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We accidentally used Ziploc "storage bags" instead of "freezer bags" to package some meat for the freezer. We noticed this after the fact and it got me thinking: what is the difference? Marketing aside, they both appear to be resealable zipper-like air-tight and water-tight plastic bags.

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

Freezer bags are slightly thicker plastic, and more forgiving of sharp or pointy foods (like meat with protruding bones).

I know some freezer bags include a white place to write a label on, I don't remember if storage bags do as well.

The press-to-seal bags do a better job of not spilling if accidentally dropped compared to the zipper versions.

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Freezer bags tend to be made from a heavier material. Other than that, I don't believe there's a difference.

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Freezer bags are thicker and are supposed to slow down the freezing on the ouside so that you don't get so many ice crystals on the outside of the food.

If I run out of freezer bags, I use thin sandwich bags but wrap them in bubble wrap before putting them in the freezer. This also slows down the freezing and prevents ice crystals forming.

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-1 for two reasons: 1- That tiny difference in plastic width won't significantly slow freezing. 2- Slow freezing increases crystal size. You want food to freeze as fast as possible. – Sobachatina Mar 4 '13 at 17:59

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