Can You Put a Glass in the Freezer?

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You’ve just made your favorite drink, and you need it to chill. You don’t need much thinking before you head to the freezer. By now, you must be wondering how essential your freezer is. 

However, have you considered the possibility of coming back to the freezer to meet a damaged container? If you do, you’ll probably wonder what went wrong. You may think your container is fake or even that the liquid is not fit for freezing. 

Well, these are many issues that may arise with freezing liquid in containers. 

Glass jars or bottles are very popular storage containers. So, the chances are high that you will likely store your glass container in the freezer. If you’re considering whether your glass container will break, this article is just for you.

Can Glass Go in the Freezer?

Will something go wrong if you put your glass bottle in a freezer? There is no rigid answer to this question. What happens to glass afterward depends on many factors. These factors include the liquid content in that glass and the minimum temperature the glass container can hold.

In simpler terms, glass CAN GO in the freezer without breaking. However, to ensure the safety of your glass container, some conditions must be met. If those conditions are not met, your glass may break when frozen. 

Glass containers also come with several benefits, coupled with the possibility of being stored in a freezer. Glass is inexpensive to use, easy to clean, and very reusable.

Glass containers are also known to be free of toxic substances. So, even if your food comes in close contact with the glass for long, no chemical substances will leak into your food or liquid item.

Now that you know these, it is essential to understand what you can do to prevent your glass from breaking in the freezer. These prevention techniques are what we discuss next.

Why Does a Glass Break in the Freezer?

From all we said previously, the glass will only break where you do not meet some conditions. If stored in a freezer the right way, your glass container won’t break. 

In the extreme circumstances that a glass container breaks, it is caused by several factors.

The first and most significant factor that causes a glass bottle to break is the content. The fact is that you can put many things into a glass container or bottle. However, when it comes to water, the story is different.

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This is because water expands when it freezes. Thus, water may break a glass container due to the pressure of it expanding when it freezes. Also, food or liquids with high water concentration can cause glass containers to break. 

Another factor is the type of glass. Not all types of glass are fit for freezing temperatures. It is preferable to use tempered glass. Unlike non-tempered glass, tempered glass is way stronger. It also does not contain air pockets that cause contraction during temperature changes.

Lastly, rapid temperature fluctuations may cause the glass to break. Rapid temperature changes occur in a freezer when a hot substance is put in a freezer. The quick transition from hot to freezing temperatures may crack or break the container.

How to Keep Glass from Breaking in the Freezer?

Now that you know why your glass container may break in the freezer, we might as well consider how to prevent it. If you observe all these rules, you can rest assured that your glass is safe in a freezer.

1. Make use of Freezer-Safe Glass

Not all types of glass are automatically suited for use in a freezer. Some glass types are not suited to cold temperatures

It is advised that you use glass that is recommended for freezer usage by its manufacturer. It is also preferable to use tempered glass for freezing. Tempered glass is usually stronger than many other glass types. Also, tempered glass doesn’t have air pockets that expand during temperature changes. 

As an alternative, you could also use canning jars. Canning jars are made of soda-lime glass and suitable for use in the freezer. In the absence of tempered glass or canning jars, use any glass certified as freezer-safe.

2. Loosen the Lid of Your Containers

If you store liquid content in glass bottles, they are likely to expand. When this happens, it puts pressure on the air in the container. If the container is tightly closed, the pressure may affect the glass container and cause it to break.

It is advised that you loosen the lid of your container before putting it in the freezer. Doing this will allow ample space for air to go in and out. When the content is finally frozen, you can go ahead to tighten the lid.

3. Leave Headspace

In addition to number 2, always leave headspace in your containers. Content in glass, mostly water, is likely to expand.

Given this, you should leave space in the container for expansion. This space is what is known as headspace. By leaving a headspace, the content will only expand to fill up the remaining space in the container.

4. Slowly Change the Temperature of Your Content

As we’ve said earlier, drastic temperature changes can lead to breaking. To avoid this, you should change the temperature slowly and gradually.

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Never attempt to put a hot substance in the freezer. Instead, leave the hot substance to cool down for a while. Afterward, you may put it in a fridge for some time before finally putting in the freezer.

If you want to warm up a frozen item, repeat this freezing process the other way around. Put the frozen item in a fridge to increase the temperature. Afterward, take it out and allow it to move up to room temperature. You can then apply other processes to heat it. 

