Find out the best way to freeze your food perfectly every time! With these food freezing tips, you will save time, energy and money!
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Freezers are a modern marvel, a way of preserving many foods for several days to months so a busy household can have all the essentials on hand.
It feels great when you have cooked something up and there is enough food for not just that one meal but there is also enough to freeze for another night. It takes the same amount of time and energy to prepare two stews or curries as it does one. This saves you heaps of time (which is something most of us never have enough of).
And many foods you purchase from the freezer section of the store have been frozen right in the fields when the food is at the peak of freshness.
Let’s look at what to do to get the best results with these food freezing tips.
1. Always cool to room temperature
Never put hot food in the freezer. It will raise the temperature and defrost foods around it. It will also get condensation on the inside of the container, which will make the food watery and unappetizing.
2. Freeze your food at the peak of freshness
Don’t freeze leftovers that are two or three days old just to try to salvage them. Freeze them on the same day you have cooked them so they are at their best. If you know you and your family really don’t like to eat leftovers the next day, parcel them up into homemade TV dinners.
3. Use proper freezer containers
Preserve your foods properly in freezer containers with a tight-fitting lid to retain freshness. Handle with care so nothing cracks when the containers are frozen.
4. Freeze into sensible portions
Make single meals, or enough for a family of four, not twelve servings in one container.
5. Use freezer-friendly labels
Use labels that will stick to your containers and hold up against the cold. Write clearly. Note the name of the recipe and the date it was frozen. Most frozen food should be eaten within three months, and not beyond six months.
6. Don’t refreeze food
If you have bought a turkey, for example, keep it frozen until 24-36 hours before you are ready to cook it. Don’t thaw and refreeze a raw bird. Thaw in the refrigerator to ensure even thawing and minimal bacterial growth. Once it is cooked, it is fine to freeze the meat.
7. Pack your freezer
A refrigerator runs most efficiently when there is space between the food to let the cold air circulate. A freezer works in the opposite way. A packed freezer is more efficient to run and more economical. Cook, make, and freeze recipes in batches, or fill your freezer with staples such as loaves of sliced bread and frozen vegetables.
8. Wrap or bag up your proteins when you get them home
If you are buying meat in advance, take it out of the store packaging and wrap it well. Or, place in a plastic bag you can seal tightly so you will avoid food being lost to the dreaded freezer burn.
9. If you live in a warm climate, bring a cooler and/or ice packs
This will help preserve the food and stop it from defrosting until you can get it home and into your freezer.
10. Purge your freezer every six months
Contrary to popular belief, freezing does not completely kill bacteria. Cooking at a high temperature will. Check your freezer contents and throw away anything older than six months, or anything which looks suspicious.
And finally, these are the foods you should NOT freeze.
- Raw eggs in the shells – they expand and crack.
- Hard-boiled eggs – they will get rubbery.
- Salad – lettuce and other foods with a lot of water in them are not meant to be frozen.
- Egg-based sauces, such as mayonnaise – they will separate and curdle.
- Dairy – milk, plain yogurt, low-fat cream cheese, cream, and cottage cheese will all go watery and separate.
- Raw potato – it is also too watery to freeze. Cook it first, then freeze.
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What’s your best tip for freezing food, or saving money by using your freezer? Also, do you have favorite recipes that you love to double up and freeze?