Tips On Properly Freezing Food
Favorite fruit, larger quantities of meat, or cooked meals for busy days - a freezer is an ideal appliance that will allow you to store food for months without losing its taste, properties, and nutrients. However, as fantastic as freezing food is, it's not enough just to put food in the freezer. Certain rules can make a big difference in the quality and taste of frozen foods.
In this article, we provide practical guidelines on how to freeze food for maximum preservation of taste and quality, information on how long fruit, vegetables, and meat can stay in the freezer, as well as what else you need to take care of for safe storage of different types of food.
What you need to know...
As freezing slows down all the processes in foods that would otherwise lead to their spoilage, we sometimes have the impression that something frozen can stay that way for a very long time, even for years. However, this is not the case. Even frozen foods have their shelf life or period during which they are best used. This does not mean that after the expiration of the mentioned periods, the food is not safe for use, because this doesn't have to be the case, but it will certainly lose its quality and taste, so it's recommended to use it before a certain time has passed. This time varies between the types of food, and the answers to questions such as how long food can be stored in the freezer, how long meat can stay in the freezer, as well as tips for the proper preparation and freezing of different foods, are just below.
Freezing fruits and vegetables - proper preparation is the key to preserving taste
Seasonal fruits and vegetables are ideal candidates for freezing and for enjoying your favorite flavors all year round. Berries such as raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries in the freezer can preserve their taste and quality for months, so you can eat them or use them for smoothies, cakes, and desserts even in the off-season. The best way to freeze these fruits is to wash them, clean them, arrange them in a tray so that they are nicely separated, and then put them in the freezer. When they are frozen, you can pack them in special bags or containers as this way they won't stick together. To further preserve the taste, you can sprinkle this fruit with sugar, but without exaggeration.
Fresh vegetables also need to be cleaned and washed. After that put them in hot water for a few minutes and then in cold water to stop the cooking process. When they have cooled completely, all you have to do is pack the vegetables and they are ready to freeze. To save time, you can chop the pieces of vegetables to your liking before freezing so that they are ready to be cooked immediately. You can store properly frozen vegetables and fruits in the freezer for 6 months to a year.
Freezing meat and fish - How long can meat stay in the freezer?
Meat is food that, due to its properties, can withstand freezing best, and can be stored in that condition for a relatively long time.
It's important that the pieces of meat are fresh, and it's recommended to chop them as you like so that they freeze faster, but also for easier use later. It's preferable to clean them from bones and skin, if applicable. How long meat can stay in the freezer depends on the type of meat, but also on the form in which it's stored. So, you can store pork and beef for 6 to 9 months, and lamb for 9 months before it starts to lose its quality.
Poultry meat in a piece such as a whole chicken or turkey keeps its quality for up to a year in the freezer, and if it's stored in parts, it's best to use it within 9 months. Minced meat has the shortest shelf life, and can be stored in the freezer for 2 to 4 months. In addition to fresh meat, you can also freeze roasted meat to prevent food waste when large quantities are prepared. The shelf life of roast meat in the freezer is from 4 to 9 months. You can store bacon, sausages, and similar types of dried or smoked meat in the freezer for no more than a month or two.
It's best to freeze the fish fresh. To avoid unpleasant smells, you can cover it with ice when freezing. Fish with less fat, are more suitable for storing this way because they can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months, while it's recommended to store fatty fish for up to 3 months.
Dairy products, dough, and other foods - What else can you freeze?
If you wish, you can also freeze certain dairy products, such as butter, and hard cheese, and it's recommended to use them within a period of 3 to 6 months. Freeze the raw dough for a delicious serving when you don't have time because it thaws quickly and is best used within 6 months. Also, baked bread and various pastries can be frozen and used within a maximum of 6 months, and to preserve freshness it's best to wrap them tightly in foil or vacuum seal them. A great option is to freeze your favorite spices that you like to use, preferably in an ice cube tray where you will form small cubes with butter, oil, or broth that are ideal for seasoning soups or sauces.
Freezing cooked food - Ready meal as a lifesaver for busy days
When you cook a large amount of food that is suitable for freezing, it can make your daily organization a lot easier and make busy days simpler. In order to enjoy your meals carefree, it's important to properly prepare food for freezing. Freeze freshly prepared meals, but only when they have cooled down well, and pack them in quantities that are sufficient for one use and that you will defrost more easily. Don't forget to write what is in the container on the label. Cooked food can stay in the freezer for up to 4 months, and if the dishes contain meat or fish, use them within 3 months. Soups and broths that you freeze are best used within 2 to 3 months.
