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Labelling Your Favorite Veggies

frozen vegetable labelsAs recently as a century ago, if you wanted to eat fresh vegetables, you were out of luck if they were out of season. Before the global village and high-speed transportation, you had to eat as much of your favorite veggies in the spring and summer as you could, hoping that would hold you over until the next year. Otherwise, the best you could do was preserve your veggies in canning jars, by drying, packing them in salt, or by pickling. Sadly, very few people were buying freezer food labels at that point, since no one had freezers. While people needed the occasional food label, frozen varieties were right out.

Then, in 1913 or thereabouts, an ice fisherman made a momentous discovery. He probably wasn't the first to do so, but he was the first to realize he had a gold mine on his hands, and that he could create an entire industry if he just could find a mechanical way to mimic what nature already did. You see, when he was sitting out on a frozen lake in -40 °F weather, the fish he pulled out of the water and threw out onto the ice froze instantly. You can see the need for freezer meal labels coming, can't you? Later, when he thawed and cooked those flash-frozen fish, he realized they tasted as fresh as if he'd taken them straight to his kitchen. Cue music for how to label frozen food.

But as in all sagas, where they deliberately delay the solution to heighten the tension, he wasn't quite there yet. The door leading to labels for freezer containers was ajar, but technology hadn't  caught up to the need for freezer adhesive labels yet.

Thank goodness for us, in the early 1920s that fisherman, one Clarence Birdseye, invented not just the frozen foods industry, but also the frozen food labels industry. The way had been cleared for other unsung heroes to figure out the details of self-adhesive freezer labels. So oddly enough, we owe our livelihoods here at Etiquette Systems to a member of that special breed of madmen who liked to keep warm by chopping holes through ice three feet thick, on days when even snowmen were smart enough to stay indoors, just so they could jiggle funny-looking little lures in freezing water using fishing poles made for midgets, and then haul very hungry fish out into air so cold they froze solid in mid-flop.

You just never know where genius will come from. It's a good thing Clarence didn't work in Hawaii and take up beachcombing as a hobby, or maybe no one would ever have a need to buy freezer labels. At least until the next ice fisherman noticed how good his flash-frozen fish tasted.

Today, you can buy your printable freezer meal labels from many sources, but be careful whose you choose. Do you really want some cheap fly-by-night freezer food labels made by some third party that fall off in the freezer, leaving your favorite frozen vegetables unlabeled? Do you really want to play freezer roulette? Of course not. You want your sticker freezer labels and refrigerator labels to come from a company that knows how to label frozen food and can provide you with write on freezer labels you can count on for years.

You can buy freezer food labels from someone else, or you can buy them from Etiquette Systems. We think the choice is obvious, so hit us up for a quote.

Outrageous Freezer Fruit Labels

Frozen Fruit LabelsIf you're not stocking up on inexpensive labels for freezer containers and then freezing fruit, you're wasting a wonderful opportunity to enjoy sunshine in physical form well into the off season. Nothing beats the tangy sweetness of a clementine or orange slice in December, perfectly preserved at its peak of freshness, or a crisp apple in a savory apple pie on a cold day. And let's not even get into enjoying the custardy goodness of a cherimoya, easily the tastiest and most addictive of fruits, at any time of the year.

All it takes is the fruit, some freezer-safe containers, bags, or wrap, and some good write on freezer labels to mark what you've frozen and when.

One good thing about living in the modern age is that we can usually find fruit and vegetables in our grocery stores whatever the time of year. Hothouse operations and importation from foreign countries makes it easy to find peaches in January and cherimoyas in the spring. But let's face it: the prices are outrageous, the carbon footprint to get them to you is large, and who knows if the quality and growing standards in South America are up to par with our country's? So even if you don't grow your own fruits, you can stock up, buying some freezer food labels for identification purposes, then freezing your fruit when it's at its freshest and least expensive. Sure, you can always make jams or jellies, but processing them for freezing is a lot quicker and easier, and freezer labels are cheaper than jars and lids!

We recommend chopping, dicing, or slicing larger fruits, while leaving smaller ones, like grapes or berries, intact. Clean them thoroughly and pat dry. Place the individual pieces or small fruits on cookie sheets and freeze them that way. Later, you can put them in plastic bags or containers while they're still frozen solid.  This keeps the pieces from freezing together and helps them retain their freshness longer.

As long as you freeze them quickly, frozen fruits are as nutrient-rich as any you've kept in a fruit bowl or left in the refrigerator. Most fruits, including stone fruits, apples, pears, and the like, can be safely frozen for 12 months, which is easy enough to note on your freezer bag stickers. Citrus fruit—oranges, blood oranges, kumquats, tangerines, grapefruit, and their relatives—last for three months frozen. So be sure you buy freezer labels from us to label your packages, and always date them; otherwise, your frozen fruits may languish longer than they should and may not be as yummy as they might have been when you finally pull them out to eat.

