April 8, 2010

25 Tips for Freezing Food

One of the time saving devices I have been using more often is freezing foods.  If you were to look in my freezer right now, you would find some already made burritos, premixed meatloaf, homemade chicken broth, precooked ground beef, and more.  Premade and premixed foods can save you both time and money.  I’m a fan of both of those; how about you? 

Before you begin freezing lunch size portions and premade meals, there’s a few freezer tips to consider.

1.  Cool foods before placing them in the freezer.

2.  Store frozen meals at 0 degrees F, or colder.

3.  To keep bacteria from growing, thaw foods in the refrigerator.

4.  If you thaw meat, you should cook it before you refreeze it.

5.  Label freezer packages with content, date, and cooking instructions.

6.  Pack foods in freezer and microwave safe containers.  This will save time when going to reheat the foods.

7.  If you want to freeze something in glass, make sure you use glass that is tempered or specificially labeled freezer safe.  Mason jars are probably the best glass to use in the freezer.

8.  Squeeze out as much air as possible.  If you are using glass, completely fill the container.  If you are freezing sauces, soups, or stews, leave a little room for expansion of the liquids when they freeze.

9.  Wrap foods well to prevent freezer burn.   Freezer burn is the dehydration of foods.

10.  Repackage meats from the grocery store before freezing, or place the entire package in a freezer safe container or freezer bag.  The plastic wrap on the meats will allow oxygen to get to the meats and enable foods to become easily freezer burned.

11.  You can freeze fruits with or without sugar, but freezing them with sugar will help retain the texture and color.  Use citric or absorbic acid on lightly colored fruits  such as apples and peaches, to keep them from discoloring.

12.  Blanch or steam all vegetables and cool them quickly in ice water before freezing.  This will save the flavor and texture of the vegetables.

13.  Slice bread and half bagels before freezing so that you can easily remove the slices you need.  Slip the bagel halves in freezer bag back to back to prevent them from sticking together.

14.  Cool pancakes and waffles before freezing and put a sheet of wax paper inbetween each one.

15.  For quick, single-serving lunches, freeze foods in individual portions.

16.  When making casseroles, line the bottom of the casserole dish with foil.  When casserole is cooled, lift it from the pan with the foil and place in a freezer bag or container.

17.  Freeze casseroles unbaked or baked.  Allow additional baking time for frozen casseroles. 

18.  When cooking a casserole, use an instant read thermometer to check the center.  It should reach 160 degrees F.  If not hot enough, continue to bake the casserole and check it every 15 minutes.

19.  If a casserole recipe calls for cheese topping, freeze it without the cheese.  Add the cheese during the last 10 to 20 minutes of cooking.

20.  I prefer to freeze my broths in one quart plastic containers.  Another convenient way to freeze soups and broths is to use plastic ice cube trays.  Let the soup or broth cool and then fill the ice cube trays with the liquid.  After it is frozen, pop out the cubes and place in a freezer bag.  Later you can pull out as many as you need.

21.  Recipes with a condensed-soup base usually freeze well.

22.  Do not stack food that has not been frozen. Wait until the food has been completely frozen before stacking it.

23.  To prevent waste, keep track of the foods that you have.

24.  For best quality, use foods within three months.

25.  If the power goes out, frozen food can remain frozen for a few days.  Keep the freezer closed and cover it with blankets, keeping the blankets away from the compressor.

What tips do you have for freezing foods?

image (c) Karen Weideman


Karen

Comments

One Response to “25 Tips for Freezing Food”
  1. 1

    One way that I also save money is to freeze herbs from my garden in the summer for the winter. You can use the ice cube trays or you can simply freeze them in ziploc baggies. Either way – it’s perfect when the holidays come around and they generally last for about 6 months.

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