How to Freeze Anything
October 7, 2015
From meat to produce to dairy products, you can add months of shelf life to fresh foods by properly storing them in the freezer
How to Freeze Anything
Do you sometimes find yourself with a fridge full of food that you know you just can’t finish before it expires? We’ve been there too. You buy this and that with the intentions of cooking all week, but all too often life gets in the way, and perfectly good food is left spoiling on your shelves.
Most fruits can last frozen anywhere from eight to 12 months. You can keep lean breads for up to six months in the freezer, while quick breads, like muffins and biscuits, will keep for up to three months. Additionally, take the shelf life of vegetables from days in the fridge to almost a year in the freezer.
Remember to always cool your foods before you freeze them, always thaw food properly (in the fridge not on the counter), and to prevent freezer burn, remove as much air as possible from the bag or wrap in which you are freezing your food.
Read on for more tips on the best ways to freeze anything from fresh produce to meats to dairy products.
Breads: Lean Bread
Wrap your loaves, rolls, and baguettes in plastic wrap or freezer bags. Just be sure that plastic wrap or bag is airtight in order to keep your bread from forming freezer burn. Lean breads will keep for three to six months in the freezer. Pre-slice your bread before wrapping so you can remove a slice at a time.
Dairy: Soft Cheese
For soft cheeses, such as brie or goat cheese, cut the cheese into manageable portions. Next, wrap each portion tightly in plastic wrap. Finally, place the wrapped portions in an airtight freezer bag. The cheese will keep for about six months in the freezer.
As with any liquid, milk will expand in volume when frozen, so pour off some of the milk before freezing. Seal the top of the container with tape, and store in the freezer for up to three months.
For juice, it is important to remember that liquid expands when frozen, so if you're freezing the juice in its original container, pour off a little of it and then reseal the container with tape over the cap. (Do not freeze juice in glass.)
Meat: Lunch Meats
While you only have days to work your way through cold cuts stored in the freezer, you can keep cold cuts fresh stored in their original packaging inside an airtight bag in the freezer for one to two months.
If you find yourself with extra chicken or turkey, freeze it in tightly sealed bags in order to add up to a year to its shelf life. When you are ready to thaw your poultry, transfer it to the fridge to slowly thaw, or use the poultry defrosting setting on your microwave to speed up the process safely.
Ground Poultry, such as chicken or turkey, will keep in an airtight plastic bag in the freezer for three to four months.
Frozen poultry will keep longer whole than cut up. Store the poultry in a tightly sealed bag in the freezer this way for up to a year or cut into pieces for up to nine months.
Want to enjoy sweet summer corn and peas year round? Then start freezing these vegetables at peak freshness. For the best taste, blanch vegetables before freezing by cooking them in rapidly boiling water, and then putting the vegetables in ice water. Blanching vegetables slows the natural enzymes to keep flavors, color, and texture of your favorite vegetables at their best.
Vegetables: Broccoli and Cauliflower
Thoroughly wash and trim your vegetables, then blanch them for about three minutes. Once dried, store the vegetables in an airtight bag in the freezer for eight to 12 months.
Prepare the cabbage by shredding or cutting into manageable wedges. Next, blanch the cabbage for about one or two minutes. Finally, store the cabbage in an airtight bag in the freezer for eight to 12 months.
Prepare the corn by shucking and removing the corn from the cob. Blanch the kernels for three minutes, then store the corn in an airtight bag in the freezer for eight to 12 months.