12/1/06 - Tips to Freeze with Ease

Tips to Freeze with Ease

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  • Divide food into individual portions so it freezes and thaws quickly and evenly.

  • Freshly cooked foods should always be cooled to room temperature before being placed in the freezer. By putting food that is still hot in the freezer, it can raise the temperature inside the freezer, causing frozen items to partially thaw and refreeze. This can alter the texture and taste of some foods.

  • Select containers only slightly larger than the food being stored and frozen, to discourage large ice crystals from forming in the containers.

  • Pack food tightly to eliminate as much air as possible. Air causes freezer burn and loss of nutrients, plus it shortens storage life.

  • Slightly undercook foods (except baked goods) that you intend to reheat after freezing, since reheating cooks food further.

  • Thaw food in the refrigerator to minimize bacteria. Once thawed, eat it as soon as possible. Thawed food spoils more quickly than fresh.

  • Never re-freeze thawed food!

  • Vegetables freeze better than meat, seafood and fruit. Freezer-friendly foods include: Cooked poultry in casseroles, most vegetables in sauce, baked meat loaf, cooked dried beans, cooked rice or pasta.

  • Avoid Freezing: High-sodium foods (salt lowers the freezing point of water, so heavily salted foods don't freeze as well nor do they have as long a shelf life); mayonnaise (it separates); salad greens (they become limp); high-fat foods, such as bacon (it will become rancid quickly); cooked egg whites (they become tough)