When we first started making food pods we tried many different ways of packaging them to keep them fresh the longest and keep our costs low. Most sites told us to use plastic containers -- but these had numerous problems: they cracked under freezing, stained from food use, made extraction of the food for reheating difficult, and were constantly lost in shuttling frozen food back and forth to work. We tried plastic bags, but found that they did not provide adequate protection against freezer burn and were surprisingly hard to extract for the bag for reheating.
We might have lived with these issues except for the one fatal flaw shared by all of these methods: they concentrated on the the process of freezing without considering the process of microwave reheating, a process governed by rules different from conventional cooking. It is the process of reheating that will affect your meal quality the most, and if you are to enjoy frozen meals you must freeze with reheating in mind.
After a lot of experimentation we found foil packs wrapping food in the shape of a large toothpaste tube to be by far the best way to package most food pods. The heavy duty foil protects the food from moisture better than most alternatives, and the long cylindrical shape reduces the amount of hot and cold spots you will get on reheating your food. The foil and shape of the pods not only works well in the microwave, it also works well with conventional oven reheating.
Folding the foil packs right and with the least amount of air is crucial to delicious reheated mealpods. Read the folding instructions to the right and watch the videos below to see how we do it.
- Heavy duty foil instead regular foil. Heavy duty foil doesn't tear when you fold it and its thickness provides a better moisture barrier in the freezer.
- Gallon Sized Freezer bags for storing your Mealpods
Storing Your Mealpods
After folding all your Mealpods place them all in a gallon size freezer bag and label the recipe and date on the freezer bag. The freezer bag will give them extra protection and ensure that the Mealpods aren't falling out of your freezer every time you open the door.
You can store your Mealpods in the freezer for about 2-3 months for a fresh result.
Using Plastic Containers
If you make a recipe that is too liquid to put in a foil pack without running through the seams, you can use small portion-sized cheap plastic containers with lids. The lids do become brittle when you freeze them so when reheating peel off the lid carefully. We group our plastic containers in gallon sized bags just like the foil packs for extra freshness.
- freeze in a cylindrical shape to allow for more uniform reheating
- Let cool before freezing
- use heavy duty foil
- Allow the least amount of air in your pod by wrapping correctly
- Store pods in a gallon sized freezer bag for organization and extra protection
- use a recipe with at least some fat to keep it moist
- Recipes that work well for Mealpods include: Stews, Casseroles, Currys, Rice Dishes, Pastas with Sauces
- Don't Cook pastas and other grains all the way b4 making your pods, then when they reheat they will not be mushy
- Tear off approximately 12" x 12" sheets of HEAVY DUTY aluminum foil, enough to hold the recipe yield.
- Spoon your portion of food in a line into the center of the foil to make a "burrito shape." This will prevent cold spots when reheating.
- Fold up the two sides of foil on either side of your line of food (see video).
- Crease the foil going along the back edge .
- Fold over the foil and roll it down towards the food so the edge of the foil gets tucked under the fold and isn't exposed to air.
- Roll up the remaining two sides.
Watch the video to see how easy it is.