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Homemade boil-in-a-bag?

An elderly relative lives in another state and has difficulty eating properly, so we're trying to think of ways to cook and freeze meals to take her that she can reheat easily. She prefers using the oven to the microwave, but we do have one of those vacu-seal machines and the idea of heating some foods in boiling water came up.

Has anyone used this method? I've heard for ages that there are issues with heating some plastics and food safety so I'm hesitant (it's not like there aren't other methods we could use). I looked at the bags at the store but didn't find any information one way or the other; next step is to ask them directly, but I thought I'd throw the idea out here first.

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  1. I recently bought a food saver; I have reheated frozen rice in a sealed bag before with no problem. I will be trying other things such as cooked meats.

    1. I do it all the time! As long as you use the "Food Saver" or any other brand of plastic pouches designed for sous vide cooking or freezing you won't have any problems. One great advantage might be making stews, soups, whatever, in the pouches, freezing them, then shipping them to her packed with dry ice. I buy my dry ice from the customer service desk at WalMart. I've read about using Ziploc bags for this purpose but I don't trust it. I only use plastic pouches designed for boiling/cooking food.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Caroline1

        A ha! Thank you Caroline and Cheryl for the good tips. I agree about the Ziploc misgivings (in fact I would never even freeze a Ziploc storage bag--freezer bag only) but if Food Saver has reheating in mind, that makes a difference in my confidence. No one wants to poison family!

        1. re: ennuisans

          You may also want to be sure to use only BPA free plastic bags (ziplock bags are bpa free, generic bags will not be)

      2. Foodsaver makes Freeze 'N Steam bags that are microwave and simmer safe. Check their website or Amazon.

        1. You can simmer in them. From the FoodSaver Site:

          "When simmering food in a FoodSaver® bag, why does it split open at the seam?
          Only place bags with frozen food inside the simmering water. The coldness of the food will keep the bag from becoming too hot while the food is heating up. If the food in the bag was frozen, but the bag split anyway, your bags are most likely defective."

          1. I started doing this around thirty years ago when I was single. I put leftovers (gumbo, jambalaya, whatever) into a seal bag, froze it, and boiled it to reheat it. Be very careful that the pot used is big enough, if part of the bag hangs over the edge of a pot on a gas or traditional electric stove, it can melt and open the bag.