for immediate use and then put the rest of the cooked bacon in a ziploc bag (or vac seal it) and freeze it. Take out slices as you need them and use the microwave to reheat them. You can also portion it into separate bags and freeze them, taking out a portion at a time.

The frying of the bacon is great for seasoning your cast iron skillet. You also get yummy rendered bacon fat to use in other dishes (store it in a jar in the refrigerator). And the frozen bacon is easy to access and use anytime you need it.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to post
Share on other sites
I've been looking into a foodsaver as another single eater (who prefers to buy in bulk and cook in bulk whenever possible)  but I've never actually used one--when you take out a portion, do you just slit the bag open and then reseal it? or do you have to use a fresh bag?

Since I use a lot of canning jars (wide mouth quarts and pints) I can just remove what I want and reseal them. I rarely reseal bags, you have to leave a lot of extra bag to do that. Most of the times the bags are too dirty in the corners and I am bad about washing them and hanging them to dry, so I toss the used ones. I don't like the messiness in my frig or freezer of all those bag ends hanging out. When I use the wide mouth jars, I can just defrost slighty and slip the contents out, that won't work with a normal canning jar with a shoulder. I can also easily seal liquids in a jar without sucking the liquid into the machine, - a problem with using liquid and bags.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Regarding bacon, buy the pound of bacon and fry it all up in a cast iron skillet. Set aside some bacon for immediate use and then put the rest of the cooked bacon in a ziploc bag (or vac seal it) and freeze it. 

Toliver, you actually have uneaten bacon once it's cooked?

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

Link to post
Share on other sites
Consider the possibility of buying as many Europeans still do.  In order to do that you will have to develop the knowledge that shopping, especially for small amounts of food on a daily or bi-daily basis can be a most pleasurable activity. 

I'm a big fan of this. When I was working a 9 to 5 I almost always stopped at one of many stores on the way home. Were talking public transportation too. One of the advantages of living in a congested urban area.

Really good on the pocket book too. I through out less. Many stores sell a few items at cost to get you in their store. If your going to the store 4 or 5 times a week you can pick off these staples pretty easily.

"And in the meantime, listen to your appetite and play with your food."

Alton Brown, Good Eats

Link to post
Share on other sites

And use the salad bar at your store, if it has one. If a whole green pepper, or bag of carrots start rotting before you cook them, you can buy just as much chopped green peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc., as you'll need for one pot of soup, or one pan of stir-fry.

This method also saves a lot of prep time when you get home.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Regarding bacon, buy the pound of bacon and fry it all up in a cast iron skillet. Set aside some bacon for immediate use and then put the rest of the cooked bacon in a ziploc bag (or vac seal it) and freeze it. 

Toliver, you actually have uneaten bacon once it's cooked?

:laugh::laugh: I have to put at least some of it in the freezer. Just the thought of eating a pound of bacon in one sitting, though doable :wink:, hardens my arteries.

Along those lines, I intentionally don't buy ice cream because if I buy it, I know I'll eat it.

I'm single and I've been thinking about buying a FoodSaver. I bought the Pro series (someone on eGullet posted about a great deal for it on Amazon) for my brother and his family last Christmas and I just found out they haven't used it yet! :shock: Now I wish I had kept it for myself. :angry:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...