Freezer labels to the rescue once again!

 

How to Label Frozen Food Packages

We're proud of our freezer labels, but we can't make you what you need, and you can't use them properly, without some basic information beforehand. First of all, we need to know how you're going to use them. What types of containers will you be labeling: cardboard, plain paper, waxed paper, vacuum bags, blast-freezing packs, glass or plastic deli containers? And how cold will it be when you're applying the labels—not when you cool the contents, but when you actually attach the labels?

Next, there's the matter of product exposure, especially to moisture and frost. For example, a deli container full of a nice, zesty salsa stored directly on ice is going to get a lot wetter than items in a deep-freezer or open cooler. In the case of the salsa, everything about the label—adhesive, face-stock, and ink—must be moisture-resistant. This is always important, but is less so when the food is hard-frozen all or most of the time.

Once we know how you're going to be using the labels, we can narrow things down to the right materials necessary. Then we'll shoot you a quote, send samples and proofs if you need them, and, once you give us the OK, have your finalized labels in your hot little hands in record time.

Applying your labels takes special care. If the product packages happen to be frosty or wet, you'll need to dry them before applying the labels. We recommend using terry cloth. When the packages are dry, remember your labels are pressure-sensitive: they can't just be dropped or slapped onto the packages, or they won't stick right. Most applicators apply sufficient pressure, but to really stick forever, your labels need 12-24 hours of "dwell time" for the adhesive to cure.

Once the dwell time has passed, you're in business!

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How To Label Frozen

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Choosing the Right Labels for Cold Temperature Application

freezer labelsIf you've ever purchased anything from Etiquette Systems, you might have noticed that we ask quite a few questions about what you intend to use the product for as we take your order. This is especially true for freezer labels. We're not just being nosy; the reason we ask is that we want the products we make for you to "stick around" as long as possible, meeting your needs for the long term and providing the maximum quality possible.

This is especially true for our freezer labels. You can't just slap any label on a package and toss it in the freezer. Not only are the label stock, descriptive and legal material, and logo important, the adhesive is especially so. After all, some adhesives lose their tack (stickiness) once the temperature falls below a certain point, and just slide right off the package. This leads to confusion, which can be bad enough when you're trying to tell beef from pork, and catastrophic when you can no longer distinguish between biological samples you've been entrusted with.

There are basically three types of low-temperature adhesives used in the business: All Temperature Adhesives, Cold Temperature Adhesives, and Freezer Adhesives. All of them have to be impervious not only to cold (to a specific limit) but also to moisture, which can also deaden adhesives. You might have noticed this with duct tape when trying to repair a leaky pipe. It's not made for moisture adhesion.

All Temperature Adhesives, which are usually made of emulsion acrylics, stick from temperatures below freezing (32° F) to around 200° F. That may seem impressive, but it's not good enough; All Temp adhesives aren't really "all temp," not from a freezer perspective. They're sufficient for storing stuff in refrigerator, but not a freezer, and are really intended for items that experience a range of normal temperatures, including high-end summer heat. But they also tend to lose tack if taken below their low temperature, can't handle moisture as well as true cold-temperature labels, and can't stand up to flash-freezing or repeated thawing.

That's where Cold Temperature Adhesives come in. Labels with these adhesives are designed to handle cold temperatures down to about -65° and beyond. Most are made of hot-melt rubber. They can usually handle moisture much better than All Temp adhesive labels; all of our standard freezer labels, for example, use this type of adhesive. Multiple freeze-thaw cycles and flash-freezing won't faze these labels, either, which makes them idea for refrigerated and frozen foods. Many, if not most, of the labels you'll see on frozen food are specially formulated with Cold Temperature Adhesives.

Freezer Adhesives are just that: they're specially designed for very low temperature use, and are used on the types of labels you turn to when regular Cold Temp labels aren't enough. They use a specialized adhesive with a high tack and high moisture resistance, and can even be attached to a package that is already frosty, moist, or greasy. So that lard you plan to use for next summer's refried beans? These are the perfect labels. It's best to use them only in cold temperatures, as they do not handle room temperature well. They're great for hard-frozen products, frosty items like ice cream and popsicles, processed poultry, and the like.

In addition, there are specialized labels for supercool temperatures like those used in cryogenics labs. Their adhesives can maintain tack to as low as about -200° F, enough to handle liquid nitrogen. We don't often provide this type of label, but we can.

So there you have it! If you were wondering the difference between the types of common freezer labels, now you know—and now you understand why we always ask lots of questions when an order for freezer labels comes in.

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