There are some clever and fun tips for freezing food. On top of that there are also tips for freezing food for the best quality.
Use quality products because that is the product you are going to get after it has been frozen. Bad food does not improve.
Remove soups and stews from the heat and then stir them every once in a while to help them cool more quickly for freezing.
Pack for the size family that you have. I always pack for two because it works for us. Pack 9″ x 13″ casseroles for a family of six or when company is coming. That works great too. For easier handling (and for the long, side freezers that come with many refrigerators) pack duplicate 8″ or 9″ square dishes. I have done this too and I kinda like it.
If you have the room, keep muffins and bars in the freezer. It makes breakfast so much easier. When you are running out the door you can grab a nice healthful muffin from the freezer. They defrost in no time and are easy to tuck in a purse or bag.
Frozen waffles are wonderful. Pop them in the toaster and there you go.
Reuse your foil and bags. If they have not touched the food then just open to air dry on your counter.
Leftover pasta, without a sauce, freezes great. Let it cool to room temperature and drop it in a container to freeze. When you want to use it, bring some water to a boil to cover. Drop in the pasta and heat through. It only takes about a minute and tastes fresh.
In cooking pasta for casseroles that will be baked in the oven later – cook it al dente. The pasta will cook more when you are baking the final product.
I put certain items in small plastic containers (2 or 4 oz. sizes) that I will need at a later time. No food is wasted. Some examples are tomato paste, vegetable broth and any red sauce. Then I put the small containers in one large freezer bag. The items inside will rotate as you use them.
Ice cube trays are wonderful for making tiny servings of little flavors that you will need. After the cubes are frozen then remove them and put in a freezer bag. Now when called for you can take out a cube or two. Some liquids I freeze in trays are lemon, orange, coffee, tea and broths.
Items that can defrost at room temperature are baked goods such as bread, cookies and cakes. Unwrap so they don’t get soggy.
Thaw your food in the refrigerator – never on the counter. Depending how large the solid mass is the defrosting can take from 12 hours to 24 hours. The one exception I do use is defrosting in the microwave. Smaller items will defrost on the defrost setting but they can also cook on the edges so keep a close watch.
If you have a power failure keep the door closed as much as possible. A full freezer will keep good for 2 to 3 days and a half full freezer will keep for 1 to 2 days. Food is still good and can be frozen solid again if the freezer temperature keeps below 40°.
For single sides you can freeze mashed potatoes in muffin cups. Remove from the muffin tins and put in freezer bags. When you want to serve just remove a mashed potato cup, take off the wrapper, put in a bowl and heat in the microwave.
A little trick I use when we go traveling is that I put a covered jar that is half filled water in the freezer. I let it freeze. Before we leave on the trip I lay it on it’s side. If the ice is still in the bottom then there was no problem. If the ice is on the side of the jar then we had a long power failure.
Freezer burn is when your food turns a darker color and looks dryer. It won’t make you sick but it won’t taste very good either. If the freezer burn is just around the corners then it can be cut off and still taste good. If it has gone further than that then throw everything away.
If your food is cooked before you freeze make sure it is room temperature before putting it in the freezer. If it is too warm that is how ice crystals are formed. A few crystals are un-escapable but you don’t want to help cause freezer burn.
Freeze your leftovers if they have not been frozen before.
I always double my sweet muffin batches to have one on hand and one to freeze. Then no one in the house is ever tempted to buy the unhealthy packaged sweets when they go shopping.
Another great way to freeze muffins is to actually put your muffin batter in muffin caps and freeze before baking. When they become solid remove from the muffin pan and put in a freezer bag. You don’t need to defrost them before baking. Just preheat the oven, put them back in the muffins tins and add 10 minutes to the baking time.
Freeze soups in small containers for single servings.
Please leave a comment below if you have another great tip for freezing.
Click on any of the links below for the nitty griity of freezing:
- How Do You Freeze …
- Containers for Freezing Food
- To Freeze or Not to Freeze
- Freezer Storage Time
- Preparing Food for the Freezer
- Blanching Vegetables
- Stocking the Freezer
- Food Freezing Tips (this is the page you are on)