Porridge for babies is also ideal for freezing. Cook a large amount of vegetables with or without meat for your baby, divide them into smaller portions, and freeze, preferably in glass jars. Defrost in the refrigerator and when it has thawed, heat it to the appropriate temperature by placing the jar in a bowl of water that you will gently heat. Also, it's super practical that you can freeze the ready mixture for your favorite morning pancakes, muffins, or similar breakfast.
Simple Steps to Properly Freeze Food
For the foods you want to store in the freezer to be of the best quality, it's important to follow a few simple steps that will allow you to make the most of the benefits of this method for food storage:
- Freeze only fresh foods
It's important to emphasize that freezing preserves the quality and properties of foods, but does not improve them. That's why it's best to freeze foods, whether raw or thermally processed, fresh, and not when they lose their freshness or start to spoil, because freezing will not reverse this process.
- Proper preparation is important
Depending on the type of food, you need to prepare them appropriately to best preserve their properties, but also to make them easier to use. Thoroughly clean them, process them in some of the ways that we've already described above, and pack them in the way that is most practical for you.
It's recommended to freeze smaller portions and quantities that are sufficient for one use. One of the important rules that will save you from potential health problems is to never freeze food that has already been thawed. When packing in bags or containers for the freezer, try to expel the air so that oxidative processes do not occur, as well as close them well to prevent the food from drying out. Squeeze the air out of the bags, and if you freeze them in containers, it would be ideal if they were vacuum containers from which you can extract the air. Also, never fill the bag or a container to the top, as frozen food may have a slightly larger volume, leading to cracking or deformation of the container. When packing and freezing food, try to leave enough space between the packages so that they don't stick to each other. On the other hand, ideally, the freezer should not be empty as this appliance is most economical when it's full. Of course, this implies that there is enough space between the packages of frozen food and that the freezer is not overcrowded with packages stuck together.
- Labeling frozen food packages
To make it easier to plan and use foods within the appropriate period, it would be ideal to mark them with stickers on which you will write the date of freezing and the type of foods because they are more difficult to recognize in the frozen state. If it's easier for you, you can write on the label the date by which you should use a certain package.
In addition to the preparation that precedes freezing, it's also important to properly defrost the food. It's best to defrost the food in the refrigerator, which will take several hours, depending on the size of the portion. Avoid defrosting in warm water, as this will promote the development of bacteria, and if you need to defrost something quickly, fill a container with cold water in which you will put frozen food packed in a bag. Change the water several times, making sure that it is always cold. If you have a microwave or oven with a defrost function, things become much simpler. All you have to do is turn on the appropriate program.
Which foods should not be frozen?
When planning your meals and grocery shopping, keep in mind that not all types of food are suitable for freezing. Certain cranberries lose their flavor and texture when frozen, so you won't enjoy them if you store them this way for later. These are mainly foods with a high percentage of water in their composition, such as lettuce, cucumbers, watermelon, apples, but not potatoes, eggs, mayonnaise, egg-based sauces, dough, tomatoes, sour milk, yogurt, cream, low-fat cream cheeses, these are not ideal choices for freezing.
Proper freezing will preserve the quality and taste of your favorite foods
By following simple steps and practical tips, you can more easily limit your meals, buy groceries and save time and money. Properly frozen foods will preserve their taste and quality, and you and your family will be able to enjoy your favorite flavors throughout the year. Pay attention to how long the food can stay in the freezer and plan its use so that you use it while its taste and quality are at their peak. For less cleaning work, as well as for efficient and quick freezing of food, pay attention to freezers or combined refrigerators with No Frost technology, which will allow you to freeze food with ease, without having to worry about ice deposits, which are a frequent occurrence in these appliances. Thanks to the top-notch technology, No Frost freezers do not create ice deposits, so you can forget about unplugging the freezer, and putting food somewhere else, which is especially difficult to do in the summer months, without most of it starting to defrost. With the No Frost model, all that's required is to regularly maintain its cleanliness, wipe the shelves and clean the parts of the freezer if some of the food is spilled.
Now that you know all the rules and tips related to freezing food, there is no reason not to enjoy all the benefits that this method of food storage brings. At Townappliance.com we can offer you a great selection of freezers from the world's most famous brands for any budget.