It does not matter if someone is freezing cooked leftovers or fresh produce; freezing food is one of the best and most effective ways to eliminate food waste and keep food on-hand for longer periods. However, some tricks should be used before freezing foods to ensure maximum freshness and flavors when taking it out of the freezer.
Food Safety Tips for Freezing Foods
Before trying to freeze anything, it is necessary to make sure the freezer is set at zero degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Having a dedicated refrigerator-freezer thermometer is required. It is possible to purchase a set of two online, with one for the freezer and one for the refrigerator. However, newer appliances come with this feature built-in.
Keep in mind that freezing the food will not kill the foodborne bacteria. Instead, it just slows down the ability that bacteria have to reproduce. Therefore, freezing food will prevent food from spoiling. After the food is thawed, the bacteria wake up and go about their business once again. This means the food must be cooked or eaten after it is fully thawed.
Most frozen foods will not stay useable in a freezer past the two to three-month range, but the actual timeline varies depending on the food being frozen. In many cases, it will be a matter of quality, not really food safety.
Tips to Freeze Foods
It is a good idea to use resalable freezer bags or plastic containers rather than glass, which may crack if it is subjected to swift changes in temperature. Also, remember sandwich bags and freezer bags are not actually the same things. A freezer bag is designed with thicker plastic, but the plastic that is used includes an additive that helps prevent the bag from getting brittle while stored in the freezer. This is not a feature that typical storage or sandwich bags offer.
When possible, freeze individual portions. This will help speed up the defrosting process and help reduce waste. Divide any stews or soups being frozen into individual bags with just a few servings instead of freezing the entire batch in one container. For some foods, wrapping them in butcher paper before freezing is a smart move.
A smaller sheet pan is ideal for freezing green beans, banana slices, berries, and other small items so they do not stick together. Be sure to spread them out on the sheet pan, freeze them, and then move to the freezer bag.
Consider freezing as a method to preserve the freshness of the food instead of just keeping it from spoiling. This means that, if someone freezes food at its freshest point, the process will provide a better result once the food is thawed.
Freezing Foods Considerations
When freezing foods for later use, there are more than a few factors that must be considered. Keep the tips and information here in mind to ensure the desired results are achieved. Being informed is the best way to handle the freezing process and feel confident the desired results will be achieved.