Food Freezing Do's and Don'ts

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Freezing food can be a huge money saving strategy, but only if done properly and safely. The two most common misconceptions with freezing food is:

1) Anything can be frozen

2) Food can be frozen indefinitely and still be good/safe to eat

Neither of these are true. Not everything can be frozen, nor can the items that can be frozen, be frozen forever and still be okay to eat. This article lists some simple do's and dont's of freezing food as well as supplying some simple guidelines from the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service and the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

 

Freezing Do's and Don'ts

Do pack the foods as tightly as possible, in the container with as little air as possible (see next do).

Do allow additional room between the packed food and the closure to allow for expansion as the food freezes.

Do freeze foods as soon as they are packaged and sealed.

Do freeze foods at 00F or lower.

Do only freeze as much food as will freeze in 24 hours or less. (generally 2-3lb per cubic foot).

Do trim the fat off your meats before freezing as it deteriorates more rapidly.

Do's and Don'ts of freezing

Don’t overpack your freezer. Allow space between packages to allow air to circulate freely.

Don’t unthaw and then refreeze food, especially raw meat.

Don’t freeze spices, it can change the color and flavor of the spice (most generally become bitter).

Don’t freeze damaged or overripe foods.

Don’t freeze raw and cooked foods together (in same container).

Don’t freeze food that specifically states they should not be frozen.

Don’t freeze food indefinitely.

Foods That Do Not Freeze Well

Foods 
Usual Use
Condition After Thawing 
Cabbage, celery, cress, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, parsley, radishes 
As raw salad
Limp, water-logged, develops oxidized color, aroma and flavor 
Irish potatoes, baked or boiled 
In soups, salads, sauces or with butter 
Soft, crumbly, water-logged, mealy 
Cooked macaroni, spaghetti or rice 
When frozen alone for later use 
Mushy, tasted warmed over 
Egg whites, cooked
In salads, creamed foods, sandwiches, sauces, gravy or desserts
Soft, tough, rubbery, spongy
Meringue
In desserts
Soft, tough, rubbery, spongy
Icings made from egg whites
Cakes, cookies
Frothy, weeps
Cream or custard fillings
Pies, baked goods
Separates, watery, lumpy
Milk sauces
For casseroles or gravies
May curdle or separate
Sour Cream
As topping, in salads
Separates, watery
Cheese or crumb toppings
On casseroles
Soggy
Mayonnaise or salad dressing
On sandwiches (not in salads)
Seperates
Gelatin
In salads or desserts
Weeps
Fruit Jelly
Sandwiches
May soak bread
Fried Foods
All except French fried potatoes and onion rings
Lose crispness, become soggy
Table extracted from "So Easy to Preserve", 5th ed. 2006. Bulletin 989, Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, Athens. Revised by Elizabeth L. Andress. Ph.D. and Judy A. Harrison, Ph.D, Extension Food Specialists

Freezer Storage Chart (0 F)

Item 
Months 
 Bacon and Sausage
 1 to 2
Casseroles 
2 to 3 
Egg whites or egg substitutes 
12 
Frozen Dinners and Entrees
3 to 4
Gravy (meat or poultry)
2 to 3
Ham, Hotdogs, and Lunchmeats
1 to 2
Meat, uncooked roasts
4 to 12
Meat, uncooked steaks or chops
4 to 12
Meat, uncooked ground
3 to 4
Meat, cooked
2 to 3
Poultry, uncooked whole
12
Poultry, uncooked parts
9
Poultry, uncooked giblets
3 to 4
Poultry, cooked
4
Soups and Stews
2 to 3
Wild game, uncooked
8 to 12
Table courtesy of the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service

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Comments 2 comments

Novel Treasure profile image

Novel Treasure 4 years ago from US Author

Thank you! I'm glad you found it helpful.


SunsetSky profile image

SunsetSky 4 years ago from USA

What a great hub! I like that you included a chart showing how long to keep certain frozen foods. I have been keeping some foods too long. Voted up.

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