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Freezing foods is a quick and easy way to preserve them for use at a later time. But improperly frozen foods can leave them dried out and freezer burned to the point that they are no longer edible. These tips will help you to properly store your foods in a freezer. It is very important that all foods are frozen in moisture proof wrapping or tightly sealed containers. A good quality heavy duty aluminum foil is great to wrap foods since it can be pressed to fit the shape of the food item. But you always need to be sure that an extra layer is placed around any sharp protrusions. Freezer bags with all the air removed are perfect for freezing foods. Some are of such high quality that you can even boil the food in the bag before serving it. Plastic containers work well for liquids but you should always leave 1\2 inch at the top to allow for expansion. Even heavy plastic wraps and freezer paper can be used to safely store some items. For food items that will be baked, foil pans make excellent storage. One of the most important things to remember is to date and label frozen food items. Then you can rotate the products using the older dates first.
Items that should not be frozen would include cucumbers, raw tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, boiled potatoes, cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, custard pies, cream fillings, fried foods or anything with a very high moisture content. Items such as breads, unfrosted cakes, precooked pastries, unbaked pie crust, stews, casseroles, meat pies, sauces, meats, cooked eggs, blanched fruits and vegetables can be frozen with great success. Breads and even bread dough can be stored air tight plastic bags in the freezer for up to 5 weeks. If you are planning to freeze a cake, leave off the frosting or use confectioners sugar and butter to make a frosting before you place it in a large freezer bag. Pastries should be brushed on the bottom and top with oil before place in a freezer bag. This will keep the crust from sticking to the bag when they are thawed. Cooked eggs can be stored in air tight plastic bags. Sauces, stews, casseroles and meat pies will need spices added after freezing since the cold tends to leach some of their flavor.
Meats should always have extra fat removed before freezing. Most meats are safely stored in double wrapped foil but plastic freezer bags with the air removed work as well. With poultry you should make sure the meat is dry before storing and never stuff it prior to freezing. Most vegetables will need to be blanched before freezing to destroy enzymes that cause loss of flavor and color. Depending on the thickness they should be left in boiling water from 2 to 8 minutes. Then allow to cool before storing in plastic bags or containers. With fruits the flavor is retained when freezing but you will notice a softer texture. Some fruits such as grapes, figs, blackberries, blueberries and cranberries can be left unsweetened but you will need to make sure they are dry before freezing. Peaches, applies, cherries that will be cooked after freezing should be stored in a syrup that will form naturally by adding 2 cups of sugar 1 quart of hot water to the fruit. If you are freezing a fruit that will darken in color be sure to add 1\4 teaspoon of ascorbic acid per quart of fruit.