The freezer can come in handy when you want to keep your leftovers for later. Follow our freezing food basics to keep your family staples at their best!
Whether you love to cook or like leftovers, the freezer can come in handy on plenty of occasions. Being able to freeze food at its best can mean a great meal later and no food waste! But there are a few dos and don’ts involved in what you can and can’t freeze. Before you decide on freezing food, explore our guide to extend the life of your favorite dishes. Share your tips with other parents on your favorite family app!
What Foods Should You Not Freeze?
Freezing food at home can be a great way of avoiding the decline that happens in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, not all foods are freezer-safe! Instead of chancing it after a special meal, follow our instructions to ensure food stays at its best.
- Eggs – If you freeze a raw egg, the cold will cause it to expand and the shell to crack. On the other hand, hard-boiled eggs will go rubbery when thawed. While items like quiche can be OK, avoid freezing raw or hard-boiled eggs.
- Foods with High-Water Content – Any food that contains a lot of water is going to be drastically changed by freezer temperatures. That’s why freezing foods like lettuce, cucumber, and many more vegetables should be avoided. Soups, on the other hand, usually freeze very well, despite the liquid.
- Cream-Based Products – It can be disappointing when foods like sour cream and yogurt start to go bad early. However, these products will separate their fat from water if they’re frozen so be sure to keep them out of the freezer! You can still use them after they've been frozen, but the texture won't be the same. Notable exceptions: ice cream, and yogurt tubes (which, when frozen make delicious snacks for kids!)
What Are the Best Freezer-Safe Containers?
There are plenty of ways to freeze food so that you can get the most out of it. For foods you’ll be eating shortly, wrap them tightly in plastic or plastic bags for easy removal before freezing. If they’re going to be frozen for longer, use aluminum foil or freezer wrap. For sizeable items that require a dish, try freezing it in plastic containers or jars and leave a little room.
Keep in mind that water expands when it turns into ice, so dishes with higher water content should have enough room to grow. The cold temperatures can impact glass so it’s generally a bad choice for freezer storage. To make freezing even easier, try labeling your containers so you don’t have to spend time guessing what things are!
What Are the Rules When Freezing Food?
Freezing your food might seem as simple as placing it in the freezer. However, there are a few rules to follow so you can keep your food at full flavor. Share your own tips with others on your favorite family app!
- Cool Your Food First – Whether it’s stew or soup, it can be tempting to throw it in the freezer before you cool it. However, freezing meals before they cool can increase your freezer’s temperature and may thaw other food, so put it in your refrigerator first!
- Prioritize the Package – Part of the art of avoiding freezer burn is packing your food items in the right container. Whether you’re dealing with vegetables or a casserole, your frozen foods will only last if you pack them right!
- Fill It Up – The air in a nearly empty freezer has to circulate more, so it actually leads to more energy use. That’s why one of our best freezing foods tips is ensuring you don’t leave too much space in your freezer!
- Do a Defrost – If ice starts to build up in your freezer, it’s important to do a defrost to ensure it’s functioning properly. Most freezer foods will remain frozen for a while so they can be left at room temperature without thawing.
Freezing food can be a great way to avoid waste and preserve food at its best! But these tips will help to avoid freezer burn and items that have overstayed their welcome. Do you have any tips for freezing food without plastic or what shouldn’t be frozen? Share them with other cooks in our comments section! There might not be a lot of rules, but knowing the right ones can ensure sustainable food practices.