Words cannot describe how much I love zip lock bags. Well actually words can or this would be a very short blog post. I do love them though because they are so damned useful as well as being cheap. I generally have three varieties in the house, small/medium/ pour and store. The pour and store ones are the most expensive and using the right bag for the right purpose saves a few pennies.
So here are my uses for zip-lock bags
- Obviously the pour and store ones are used for liquids. I use them for batch cooked soups/stews/casseroles etc. They usually have a white label on them so you can just jot on what you have put in them. These are absolutely brilliant for taking camping or on self catering breaks as you don’t have to worry about cleaning containers (if you can find one, if you can then find the lid)
- Storing cheese, I use the small ones for this. Some packs of cheese have a self sealing option others don’t.
- Storing the odd half of onion/pepper/whatever I know you can buy onion keepers etc but really a cheap little bag does the job just as well.
- Storing bacon, once the pack is open simply transfer to a small bag. Or if it’s streaky bacon for cooking and you only use a couple of rashers at a time try this tip. Roll each rasher individually, then place into a zip lock bag and freeze. When you want just a rasher or two you can easily take some rather than having it frozen together in one solid lump,
- Freezing meat. There is far too much packaging on everything. Stick it in a zip lock bag, squeeze the air out and seal. Much more compact.
- Storing ice cube, yes you can buy the big bags of ice from the supermarket but you invariably end up ripping the bag open and then the ice leaks all over the freezer. Put it in a zip lock bag and you can prevent this.
- Storing tiny portions of sauces/stock/wine etc. You have a little wine or something left over. You place it in an ice-cube tray for a later date, then you need the ice-cube tray for something else. Pop the frozen cubes into a zip lock bag.
- Marinades. These are messy, smelly and can infuse other food in your fridge etc with the flavours but not if you do it in a zip lock bag. This also has the advantage that you can squidge and shake the bags as required.
- Salad, there is no doubt that pre-prepared salad bags from the supermarket are a time saver but they are also more expensive and not re-sealable. So make your own and store it in… a zip lock bag
- Kneading dough. This is brilliant. Put the dough in the bag, sprinkle flour on, seal the bag and then knead. No mess on the worktop, no flour all over you and the floor, clean hands for the inevitable phone ringing/door knock that happens when you are up to your elbows in dough. Fantastic.
- Underwear, yes I do keep my underwear in zip lock bags. Not because I want to keep it fresh but because I put matching bra and pants in the same bag that way I am not hunting for the matching knickers when I do want to wear nice undies. It may not save money but it does save time and it also makes your drawers tidier and look neater.
- Keep one in your handbag. That way when you buy any food stuffs or the children hand you a packet of half eaten sweets you can store them safely without risk of them escaping and ruining the inside of your bag. The same goes for compacts/lipsticks etc not kept in a makeup bag.
- Take a larger one out with you if it’s raining. Then you have somewhere to put your wet folding brolly without it dripping everywhere.
- Snipping the corner off one will make a great emergency piping bag.. for cake related emergencies..? You can also adapt this for a makeshift funnel.
- Use them to keep things contained when you are crushing nuts/crackers/biscuits.
- Putting seasoned flour into them and then adding whatever you need coating reduces the mess and the amount of flour you need to use.
- Herbs, soft fruits, vegetables, freeze these flat on trays so they are not lumped together and then place in zip lock bags. Then you can take as much or as little as you want.
- Store jigsaw pieces in them so that they don’t get lost (in theory)
- Make ice-cream
- Any dried foods can be stored in these to prevent leaking etc so flour, couscous, rice, etc.
- Use as an emergency splash resistant cover for your Kobo/Kindle/e-reader/phone
- Use as a medium for poaching fish, simply place the fish in the bag, add the required flavourings and then add to simmering water. This reduces the cooking smells and you can also add other bags with veg in to reduce the pans and cooking rings needed. Great when cooking for one or two or when you are camping and only have a small stove.
- Another camping tip, say you want to make pancakes or dumplings or anything like that really. Weigh out the dry ingredients at home, place in a zip lock bag, label and take with you. You can even use the bag as a mixing bowl.
- Store toothbrushes and toothpaste in them when traveling, these are usually damp so need to be kept separate from other items.
- Re-use them. As long as they have not been used for raw meat or fish etc I will re-use the bags. They are plastic. They are not absorbent. Wash them thoroughly then turn inside out to dry.
So there you have it, how do you live without them? I’d love to hear of any uses you have for them.