Which foods are ok to freeze safely in regular, household appliances? Learn how to store frozen foods correctly without damaging flavour or texture.
Knowing what foods you can and can’t freeze can be a real struggle. Whilst some foods seem obvious, there are others that you can never be too sure about. What liquids can you freeze? How can you store them? How many times have you frozen a nice piece of meat or fish, only to find that it has freezer burn?
These are all important things to consider when looking at what you can put into your freezer at home.
Some things, such as mayonnaise and certain types of cream sauce do not freeze well. As it defrosts, these types of sauce tend to separate, causing a horrible curdled mess in your kitchen. This generally happens if they are made from emulsified products mixed with ingredients like lemon and vinegar. These components don’t sit well together without emulsification and therefore, can separate when back to room temperature.
Milk can be frozen but often has a bad texture once defrosted and is generally only suitable for cooking. It also expands when frozen, so freezing it in the original carton is not advised, as it will almost certainly split. If you are going to freeze milk, it’s always advisable to leave some space for expansion.
Meat & Fish
You’ve just bought a huge selection of meat, now what? Not everyone likes to plan their meals for the week but if you aren’t sure whether or not you’re going to be able to eat everything before its use by date, then you should freeze it immediately.
It has been proven that if meat and fish are frozen at their peak, they will retain more of the nutrients, texture and great flavour once defrosted.
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Want to make the most of your frozen veggies? Blanche, ice bath and dry them first. Enzymes in food force your vegetables to deteriorate more quickly unless they are neutralised by acids. As most veggies are low in acid, the blanching helps to keep them fresher and in a much better condition when thawed.
What is the best way to store frozen foods? Firstly, let’s look at packaging. Whilst it is perfectly safe to store meats in their original unopened packaging, it makes sense to use freezer strength cling film or tin foil for added protection. These types of wrap are much stronger than regular foils and films that you might use for sandwiches and add an extra layer of protection to your food, minimising the risk of freezer burn.
CHECK OUT THIS NINFOGRAPHIC TO SEE IDEAL FOOD COLD STORAGE TIMES
If using other containers make sure they are freezer safe and do not crack. Thin plastic cottage cheese tubs, for example, are not a good idea. When wrapping your containers with high strength foil or plastic, always wrap tightly under the lid as well, to allow for any expansion or shrinkage in the container.
Finally, you will always want to freeze food as quickly as possible. As regular households do not generally own blast freezing equipment, you will need to find other ways to freeze rapidly. This can be done by laying foods out in a single file and not stacking new products on top of others until the first layer of food is fully frozen.
By doing this, you will ensure that your freezer food stays in good condition for far longer.
Always check that your freezer is at 0 degrees, do not let it get any warmer than this. It’s also really important to ensure your freezer door is shut tightly. If there are any problems with the suction or hinges around the door, it’s important to get this fixed as soon as possible.