There are those of us who never think about which foods are best to freeze. However, when using the freezer as your long-term food storage method, you will want to be informed.
The following are some of the best and worst foods to store in the freezer. Keep these in mind the next time you want to freeze something.
Best Foods to Freeze
- Meats – beef, poultry, wild game and fish
- Baked goods – yeast breads, cakes, muffins, cookies, pizza crusts and even pies
- Dairy – butter and margarine
- Grains – wheat berries, rice, quinoa, etc. freeze well.
- Nuts – any nut varieties freeze well.
- Beans – all bean varieties freeze well. Further cooking some beans in advance and then freezing them will cut down on fuel consumption during emergencies.
Some Foods Will Change In Texture
- Fruits and vegetables – fresh fruit and vegetables that have a high water content will not freeze well.
- Potatoes – This popular food staple may freeze well, but it needs to be cooked before you place it in the freezer.
- Pastas – if fully cooked pastas are frozen, once thawed their texture will be very soft. Cooking them three quarters of the recommended time will cut this down. Keep in mind that pastas frozen in liquid or sauce will absorb much of the sauce.
- Milk and dairy products – these products can be frozen but may separate after being frozen. Cheese will become crumbly and hard to slice but is fine for cooking or melting.
- Herbs – herbs textures may be more limp once thawed, but their flavor will remain. Drying the herbs in a dehydrator and freezing them will prolong them.
- Raw eggs – if you have a surplus of eggs, freezing them could be the answer you’re looking for. Eggs removed from their shells can be frozen but are mixed with a bit of salt or sugar to keep them from turning rubbery.
- Cooked eggs – eggs that are scrambled or used in a recipe freeze well. Boiled eggs don’t do as well because the whites get rubbery.
- Fried foods – this type of food will not freeze well. The fried food will lose its crispness but if reheated in an oven, it should crisp up.
- Salty fatty meats – meats such as bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs, some lunch meats and some fish do not last long in the freezer. The USDA only recommends freezing these items for 1-2 months. The salt causes fat to go rancid in the freezer. Many people freeze these items longer so use your best judgment. If it looks or smells ‘off’ toss it.
Foods That Shouldn’t be Frozen
- Cornstarch loses its thickening power. Use a rue made of butter and flour (or rice flour if you’re gluten free) instead.
- Gelatin weeps, or loses water.
- Vegetables such as lettuces, celery, radishes and cucumbers become a watery mess.
- Melons get very soft and lose much of their juice. They can still be used for smoothies but generally are not frozen.
- Meringue toppings become tough and rubbery.
- Custards and cream puddings can separate.
- Mayonnaise tends to separate.
- Crumb toppings for things like casseroles or desserts can become soggy.
- Egg white based icing or frosting can become frothy or weep.