How to Freeze Food
If you don’t want to allow leftover food to spoil or if you want to enjoy certain foods throughout the year, you should know that freezing them is the way to go. The best thing is that freezing food will save you money.
Can we freeze almost any type of food? Yes, we can, if we respect a few rules we can enjoy the foods we like easy and fast, by just taking them out of the freezer. It’s cheaper this way because you can freeze seasonal foods or dishes prepared with seasonal ingredients, enjoying them out of season, when their prices in the supermarkets grow because they must be imported. Also, by freezing the food you prepare at home, you are confident of its quality, instead of buying it from stores. Not to mention that you will cut down in throwing away food because you can immediately freeze what was not consumed and defrost it when you’re in the mood for the dish again.
So, if you want to stock your freezer with a variety of foods, continue reading and see how you can freeze various foods and how to do this correctly. To start with, we will go through some ground rules when it comes to freezing food so that you won’t have any unpleasant surprises:
How to Freeze Food Properly
- Do not use glass jars for freezing your food. Once glass freezes, it can become rather brittle, so they can crack in your freezer or when you handle it, especially if you freeze liquids. Of course, you can use jars that have the freezer-safe mention on them. If not, freezer bags and Tupperware containers are more than suitable.
- Reserve a big bag in the fridge for scraps only. Veggie bits, like carrots or anything else you may use for cooking, can be placed in this bag, so you can reuse them later when you prepare another dish.
- When defrosting the food, never use hot water. The best way to do it is to leave it in the fridge overnight so that it will defrost gradually. When food is defrosted in a forced manner, by using hot water for instance or directly cooking it, there is a high risk that it will change its taste and texture.
- Do not let food out overnight to cool, after it has been cooked. If you prepare food for the freezer, cool it as soon as possible. Usually, after 4 hours, it should be ready to be frozen. If you leave it out overnight, even if the food does not contain meat, it can start to spoil, and you will freeze food that is not right for consumption.
How to Freeze Fruits
The best way to freeze small fruits or fruit slices so that they won’t freeze in a large block you will have to break to use the fruits, is to spread them over a baking paper and put them in the freezer this way. Thus, if they’ll freeze without being stuck to each other, you’ll be able to use them individually or as many as you like. After a couple of hours, when they will be frozen solid, you can take them and place them in a bag so that they won’t occupy too much space. Bananas can be frozen in their peels, just like that, although they will get rather mushy once you defrost them. If you need banana slices, follow the method presented earlier. They best defrost at room temperature for approximately 30 minutes.
How to Freeze Herbs and Veggies
In the case of herbs and vegetables, all you’ll need to do is wash them and chop them into the sizes you usually use for cooking. In the case of blanched veggies, do this operation before freezing. For the rest, just place them in a freezer bag, after you washed and chopped them, and do your best to get the air out of the bag as much as possible before placing them in the freezer. When defrosting them, you can simply toss them in the pot or pan. You can also leave them in the fridge for defrosting, with the mention to cook them as soon as possible.
How to Freeze Soups, Stocks, and Stews
These can be frozen as they are, in Tupperware containers or freezer bags. Freezer bags are space-efficient. Also, if you have a large quantity of soup, stock, or stew, do think about whether you’ll want to defrost it all at once. If the answer is no, you should split it into smaller portions and freeze it in smaller containers, so you will defrost only as much as you need at once. The best way to defrost this type of food is in the fridge until it is completely defrosted. But, in case you need the food fast, put the bag or container in a bowl of cool water.
How to Freeze Meat
If you’re wondering how long can you freeze chicken or meat, it’s good to know that any meat is perfect for freezing. You place it inside a freezer bag is the best way to do it. If you have a vacuum sealer for your bags, it would be even great, because that will make the meat defrost in the same way you froze it, without any changes in its taste and aspect. Leaving it in the fridge is the best way to defrost it, before cooking it, or placing it in cool water if you’re short on time.
How to Freeze Dough and Baked Foods
The dough can be frozen as it is, in a freezer bag. You can even split and shape it so that it will be ready to use if you allow it to freeze on a wide plate or cookie tray so that the dough balls won’t stick together when freezing. Once they are frozen, you can store them in a freezer bag. Baked goods should be wrapped in foil first and then placed in a freezer bag because they tend to dry out rather fast. Cookies, on the other hand, can quickly freeze inside a freezer bag without using anything else.
How to Freeze Whole Dishes
In the case of baked pasta, casseroles, and other whole dishes, the aluminum pans work best if you want to freeze them. Again, don’t freeze them in glass containers, because you risk getting it cracked once you remove it from the freezer. Also, before freezing the dish, wrap it tightly in foil, and use a plastic bag as well, for safe storage and preventing any smells from invading your freezer.