Saturday, January 9, 2010

Good Tip - Freezing

I am doing some stock up baking today that will be going into the freezer. I do this off and on, but it will become far more routine for me. I also will make a double batch of whatever I am making to put half in the freezer. I do this when I don't have time to take an afternoon or a day to stock up bake or cook. Utah Deal Diva has a posting with her freezing tips. If you have ever had a question about what to freeze and what not to freeze you could take this woman's experience and advice, it looks like she has done a lot of freezing.

Every time I post a picture of my freezer contents, I get a flood of emails and comments asking about certain foods that can or cannot be frozen. So I thought I'd give a list of items that freeze well, as well as some tips on freezing food.

As a disclaimer, most anything can be frozen. However, the texture and consistency often change, so I've tried to be specific and list foods that I choose to freeze, or not to freeze.

Items I Freeze:

* Milk: No need to open or empty out any, when frozen, the circles on the side pop out to allow for expansion! I normally allow for a full day in an empty sink for a gallon to defrost. We are avid milk drinkers and can't even taste a difference in the milk that has been frozen! I'll often buy 3-4 gallons and freeze two. We still use them all before the "Best Buy" date, but the frozen milk taste fresher than if we had just kept it in the fridge for 10 days.
* Butter
* Bread & rolls {I don't freeze homemade items often as they dry out too much. Sweet breads are the exception, as they freeze beautifully for a few months.}
* Bread or pizza dough
* Just about any meat, except meat in a can {once it's out of the can, it can be frozen though, if you want to!}
* Grilled chicken: cook it just under done, then steam to reheat! We love being able to enjoy grilled chicken when it's snowing outside!
* Most vegetables: Broccoli, green beans, peas, carrots, cauliflower, spinach, corn, whole tomatoes {Most vegetables must be blanched first.}
* Most fruits: berries, apples, bananas, grapes {fruits will soften after defrosting, so I use them for baked goods or smoothies afterwards.}
* Shredded cheese
* Cottage cheese {to be used in cooking afterwards}
* Celery & onions- cut up and used later on for soups
* Grains: everything from flour to rice can be preserved longer by freezing
* Sauces, including cream sauces, like homemade Alfredo. You'll just need to whisk them a bit when heating up and they're fantastic!
* Cooked rice or pasta: Both defrost better if only cooked al dente.
* Cookie dough, rolled into a ball
* Baked cookies, cakes, pies
* Nuts: I freeze or refrigerate all of my packaged nuts!

Items that I Do Not Freeze:

* Block or sliced cheese {Cheese gets soft after freezing. Block cheese gets too hard to work with and sliced just crumbles.}
* Yogurt {unless you just plan on adding it to recipes or smoothies}
* Fruit or vegetables with a high water content, such as lettuce, melons, zucchini, cucumber,
* Tub margarine: there's really no need to as it will be just fine in the fridge for months.
* Eggs: you actually can't freeze eggs, but once again, they last several weeks in the fridge. Sometimes I age eggs on purpose for a couple weeks, then hard boil them, as they peel easier!
* Cooked potatoes. I've tried several different varieties. They just change in texture too much for them to be palatable afterwards!
* Homemade pancakes & waffles: They dry out so much I found we were drowning them in syrup & butter afterwards, so I stopped freezing them.

A few tips on freezing:

* Analyze how quickly your family will use frozen items, then package accordingly. I own a food saver, but don't use it very often as the bags are expensive and we eat the food within such a short time that it's not worth it! For most meats, I first wrap them in the freezer Press 'N Seal wrap, then foil. Freezer paper also works well. For items we plan on using quickly, I just put them in a ziplock bag.
* Freeze diced fruits and vegetables flat on a tray first, like this. Once they're frozen, they can then be placed in a large ziplock bag, where you can take out individual servings.
* Foods should be slightly undercooked if they are to be reheated when thawed.
* Plan on using frozen fruits & veggies within 3-6 months, and meat within a year.
For more info on freezing food, go HERE , HERE and HERE.

Even if you brown up double the amount of ground beef that you need and freeze to have later for a quick meal you are saving yourself time and perhaps money, if it stops you from running to the closest fast food joint. If I am making seasoned taco meat I will do a double batch for quick nachos later. Share your favorite recipes to freeze or any good or bad experiences with freezing in the comments or email me at
Thanks, Utah Deal Diva for your tips.

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