Applying Your Appliance to Your Food Budget: A Guide to Freezing Food

When a person purchases a new refrigerator, chances are that more than likely he or she does not think twice about the freezer, taking it for granted as something that just comes as a part of the bigger refrigerator unit. Just the same, a freezer can actually be an extremely effective device for keeping and preserving food for a later use. There are a number of benefits to freezing one’s food. Only a few of them are, for example, saving time when preparing any meal, adding extra fruit to one’s breakfast at any time of the year, and even having homemade ice cream and sorbet accessible and available whenever it is desired. Freezing food is not something complicated, nor is it time-consuming.

There are numerous reasons to freeze food, but just some of them are the practical and straightforward benefits that people can incorporate into their average day. A person can either bake or cook food in bulk quantities and then freeze the food in portions that are individualized. These individualized portions can be used for any purpose as they are needed. There is also the motivation to cook food that will be frozen in larger quantities, just because the cost of cooking food in portions that are larger is actually less than cooking food in smaller portions. Another benefit that relates to keeping the food costs down is buying food for freezing while it is still in season and, therefore, at its cheapest, price-wise. Food obtained while it is still in season can then be frozen raw.

Before a person can freeze food successfully, he or she has to be familiar with some fundamental guidelines. Food that is frozen has to be of good quality to start off with, otherwise the frozen food will be poor when it is used later on. Food to be frozen should also be protected as much as possible from moisture and air, both of which can dry out food. Foods that are candidates for freezing should be frozen as soon as possible to reduce the number of ice crystals that will form and damage the food later on when it is thawed.

People using their freezer have to use containers designed for a freezer; these containers will keep moisture in and odor away from the food. Foods to be frozen should also be frozen in small portions because they faster to freeze, which also locks in freshness when they are thawed. If a person is using freezer bags, he or she should make sure that all air is squeezed out of the bag to avoid freezer burn. Strategic placing of the foods once in the freezer is also key to successful freezing. For example, hot foods should cool before being frozen, and even when it is cool, space should be left around its container so that it can freeze faster due to cold air circulating all around it.

Not all foods are going to be frozen in the same way. For example, berries and other fruits that squish easily should be frozen on a baking sheet and then transferred to a plastic bag or another kind of container. Foods frozen in dishes, like casseroles, should be frozen by first spreading its contents on a baking sheet. Wrap the baking sheet and then freeze it in its casserole dish until it is solid; remove from baking sheet block with the casserole contents in it from the dish, and stick the dish in the freezer, where it can last for up to three months. Vegetables, which can stay frozen for several months, should be washed and cut into small pieces, then blanched before being put into the freezer. Nuts are some of the easiest foods to freeze; just double-bag them by using freezer bags and put them in the freezer.

Some foods just cannot be frozen. Salad greens and vegetables like onions and celery should not be frozen because they will get limp and lose their crispness. Creamed cottage cheese is also not fit for freezing because it will get grainy and lose its texture at the same time. Sour cream should also not be frozen because of its tendency to separate, and whipping cream will not whip high anymore after it has been frozen. Potatoes should not be frozen either raw or after being boiled. The reason is that raw potatoes have a tendency to get mushy after being frozen, while boiled potatoes have a tendency to become tough and watery.