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Labeling plastic containers for freezer storage

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What do you use to label plastic containers in your freezer, to keep track of what and especially when you froze the contents? I've had trouble with felt pens (Sharpies and similar) and with adhesive file labels. Suggestions?

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  1. Generally use a Sharpie but my mother always used (and uses) a grease pencil.

    3 Replies
      1. re: rjbh20

        Same here. I freeze so much stock and the tape stays on with no problem, and removes easily.

      2. re: Sushiqueen36

        I use a Sharpie and never have a problem scrubbing off the writing later.

      3. masking tape and a sharpie. Old fashion masking tape seems to come off the best but even if it doesn't another piece over old holds up well too. Its cheap too!

        3 Replies
        1. re: foodieX2

          Exactly what I do.

          And I can use a longer piece if I want to indicate something is vegan or gluten free so I know later

          1. re: autumm

            Me three. I find that after a trip through the dishwasher the writing is usually washed off enough that I can reuse the tape and write something else!

          2. re: foodieX2

            The cheaper the better for labeling. Don't go for any tape that's for painting/has a glossy, stucco-like surface.

          3. I freeze in glass most of the time. Use masking tape and sharpie.
            When I use zip locks for dry items, I have started to write on a piece if paper and stick it inside the package. I can write notes on the paper too. It lets me reuse the zip locks neatly :)

            1. Picked up 3/4 rolls of neon colored masking tape (about 1/2" wide) for next to nothing at a yard sale. Sharpie works well and tape peels off easily. That way don't end up with containers with previouscontents crossed out on actual container lids.

              1. Many thanks to all. I guess I wrongly assumed that if file labels wouldn't stick, then neither would masking tape.

                But I could never get a Sharpie or grease pencil to write or remain on our plastic containers. Mysteries never cease.

                1. Regular masking tape comes unstuck for me,,,I use freezer tape, which looks the same but must have a different adhesive,

                  5 Replies
                      1. re: rdt01

                        I find it in my grocery store, don't know if that is true of most.

                        1. re: Liz K

                          yes - it's usually with the plastic wrap/foil/etc. where I shop.

                          The adhesive is cold-resistant, so you don't end up with frozen, petrified labels piled up at the bottom of your freezer, as can happen with regular masking tape.

                      2. I just write on a scrap of paper or a post-it note and tape the note with transparent scotch tape to the plastic lid, taping over the hand-written note. Never had any fail to adhere, even after a year in the freezer.

                        1. Tapes and labels adhere well if the lid is oil-free, dry, and NOT cold. You need to apply them when you fill the container, not after it's been chilled. Freezer tape is sold in hardware stores and in the houseware aisle of supermarkets.

                          Sharpies and magic markers also need to be used when the plastic is clean, dry, and not cold. Scrubbing is not needed to remove writing if you just swipe the plastic with a cloth or paper towel that's been dampened with rubbing alcohol, which instantly dissolves and removes the ink.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: greygarious

                            Thank you, Jannie and Grey.

                            Great info from everybody, and I appreciate it all.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              Agree with all these points. One addition:

                              Masking tape will stay on fine if applied to clean, dry, not-cold rigid containers or ziplocs that will freeze flat.

                              But for bags that will have potentially mobile 'lumps', freezer tape or writing right on the bag works better.

                              1. re: ellabee

                                I use painters tape (green and blue rolls). Never a problem if put on clean and dry containers.

                                1. re: sedimental

                                  I use painters tape too with a sharpie. Works great!

                            2. I use cheap masking tape- always have it in my kitchen drawer. HIgher end masking tape doesn't hold ink that well.

                              1. I use a sharpie, to remove I use a small drop of cooking oil on a paper towel and rub the writing off.

                                1. I have recently started using the Listo brand of grease pencils. They will write on plastic containers just out of the freezer as well as wet plastic containers. The writing stays on even through the dishwasher but easily rubs off with a paper napkin. These are not peel off grease pencils which usually broke for me. They are like automatic pencils. Ordered a box of 12 black and liked them so much that I later ordered a box of 12 multi color. Am finding other uses for them around the house as well. Refills are available as well but I think that I may already have a life time supply.

                                  1. For containers, I use a P-Touch label machine. I've never had a problem with the label adhesive in the freezer (stays on fine), yet you can peel it off with your fingernail under an edge easy enough when you want to remove it later.

                                    Everything else that is foil-wrapped and/or wrapped in freezer bags get the Sharpie.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: team_cake

                                      I use the p touch also for containers. I turn the end with no writing over on itself so I have a tap for lifting of when empty vola clean cover

                                    2. I use black sharpie on 3M blue removeable painters tape from your local hardware store tape or on 3M neon green or yellow body shop painters tape found at any automotive store.

                                      Sticks awesome to both containers and bags but does not leave a residue or adhesive like stickers do. Temp does not effect it.

                                      The 3M stuff is so good I can pull off and stick to the face of the fridge once lableled and the dish gets eaten and then reuse when throwing the next batch back into the freezer weeks later.

                                      1. I switched from freezer tape to painting tape because IME the freezer tape strips into thin tails as I tear it off the roll unless I pull extremely slowly and carefully, and the blue tape tears cleanly. It adheres to and peels from the containers very well.

                                        1. Sharpie and masking or duct tape

                                          1. I use special labels that hold up at cold temperatures and don't come unstuck. They come on a roll and I order them from Walter Drake. Have used them for years. Very reliable.

                                            1. I write with a Sharpie on masking tape. I've never had a problem with the tape coming off.

                                              1. Either paper labels attached to containers with clear packing tape or magic tape
                                                sharpie branded permanent markers on colored masking tape.
                                                for stocks/other liquids... I write directly onto the ziploc bag
                                                Definely ensure that the container is clean, dry and at room temp.