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Freezing Tips

Updated on March 7, 2015

Freezing Food Correctly

  • Cool food quickly and completely before freezing.
  • Make sure the refrigerator temperature is between 34 - 40 degrees and your freezer at 0 degrees.
  • Make sure you store the food in containers that are moisture and vapor proof. Best choices are: plastic freezer containers, freezer wrap, freezer bags or foil.
  • When packaging food make sure you remove as much air as possible.
  • Make sure you label and date each package.
  • When placing packaged food in freezer spread out packages to enable them to freeze quicker. Once they are frozen you can then stack the packages.
  • When defrosting frozen food make sure you defrost in the refrigerator, in cold water or in the microwave.


Freezer and Refrigerator Guidelines

Food Items 
Refrigerator Time 
Freezer Time 
bacon
7 days
1 month
brick
3 - 4 weeks 
6 months 
brie 
1 week 
6 months 
butter
1 - 3 months
6 -9 months
buttermilk
7 - 14 days
3 months
catfish
1 - 2 days
2 - 3 months
cheddar cheese
3 - 4 weeks
6 months
cod
1 - 2 days
6 months
crab, cooked
1 -2 days
3 months
cream/heavy whipping
3 days
2 - 4 months
cream/half and half
3 days
2 - 4 months
duck
1 - 2 days
6 months
eggs/whites or yolks uncooked
2 - 4 days
1 -2 months
flounder
1 - 2 days
6 months
fruit pie, baked
1 -2 days
8 months
fruit pie, baked
4 - 5 days
1 - 2 months
goose
1 - 2 days
6 - 12 months
gravy
3 - 4 days
2 - 3 months
ground meat, uncooked
1 - 2 day
3 - 4 months
halibut
1 -2 days
6 months
ham
3 - 5 days
1 - 2 months
heart
1 - 2 days
1 - 2 months
hot dogs/unopened
2 weeks
1 - 2 months
hot dogs/opened
1 week
1 - 2 months
kidney
1 - 2 days
6 months
luncheon meat
3 - 5 days
1 - 2 months
margarine
4 - 5 months
12 months
milk
7 days
3 months
monterey jack cheese
3 - 4 weeks
6 months
mozzarella cheese
3 - 4 weeks
6 months
nuts
3 - 6 months
6 - 12 months
orange roughy
1 - 2 days
6 months
parmesan/romano cheese, grated
2 months
6 months
perch
1 - 2 days
2 - 3 months
pork chops
3 - 5 days
4 - 6 months
pumpkin pie
4 - 5 days
2 months
rabbit
1 - 2 days
6 months
roasts
3 - 5 days
4 - 12 months
salmon
1 - 2 days
2 - 3 months
sausage, fresh
1 - 2 days
1 - 2 months
scallops/cooked
3 - 4 days
3 months
scallops/uncooked
1 - 2 days
3 - 6 months
shrimp/cooked
3 - 4 days
3 months
shrimp/uncooked
1 - 2 days
3 - 6 months
steaks
3 - 5 days
6 - 12 months
tongue
1 - 2 days
3 - 6 months
whitefish
1 - 2 days
2 - 3 months
yogurt
7 - 21 days
1 - 2 months

What not to freeze

  • cucumbers
  • custards
  • cream puddings
  • geletin
  • lettuce
  • mayonnaise
  • melons
  • meringue
  • radishes

Freezing tips

  • Freeze food quickly when you know you will not be using it immediately. The closer to peak of freshness you freeze the food, the better the flavor.
  • Freeze cooked food as soon as it has cooled to room temperature.
  • In order to maintain the quality of your food freeze as quickly as possible.
  • Freezing slows down the deterioration of food it does not stop it. You cannot freeze food indefinitely eventually it will spoil. Pay close attention to freezer times.
  • Once you have properly thawed a package of frozen food it is safe to refreeze it.
  • Leave space between packages in the freezer so air can circulate. Do not overload your freezer.
  • Even though freezing foods inactivates yeast, bacteria and mold, once the food is thawed they can once again become active.
  • When freezing dishes that do not completely fill container crumple up so wax paper and place in empty space between the food and the lid. This will help keep the food from getting freezer burn.
  • Meat and casseroles can be cooked straight from the freezer without jeopardising quality.
  • Freezing does not affect the nutrient value of a food.
  • Package food in smaller portions so it cools quicker, freezes quicker and thaws quicker.
  • If your food becomes freezer burned, cut off the portion that has the burn. If there is too much of the food showing freezer burn you will have to discard the food.


Comments

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    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Fluffy, thanks for the vote up. I always say you learn something new every day.

    • Fluffy77 profile image

      Fluffy77 

      7 years ago from Enterprise, OR

      Great advise on freezing foods, voted you up here. We have been freezing many things for quite a few years now, but you still always seem to learn something new. Thanks.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Sun-Girl, you're making me blush. :) I am thrilled that my writing inspires you.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      midnightbliss, I'm happy I could provide you with some guidelines. You can't be too safe with food.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      livelonger, thank you for you comments. I've frequently had problems with freezer burn. I'm glad I could help.

    • Sun-Girl profile image

      Sun-Girl 

      7 years ago from Nigeria

      Lovely article from a great and wonderful writer who always inspires me a lot after reading your hubs,great work. Thanks.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 

      7 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      these are great tips on freezing foods. i really didn't have any guidelines in freezing foods, so far everything was Ok but its better to have some guidelines for safety.

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 

      7 years ago from San Francisco

      Wow, what an amazing Hub - this is a reference you can return to again and again. I especially like the advice on how to deal with freezer burn, something that usually affects my frozen food.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Gordon, I try to be thorough. :-) Thanks for sharing.

    • Gordon Hamilton profile image

      Gordon Hamilton 

      7 years ago from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom

      Wow - this is what I call a comprehensive guide! I don't actually freeze a lot of food but I know many people who do and will be sure to share this information with them straight away. Off to e-mail...! :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Om, there is a lot of confusion about how long you can leave food in the freezer. There's only so long it can live in there before it begins to breakdown. Thanks for the comment.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      7 years ago

      Thanks for these nifty tips, KoffeKlatch. The freezer and refrigerator guidelines are very helpful! :)

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      You are quite welcome marellen.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      gr82bme, as long as you thaw the meat in the refrigerator you can refreeze. It may lose a little of the full flavor but the meat will still be unspoiled. If you try to quick method unfreeze, in cold water, you will have a softer meat but as long as it doesn't get to room temperature you will be ok.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      cardelean, I was the same way until I actually tried it myself. It's a great money saved. You can stock up on items when they're on sale.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      dearabbysmom, you'd be surprized how many people do just that. I had someone get unhappy with me a year or so ago when I packaged up the food and put it away soon after we finished eating.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile imageAUTHOR

      Susan Hazelton 

      7 years ago from Sunny Florida

      dahoglund, thanks. I appreciate the rating.

    • profile image

      marellen 

      7 years ago

      Thanks bunchs for all your good tips. Very informative hub.

    • gr82bme profile image

      gr82bme 

      7 years ago from USA

      You say you can refreeze food once it has been completely thawed. Even meat?

      Great tips

      voted up

    • cardelean profile image

      cardelean 

      7 years ago from Michigan

      Great guide. I have always been a little weary of freezing things like milk and cheese. Not really sure why, I guess it's just a weird quirk of mine.

    • dearabbysmom profile image

      dearabbysmom 

      7 years ago from Indiana

      Great information. Thank you for the very first directive! I have relatives that leave food sit on the kitchen counter for hours to "cool" then they freeze it. I just know those dishes are full of scary things!

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      These are useful tips on freezing foods.Up and useful.

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