For some reason, I’m having a problem with my jars cracking in the freezer. About 1/3 to 1/2 of my jars crack. Sometimes one jar will crack and the jar next to it, made the same day and filled with the same stuff, is fine. This never used to happen. I have tried the following fixes:
• Never fill them more than 3/4 full
• Switched from repurposed spaghetti sauce jars to proper Ball jars (not that I ever, um, buy spaghetti sauce in jars, um, I have no idea how all those jars got into, um , my house….)
• Freeze in steps— hot stuff counter-cooled, then fridge-cooled, and only then frozen
• Other way ‘round— boiling hot straight into freezer (this is not a good idea)
• Proper canning technique (pressure sealed)
• Improper canning technique (sterilize the jars, dump in food, close it up, hope for the best)
• Switched to only new jars (again, not optimum, what’s the point if you can’t reuse the container)
In the meantime, I can’t freeze anything that I can’t run through a sieve, so basically I can only save broth. Why are my jars cracking? What kind of containers are other people using?
I’ve never used a glass jar for freezing (well, that’s not true, I do have some garlic in olive oil in the freezer in a little pint jar!).
I use freezer bags for solids, and for liquids I use plastic containers (I’m partial to the Ziploc brand ones – the lids stay good and tight).
I have had some plastic containers crack on me, if they’ve been in for a long time and jostled around. But usually they’re in my basement “stock” freezer, so they aren’t moved much at all.
Oh, and I reuse the Ziploc containers over & over & over & over again.
I use Ziploc vacuum seal bags when I have them, or just plain freezer bags. I take the plain ones, fill them up, and close them most of the way, then squashing as much air out as possible to prevent freezer burn, and I am done. :)
If you have done a proper canning with pressure sealed lids you don’t need to put the jars in the freezer; they can go in any cupboard or shelf, the cooler and darker the better but my canned stuff survives perfectly well in cupboards and boxes in a moderately cool house around 18C. For stuff in the freezer, ie soft fruit that have been freeze dried on trays and then packed, larger fruit (plums, apricots etc) just cut up and packed, and veggies (blanched) and packed, these all go into plastic boxes. I don’t cook any of the fruit first because I don’t like the thought of fruit acids dissolving the plastic.
I really hate using plastic, and as rm points out, not such a good idea with fruit, I assume including tomatoes and squash, which is primarly what I freeze, along with broth. Should I just cut up my pumpkins and tomatoes and freeze as is, then make sauce/pulp when I need? How would that affect the taste and texture? Also, @rm, “proper canning” is the operative phrase— I know that’s the theory, but having had cans explode on me in the past, I never quite trust them.
if I was a man of means, I would do all my preserving in glass jars with glass lids. we’ve got a few old timey ball blue glass jars with glass lids, but weck is still making them. avoids the bisphenol-a on plastic coated lids and the corrosion on bare metal lids.
don’t have much advice for freezing. tomatoes are pretty easy and safe to can, though. I don’t think squash is much more difficult. cooked and cubed squash freezes well, particularly if you cook it just enough to cut easily and not to mush stage. you could pile those into a large glass container in the freezer instead of freezer bags. I’ve done squash this way and couldn’t tell the difference between it and fresh. I should point out that I’ve not got a particularly refined palate.
quite a few squash varieties also store really well whole in a cool closet or basement. some will do fine that way for over a year.