If you are like me, you wonder what you are able to freeze and what you are not able to freeze. We all see those low sale prices that you want to stock up on certain things but aren’t sure if you can store them. Here are a few guidelines and tips to help you along.
The top thing to remember is to keep your freezer at 0 degrees or below to keep frozen food safely. Prepared foods need to be frozen or refrigerated within 2 hours of being cooked or within 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees. The best way to store food is in small, shallow and clear containers so it is easily seen to be checked on. Always make sure you date everything and use the oldest first, this ensures that everything is used in a safe time period.
Fruits are always cheaper in bulk and they are super easy to freeze. Before freezing be sure to wash and dry them before placing them in an air tight bag or container. As long as they are properly stored, they will keep up to a year.
Vegetables are also easy to freeze and will last up to a year. Make sure to blanch and dry them before freezing, this keeps them crisper. Herbs are another great thing to freeze and have on hand. They work great when frozen in ice cube trays to make it easy to pop them into any dish you may be making.
Dairy products can sometimes be complicated. Milk can be frozen as long as a little is poured out of the container to allow for expansion. Eggs work great in the freezer raw or cooked. The best trick is to break them into an ice cube tray and freeze them, you can even separate the whites and yolks this way. If you choose to freeze them in their shell, make sure you let them thaw for a day in the fridge and use them or thaw under cold water and use. Any kind of cheese can also be frozen just make sure it is sliced, cubed or shred it so it will not crumble when being used. Cream cheese and yogurt are also easily frozen. Butter can be frozen if kept in it’s original packaging and placed in a plastic bag.
You can freeze any kind of raw meat. It is best to store it by taking it out of the store packages and place it in freezer safe containers or bags. The only thing to remember is if you thaw it in the refrigerator and don’t use it all you can refreeze it, if it is thawed any other way it is unsafe to refreeze.
You can store batter, pizza dough and pie dough with no problem. If you are freezing tortilla shells, pancakes, waffles or any other baked good just make sure you place parchment paper between each to keep them from sticking when thawed. Pies work best if you freeze them before baking them.
Contrary to popular belief, pasta and rice can be frozen. If you are freezing pasta or rice just take a few minutes off the cooking time and put it directly in cold water to stop cooking before placing in containers.
Nuts, coconut, chocolate, marshmallows, condensed milk and evaporated milk can also be frozen. Flour, sugar and all other dry goods can be placed in the freezer in humid locations to extend their shelf life.
Sauces, broths and soups are great to place in the freezer for an easy meal later. Just make sure you let broth sit and take the layer of fat off the top before freezing. Sauce works best if laid flat.
Of course if you want to make meals ahead of time, full meals work great in the freezer as an easy grab and go meal.
Now that you have a start to what to freeze and what not to freeze, get out there and chase those deals!