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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 10-21-2008, 08:59 PM   #1
AlabamaGrillBillies
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Default Side dish storage/freezer life

Well, the last year we have taken a lot of time off catering wise. Now we are trying to kick it into gear and are getting serious about cost/profits. A lot of times the recipes we have for our side dishes leave more than what the customer ordered. Someone only wants 1 quart of beans, but our recipe makes 2. So now we don't want to waste the left over quart. We have a vacuum sealer and plan on using it. Now here is the question part where I need some help.

How long can Vacuum Sealed side dishes like baked beans, potato salal, cole slaw, and mac and cheese last in a dedicated deep freezer and still be good, both food safe wise, and taste wise.

Any advice would be great.
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Unread 10-21-2008, 10:06 PM   #2
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OK, don't take this this the wrong way, please! I would never use previously cooked frozen sides for catering. Quality means everything when catering, besides most sides are to cheap.
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Unread 10-21-2008, 10:26 PM   #3
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OK, don't take this this the wrong way, please! I would never use previously cooked frozen sides for catering. Quality means everything when catering, besides most sides are to cheap.
I would have to agree.
If you can't cut the recipe in half, sell them the 2 quarts and deal with the leftovers accordingly. Call it a "minimum order".
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Unread 10-22-2008, 06:04 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advise, that's why I love this place. But I do have a question, and I'm trying to be a smart a$$. Most of us will use precooked and frozen meat if its a large order, or if logistics prevent us from cooking the day of the event. Why are sides a no, no? Is the quality that much of a let down after freezing with a vac seal? I'm just courious as I've never vac sealed and froze any of my sides before. I know the meat quality if properly vac sealed, froze and reheated can be about 90% as good as fresh cooked meat, I just assumed that the sides would be close as well. But then there's that old saying about assuming...
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Unread 10-22-2008, 10:54 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlabamaGrillBillies View Post
Thanks for the advise, that's why I love this place. But I do have a question, and I'm trying to be a smart a$$. Most of us will use precooked and frozen meat if its a large order, or if logistics prevent us from cooking the day of the event. Why are sides a no, no? Is the quality that much of a let down after freezing with a vac seal? I'm just courious as I've never vac sealed and froze any of my sides before. I know the meat quality if properly vac sealed, froze and reheated can be about 90% as good as fresh cooked meat, I just assumed that the sides would be close as well. But then there's that old saying about assuming...

I believe the quality is greatly reduced in side items that are frozen. Mac and cheese may hold, but I myself would not chance it. I am always thinking of the next gig and who may be at the gig I am catering who needs a caterer in the future. You only got one shot, Bro to sell yourself!
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Unread 10-22-2008, 12:03 PM   #6
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In my last post I meant to type "I'm NOT trying to be a smart a$$". Whoops, I bet that read a little funny.

Anyhow, thanks for the advise, I've never tried vac sealing and freezing sides, and now it looks like I won't have to learn from my mistake. I'll just try and down size my recipes if and when needed.
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Unread 10-22-2008, 01:02 PM   #7
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Why don't you freeze some sides next time you have left overs and thaw them out and eat them for your friends. You will see the difference in quality.
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Unread 10-22-2008, 01:18 PM   #8
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Quote:
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In my last post I meant to type "I'm NOT trying to be a smart a$$". Whoops, I bet that read a little funny.

Anyhow, thanks for the advise, I've never tried vac sealing and freezing sides, and now it looks like I won't have to learn from my mistake. I'll just try and down size my recipes if and when needed.

No sweat, I knew what you meant. Context is everything
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Unread 10-22-2008, 02:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Why don't you freeze some sides next time you have left overs and thaw them out and eat them for your friends. You will see the difference in quality.
Excellent idea! I do that with many new things for our business. We will cook up something new, or try a new technique, and then share with our neighbors before taking it "live!" to the clients. The neighbors seem to enjoy being our regular taste testers.
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Unread 10-22-2008, 03:52 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
I would have to agree.
If you can't cut the recipe in half, sell them the 2 quarts and deal with the leftovers accordingly. Call it a "minimum order".
I would agree on a minimum. If there are leftovers then the cost is on the client. Personally I'm not big on leftovers regardless so I would always opt for cooked, not reheated.
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Unread 11-06-2008, 02:35 PM   #11
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Frozen potato salad and slaw would not be a good thing. You might be able to get by with frozen baked beans. I've frozen the "hog apple beans" and reheated for myself many times and they were very good.
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Unread 11-06-2008, 05:43 PM   #12
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A good freezer should last 12 years. I buy them with the protection plan that also covers the meat inside if you save your receipts.

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