GUIDE TO FREEZING FOOD
Freezing retards the growth of microorganisms and enzymes that cause food spoilage. For best flavor and texture, home-frozen foods should be used within 6 to 9 months.
Never store more than 0,5 kilo's of food per cubic decimeter (2 or 3 pounds per cubic foot) of freezer capacity at one time. Otherwise, you will overload the freezer, making it more difficult to maintain the recommended -18° C (0° F) temperature. Keep a freezer thermometer in the freezer and check the temperature about once a month.
An almost empty freezer is more expensive to operate than one that is nearly full. Frozen foods help keep their neighbors frozen, so keep your freezer well stocked. Here are a few more tips to make freezer storage simple and your food safe:
Place the newest food packages in the bottom or near the back of the freezer, then move the older ones so they are next in line for use.
Color code or label packages with different markers to help you identify foods in the freezer.
Post a list of all frozen food (with dates) near the freezer and check off what is used.
Don't Freeze These Foods
Wrapping Food for the Freezer
If you're freezing food for a short time, plastic bags or wrap are adequate. Wrap foods airtight to decrease the chance of "freezer burn," which occurs when air meets frozen food. Freezer burn is not harmful but adversely affects the food's texture and color.
For longer periods, use special wrappings such as heavy-duty aluminum foil, special plastic freezer bags, or freezer wrap. You can also use heavy-duty plastic containers or jars, but never put glass containers in the freezer; the extreme temperatures may cause the glass to break. Remember to leave head space in jars or containers because foods expand during freezing. In all cases, packages should be secure, airtight, and clearly labeled with contents and date.
When freezing fruit, wash it well, then follow a specific freezing recipe. Sometimes ascorbic acid or another antidarkening agent is called for; these products are readily available in supermarkets and pharmacies. Fruit can be packed in syrup or sugar or be completely unsweetened.
Thaw frozen fruit in its freezer container, and use it as soon as it is thawed for best flavor and texture. When fruit is completely thawed, the texture will be a bit mushy, so plan on using frozen fruit in sauces, pies, or other recipes that don't require perfect texture.
When freezing vegetables, wash them thoroughly, then prepare according to individual freezing recipes. For optimal taste, color, and texture, most vegetables — except peppers and onions — are best blanched before freezing. Times vary for each vegetable and recipe. Frozen vegetables can be cooked from the frozen state or thawed first. Remember that cooking times will be shorter, since the vegetable was partially cooked during the blanching process.
Freeze meatballs, berries, or cookies in a single layer on a baking sheet first, then place frozen pieces in bags for long-term storage. This way, they will freeze more quickly and won't stick together.
For perfectly shaped packages that stack easily, freeze foods in a casserole dish lined with heavy-duty foil (allow enough extra foil to cover the top). After the food freezes, remove the foil-wrapped food and use the dish for something else.
Safeguarding Grains and Cereals
You can store grains and cereals in the refrigerator to increase their shelf life. This is an especially good idea in warm weather.
Curious to what more you can freeze and how? Find here our Top 25 Things You Can Freeze To Save Time and Money: