ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Freeze Food Safely

Updated on September 27, 2017

Clean & Disinfect Equipment

How to prepare food before freezing

Before you even start to freeze your food, you want to make sure that your freezer is both clean and disinfected. Food contamination is a common, but serious, health hazard and should not be ignored.

You want to clean both the interior and exterior surfaces of your freezer, removing and dirt, dust, sauces, and food spills. For the interior of your freezer, I recommend using hot water and 2 tbsp. of baking soda or a gentle dish soap. For the exterior of the freezer you may use a stronger cleaning/disinfecting agent such as Lysol or bleach. When cleaning, make sure to get all surfaces of the freezer and, if necessary, use a toothbrush to clean hard to reach cracks and crevices.

You also want to make sure any surfaces, equipment, containers, and utensils that you will be using to prepare the food to be frozen are clean as well.


Packaging/Storing food for Freezing

How to store food to freeze

When it comes to packaging and storing food in the freezer, there are several types of packaging to choose from. You can wrap the food in various types of freezer packaging, store in glass, foil, or plastic containers, or use even in certain types of bags.

Freezer Packaging:

There are three main types of packaging that I suggest for wrapping your food. They are foil, freezer paper, and plastic wrap. When using foil, it is best to use a heavy-duty foil for its thickness and because it won’t tear as easily as the thinner flimsy foils. Foil is easy for labeling because you can write, right on the packaging with a Sharpie Marker. Another perk with using foil is that you can unthaw and heat your frozen food right in the foil (DO NOT USE IN MICROWAVE!).

Freezer paper is a good packaging choice because it is made to go into the freezer. Most types generally come with a slick surface to place the food on which keeps the packaging from sticking to the food when you are unwrapping it. Freezer paper can also easily be labeled by writing directly on the package with a Sharpie marker.

Plastic wrap (aka clingwrap) is also an option, however it is my least favorite to recommend. I find it difficult to get as airtight of a seal as with the others. However, if you do choose to use plastic wrap I suggest using a wrap that can be used both in the freezer and in the microwave.


Best Containers to freeze food in

Containers:

Foil containers are a great choice for storing large quantities of food, casseroles, and/or chunky stews and soups. They come in all shapes and sizes and they can be used to thaw and reheat your food in a conventional oven. You can get them with foil lined lids that can also be written on, to make labeling easy. Foil containers are also easy on the environment because they can be recycled along with your pop cans (excluding the cardboard lids). You may choose to reuse foil containers, however you must clean thoroughly to avoid bacteria and cross contamination.

Plastic containers are very convenient because they are relatively inexpensive and are reusable. They come in all shapes and sizes, with air tight lids, and are also sturdy enough to stack on top of each other. You can write directly on the plastic containers, however, I do not recommend this. It is better to use labels, than writing and crossing out on your containers.

Glass containers can be used but it must be a reinforced glass that is specially designed to withstand freezing temperatures. They too come in all shapes and sizes, with air tight lids, and are also sturdy enough to stack on top of each other. However, they are more expensive than their plastic counterparts.


Is freezing food in plastic bags safe

Bags:

There are two types of bags that I recommend to freeze foods in. One is foil bags, and the other is polythene freezer bags. There are traditional plastic bags that advertise they can be used for freezing foods, but I find that they do not hold up well to tears and freezer burn.

Foil bags and polythene bags are great for freezing soups and other liquids, such as, juice, smoothies and sauces. They are very strong and prevent tears and leakage.

Rotation

Now that you have your food packaged, labeled, and ready to go in the freezer, you want to make sure and have a rotational system so that you are not placing newly frozen food right on top or in the front. You want to use the oldest frozen food first so as not to waste food, by having it go bad because you were only using the freshly frozen food.

Quantities

Once you have decided on what types of container(s) you want to use to freeze your food, you want to decide, in what quantities you want to freeze your food. You want to package your food in usable, manageable quantities. If you bought your meat or chicken from a bulk food store like Costco or Sam’s Club, you don’t want to freeze all 10 lbs of hamburger together or 50 drum sticks all in the same container. You want to freeze the hamburger in 1-2 lb packages. You can always unthaw more than one package at a time, but you cannot refreeze the meat once you have unthawed it if you have unthawed too much. Use this same principle if you have made large quantities of casseroles and soups. By storing the food in manageable quantities, you reduce the amount of food that goes to waste.

Length of Time

How long to freeze food

FROZEN FOOD DOES NOT LAST FOREVER!! All frozen food deteriorates over time and becomes unsafe to eat, even if thoroughly cooked. You want to make sure you are aware of the length of time a food is recommended to be frozen, and to eat the foods before that time is up.

Labeling

Once you have packaged your foods in the quantities you desire, you want to make sure to label each package with a description of what they are, the date they are being put in the freezer, and the date they should be used by. Don’t fall under the misguided notion that food in the freezer does not go bad, because you will risk making yourself or your family sick by eating food that has been frozen too long.

There are many different labeling methods and each one no better or worse than the next. You should use a labeling system that is easy for you to understand, and one that you will maintain. You can choose to color code your foods, so that each food group has a specific color. However, you will want to have a color key so that others can follow it and know what they are unthawing. You can use shorthand, but you want to make sure that it is easily understandable. Some people like to write on labels and stick them on the containers and packages. My personal preferences, is to simply write on the package itself unless it is a container and then I use labels. I note the date that I am freezing the food, the type of food that it is, the quantity of food (i.e. 2lbs ground beef), and the date that it should be used by. But, use whatever system works for you.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)