How to pack: top techniques

Having a selection of containers, resealable bags and freezer bags makes it a breeze to package ready-to-go meals.

One of the keys to storing food in the fridge, freezer or pantry is to ensure your package is as airtight as possible. Packaging techniques we recommend include:

For tips on making instant meals, visit How to package a Heat & Eat meal. Remember, to help avoid bacteria, pack and cool dishes as soon as possible.

Container

container

Equipment: Airtight container
Description: Perfect for storing in the fridge, freezer and pantry. This is the easiest technique – just add food and seal!
Ideal for: Salads, baked goods, dry goods, single and double serves and Heat&Eat meals.
Tips: Use a microwave-safe container if heating.
Use a screw-top container if transporting liquids.

How to package in a container

  1. Select an airtight container that’s as close as possible to the size of your portion.
  2. Scoop the desired amount into your container, allow the steam to stop rising then seal tightly.
  3. Date and label your container.
  4. Allow to cool in the fridge before transferring to the freezer. If condensation has formed on the lid, take it off carefully, shake off the liquid then reseal before freezing.

2-up in a container

container

Equipment: Airtight container
Description: This space-saving technique allows you to store two single serves in the one container by creating a division down the centre.
Ideal for: Freezing rice, mince or other semi-solid dishes.
Tip: Takeaway containers are a great size.

How to package 2-up in a container

While Hot:

  1. Scoop two serves into your container, but don’t fill right to the brim.
  2. Tear off a piece of greaseproof paper the width of your container and fold it in half. Push the seam into the centre of the container using a spoon or spatula to provide a neat divide in the mixture. Some liquid may seep between the two but that's OK.

  3. Seal with a lid and freeze.

2up2 2up3

When chilled:

  1. Scoop two serves into your container leaving a little space at the top. Seal tightly with a lid and refrigerate until completely cool (or overnight).
  2. Once cooled, use a spoon to cut a line down the centre of the contents and widen the gap a little until there is a clear divide between the two serves. Some liquid may seep between the two but that's OK.
  3. Reseal lid and freeze.

2up

To serve:

Simply remove one serve from the container and defrost. If a little liquid has formed in the space, you may need to pop the whole thing out of the container and 'snap' the two serves in half. Put the spare serve back in the container or a freezer bag and freeze.

Freezer bag

ziplock

Equipment: Freezer bag
Description: This is a great all-round technique suitable for the fridge, freezer or pantry – just pop your portion in and seal.
Ideal for: Cooked pasta and rice, pantry staples, raw meat and chicken, biscuits, cakes, sausages, cheese, vegetables and more.

How to package using a freezer bag

  1. Place your food in the bag, preferably in a single layer.
  2. Squeeze out as much air as possible.
  3. Seal the bag using a knot or twist tie as close as possible to the contents.
  4. Date and label the bag (a permanent marker is ideal).

Resealable flat pack

resealable

Equipment: Resealable bag
Description: This is a great space saver with a perfect seal. The uniform shape means packs stack easily.
Ideal for: Liquids or solids.
Use snack-sized bags for rice, single serves and small leftover ingredients. Use larger bags for single serves, soups or raw meat or chicken.
Tips: Resealable bags are not microwave safe – transfer to another container before heating.
If storing in sandwich-sized bags, make sure you have a suitable sized container to hold the frozen meal for defrosting.

How to package a resealable flat pack

  1. Label and date your resealable bag (it's easier when it is empty).
  2. Pour or place your food into the bag.
  3. Hold the bag upright and carefully seal the top. If air is trapped inside, create a small gap in the centre of the seal then work out the excess air by squeezing just above the line of the food and working the air upwards. Seal up the gap in the bag.
  4. If necessary, you can make the package smaller by folding two sides before placing it in the freezer.
  5. If you’re packaging soups or other liquids to freeze, take care that your bags don’t sag between the gaps in your freezer shelves – once the contents freeze the bag can become difficult to remove!

More packaging tips and tricks.