Whether it’s leftovers or meal prep, this comprehensive guide on freezing and storing foods is here to help you.
These methods and tips have worked wonderfully for me and several other home cooks
So, let’s start.
- Benefits of Freezing Food
- Pre-Freezing Preparations
- Methods of Freezing Foods
- Method 2 – Freezing Foods in Freezer-Safe Air-Tight Container
- Method 3 – Freezing Foods after Double Wrapping Them
- Method 4 – Freezing Foods after Flash Freezing Them
- How to Store Frozen Food?
- Bottom Line
- A to Z Guide to Freeze Specific Foods
- Can You Freeze Deli Meats? How?
- Can You Freeze Pecan Pie? How?
Benefits of Freezing Food
Before we get started, let’s see why we should be freezing foods in the first place. Apart from saving time in your busy schedules, as meal prep, it can also keep food fresh for longer.
Freezing Food Keeps It Fresh for Longer
If you have ever had to deal with leftovers or made food in bulk, you might have had to finish it up within a week, since it doesn’t last too well in the fridge for long.
This issue is solved if you freeze food, and you won’t lose out on any of its nutritional value.
Save Money and Avoid Wastage
Instead of spending frequently on dinners outside, you can choose to spend a few hours a week prepping meals, and you can have fresh and hot healthy meals all through the week.
Freezing also avoids having to throw away extra portions, which you can always reheat later.
Freezing Involves Fewer Preservatives
Freezing food is pretty straightforward, and you don’t have to add any preservatives to make it last for a couple of months in the freezer.
Keeping it healthier and fresh than other options.
Once you have got these few steps checked off your list, you can keep your cooked food frozen for as long as you would like.
Cool Down after Cooking
If you have just cooked a dish, always make sure to cool let it sit on the kitchen counter for an hour or so to let it cool down to room temperature.
If the food is frozen while it is warm can affect the texture and quality of the food when it is frozen.
It is best to freeze foods when they are freshly made or just bought.
The longer it is left out in the open, or the fridge deteriorates its condition and increases the chances of it spoiling after freezing.
Assemble in the End
Whether it’s a pasta bake or cake and frosting, it is always best to assemble or mix after you have taken it out of the freezer.
Although there is no harm in freezing mixed leftovers, it is always best to keep the elements separate to ensure that it lasts longer with minimal change in texture or taste.
Methods of Freezing Foods
Now that we have covered the basic stuff, let’s get right into the freezing part.
Method 1 – Freezing Foods in Ziploc Bags
Freezing foods as thin sheets in Ziploc bags is one of the best ways to portion and freeze big batches of food, all the while saving freezer space.
- Prep the food and let it cool down to room temperature.
- Portion the food and pack it into Ziploc bags.
- Seal the Ziploc bag after making sure to squeeze out all the excess air.
- Lay them flat on a baking sheet and flash freeze them
- Once they are frozen solid, you can add a label with the best before date and stack them on top of each other for the long term.
Check out this video by “Serious Eats” on YouTube to see how it is done –
Method 2 – Freezing Foods in Freezer-Safe Air-Tight Container
If you are freezing foods like pasta bake, it would be best to use a freezer-safe air-tight container to keep all its layers intact.
- Once you have cooked the meal, let it cool down to room temperature.
- Portion and pack them into freezer-safe air-tight containers and seal them in. If you are freezing a liquid, be sure to leave at least an inch of space at the top to accommodate any expansion.
- Label the container with the best before date, and you are all set.
Check out this video by “Phyllis Stokes and Sons” on YouTube, freezing mac and cheese meals, to get an idea of how to go about it –
Method 3 – Freezing Foods after Double Wrapping Them
In the case of foods like cakes or scones, it is best to freeze them after thoroughly wrapping them to protect them well from freezer burns and lock in the moisture – without having to worry about damaging their shape.
- Prep and cool the food, you plan to freeze, down to room temperature.
- Wrap the food in cling wrap or parchment paper. Then double wrap it with some foil paper.
- If keeping the shape intact is important, you can flash freeze the food before you get to the next step.
- Pack the food into a Ziploc bag and label it with the best before date. Now, you are all set to freeze it.
Here is a tutorial of double wrapping a cake by “I Scream for Buttercream” to get a clearer picture –
Method 4 – Freezing Foods after Flash Freezing Them
When freezing foods like roasted potatoes or cooked pasta, you don’t want to end up with a big lump of frozen
food to work with. So, flash freezing them beforehand is a great solution.
- Prep and cool the food down to room temperature.
- Spread the food out on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure that it is evenly spaced and isn’t clumped together.
- Flash freeze the food for a couple of hours or overnight and let it set solid.
- Pack the frozen food into a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe air-tight container and seal them in.
- Label the bag or container, and you are ready to freeze them for the long term.
To get an idea, check out this tutorial of freezing roasted potatoes by “My Fussy Eater (Ciara Atwell)” on YouTube –
How to Store Frozen Food?
You can store frozen food in any freezer-safe air-tight container or Ziploc bag. You could also store them in mason jars as long as they are freezer-safe.
The key is to keep the food covered from the air and protected from freezer burns.
Precautions Before Packing
If you are freezing liquid or semi-fluid foods, you need to take care to leave at least an inch space at the top to accommodate any expansion once it freezes.
If you stuff the food to the brim, the container might crack and leak its contents.
Also, try to portion beforehand because refreezing frozen food is always a last resort. It is best not to have to thaw a big batch just to get a small portion out of it.
Another thing to keep in mind is the freezer space. If you are pressed for freezer space, opt for Ziploc bags. You can freeze big portions compactly by freezing the food into thin sheets you can stack on top of each other.
Best Materials to Pack
The best materials to opt for are freezer-safe plastic containers or Ziploc bags. You can also use glass jars or mason jars as long as there is sufficient space at the top to allow for expansion.
But do not opt for metal containers, especially if the food is acidic, like in the case of pickles or jams. The acid can react with the metal and spoil the food, making it unsafe to eat.
Best Places to Store after Packing
Keep the food that you don’t plan to take out immediately in the coldest corner of the freezer. This will ensure steady temperatures and even cooling of the food for the long term.
I hope this article helped you make the most out of your food by freezing them.
If you have any queries or would like to share any tips and tricks of your own, feel free to let us know.
You can share this article with your friends and family to help them out.
A to Z Guide to Freeze Specific Foods