Also, avoid putting glass containers on freezing compartments or the top of already frozen objects. Doing this will cause a very rapid change in temperature and may break the glass.

5. Do Not Use Narrow Containers

To cushion the aftermath of content expanding in glass, use bigger containers. Bigger containers have more space and can easily create room for expanding liquid. 

To complement this method, let your container lie on its side (when it’s tightly closed and put in the freezer). By lying on its side, it creates more space sideways and upwards. Thus, your glass is less at risk of breaking.

6. Make Space When Arranging Containers Into the Freezer

Apart from helping you orderly organize your freezer, spacing containers can prevent your glass from breaking. Leaving space between glass bottles in a freezer helps avoid one container being affected by the pressure of another. 

7. Avoid Containers with Shoulders

If you are storing items to be put in the freezer in a glass jar, do not use jars with curved edges at the top. Instead, use jars with straight tops and a broad opening. 

If jars with shoulders are filled to the brim, they tend to increase pressure on the top sides when the content starts expanding. To prevent this, leave enough space below the shoulders or use straight jars.

What are the Other Alternatives to Glass that can be Put In the Freezer?

Glass can be an ideal container to store your items. However, there are other container types you may consider for storing items in your freezer. Some of these materials are safer alternatives to glass.

1. Plastic

Plastic is one of the most common materials for making containers. Plastic containers are usually cheaper and can be put in the freezer. However, just like glass, not all plastic types can fit in the freezer. You must ensure that the plastic is labeled freezer-safe before storing it in the freezer.

Plastic containers can be useful in storing both liquid and food content. However, plastic also tends to be damaged by the freezer. Frozen items in plastic may cause the plastic to expand, and the chemicals may leach into the item. To prevent this, use only plastic materials certified as suitable for freezer usage.

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Plastic may also cause pollution issues. You must be sure to dispose of unused plastic properly or recycle them. 

2. Stainless Steel

Stainless steel containers are made from a mixture of different metals. Stainless steel is generally safe for use in freezers. They can be used to store food and liquid items in the freezer. Thick steel materials are more durable and can cushion the effects of the expansion of liquid items.

It is, however, usually advised to create space when filling items into steel containers. Also, do not put warm or hot substances in steel containers directly into the freezer. 

For other types of metal containers like tin and aluminum cans, they are not suitable for freezer use. When the water content in can materials gets frozen, it expands and may break the seal of the can.

3. Paper Bags

Another viable alternative to glass is paper bags. Paper bags, just like the name, are made from paper. Paper bags come from different kinds of paper. As a result, they usually vary in texture and durability.

Paper bags are safe to use in the freezer for short periods. Because of the chemicals used to make paper bags, keeping them in the freezer for too long may be dangerous. Notably, more prolonged contact with food can cause leaching.

Also, paper bags are only suitable for food items and not liquid, unlike other containers.

4. Acrylic

Acrylic is usually considered the best alternative to glass. They are thermoplastics and tend to have a mixture of glass and plastic properties. It is also inexpensive and reusable, making it a top choice for many users.

Acrylic containers can hold both liquid and food content. They are also considered very safe for freezing. However, just like with other materials, you should always leave space in containers to accommodate the expansion of the content.

5. Silicone Bags

Silicone bags are known for their diverse usage. They are synthetic rubber products that can be used for food storage. Silicone bags are very suitable for use in the freezer. They have lesser risks of leaching.

Interestingly, with silicone bags, you don’t have to worry about your items expanding. These bags are always stuffed up with sufficient air that can accommodate your food item when it gets frozen and expands. They are also reusable. This way, they prevent litter and help you save more.

However, silicone bags may not be suitable materials for liquid content.

Conclusion

Deciding to keep your food or drink in the freezer shouldn’t be rocket science. Whether you intend to use glass or several alternatives to glass, you can be assured of your food’s safety and that of the container.

You can preserve your glass container by following the precautions offered. By doing this, you’ll not only keep your food, but you’ll also do your container and your pocket a lot of good.

References:

http://www.glassdynamicsllc.com/heatresistantglass.html

https://edu.rsc.org/resources/water-expands-when-it-freezes/407.article

About Sarah Walker

Sarah is a homemaker and is passionate about fixing little things in and around her house. She loves to do DIY hacks and keeps on writing about those things on her blog. When she is not writing, she keeps herself busy with her twins Cathy and Mickey.