Basic Guide and Tips
To minimize grocery trips consider freezing food. But before you do, make sure you understand different foods will require different freezing methods in order to ensure their freshness.
For practical reasons, people prefer freezing food. This will allow them to cut back on their grocery trips and have more time to spend on more important things. If you are one of these people who buy food in bulk and store them in your freezer, you should know that there is a proper way of doing this. If you do it right, you will be able to ensure your family fresh and great tasting food when it is time to eat. In addition, you also need to know the different freezing requirements of certain food especially those which spoil easily.
Here are some tips to remember when freezing food:
Meat, fish and poultry – even if these items are already wrapped in plastic when you buy them from the grocery, it would still be a good idea to wrap them again or put them in freezer bags or plastic containers. This is because wrappers from groceries tend to get damaged with the constant handling and you would not want your food to be susceptible to freezer burn. You can store these foods in your freezer for as long as 3 months.
Baked Goods – these items freeze well so there is really nothing to worry about. Just make sure to wrap them properly so that they will not dry out and taste stale when you thaw them. Typically, you can keep cakes (unfrosted) and bread for as long as two months while frosted cakes and cookies can be stored for a year.
Cheese and Milk – you will be surprised to know that milk can be frozen for as long as three months. But dairy experts recommend you only freeze 1%, 2% and skim milk. When you freeze milk, make sure you leave extra space in the container because they will still expand. As for cheese, you can put them in a container and freeze them for three months.
Fresh Vegetables – these items are quite challenging to freeze. The trick is to blanch them first before storing in a container and putting them in the freezer. You can keep them frozen for as long as eight months. When thawing, it is better to keep them in icy water to keep their texture and color.
Fresh Fruits – before freezing fruits, make sure you wash them properly and thoroughly and put them inside freezer bags. You should consumer frozen fruits within six months.
Some Quick Tips When Freezing Food
It is important for you to keep your frozen items organize. Use freezer bags or plastic containers with covers. For more convenience, use clear containers so that you will have no problems identifying what you stored. If you want, you can label your food or keep a notebook where you can list down the items in your freezer. Make sure you include the date of the purchase and expiration date. If you have to freeze cooked meals, be sure to let them cool down to at least room temperature. But do not let them stand long for they will attract bacteria and other microorganisms.
It is important you take care of your freezer by not overloading it. Make sure that you leave space between your containers so that air can still circulate. If you have a freezer with manual defrost system, be sure to defrost regularly. Allowing ice to build up in your freezer will mean less space for your food and make your freezer less efficient.
When freezing food, your objective is to make sure the quality of the food is not compromised. By knowing how long you can store different foods in your freezer, you minimize the risk of wasting food because they were not frozen properly. It is important you keep track of your frozen items and consume them before they get spoiled. Most foods come with “use by date” and it would be smart to consider such date to be the date when food will start to lose its quality but are still considered to be safe for consumption.