How to Freeze Foods

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To successfully freeze foods, there are some simple rules you need to follow. The two most important bits of advice are to make sure you wrap the foods very well, and that you keep careful track of what is in your freezer. Freezer burn is dehydration of the food caused by improper packing, and wastes food. And if you don't label the foods in your freezer and have a frequently updated chart of what's in there, your freezer will be impenetrable in a very short time - which also wastes food.

How to Freeze Food

  • Breads and Muffins: Cool completely before freezing. Do not frost. Freeze up to 1 month. To thaw, loosen wrap and let sit at room temp 2-3 hours. To heat, wrap in foil, reheat 350 degrees 15-20 minutes. Heat frozen waffles without thawing first.
  • Sandwiches: Don't make sandwiches with jelly, mayonnaise, cooked egg whites or raw veggies (especially lettuce). Choose peanut butter, cream cheese, meats, shredded cheeses, grilled and cooked veggies. Spread bread with a very thin layer of butter before layering. Freeze up to 2 weeks. To thaw, if using meats or cheeses, thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Frosted Cakes: Buttercream frosting freezes well. Custards and egg white frostings do not. Cool completely. Place unwrapped cake in freezer to harden frosting before wrapping. Thaw loosely covered overnight in fridge. Freeze up to 3 months.
  • Unfrosted cakes: Cool completely before freezing. Place cakes, especially angel and chiffon, in cake container to avoid crushing. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature 2-3 hours. Freeze up to 6 months.
  • Custard pies, Cream Pies, Meringues do not freeze well.
  • Unbaked fruit pies: Before filling, brush bottom crust with egg white to prevent sogginess. Add extra tablespoon of flour to filling. Don't cut vent holes in pastry. Cover with inverted pie plate until firm. To bake, unwrap, cut vent holes, bake at 425 degrees 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees, bake according to recipe until center bubbles and crust is brown. Freeze up to 3 months.
  • Baked Fruit Pies and Nut Pies: Cool completely before freezing. Cover with inverted pie plate until firm. Wrap well. To heat, unwrap, bake at 325 degrees for 30-45 minutes until warm. Freeze up to 4 months.
  • Cookie dough: Wrap well. Let thaw in refrigerator overnight before baking unless the recipe states the frozen dough can be baked. Shape into cookies before freezing for fastest baking. Freeze up to 3 months.
  • Baked unfrosted cookies: Cool completely, wrap well in layers in freezer container and freeze. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature. For crisp cookies, thaw unwrapped at room temperature. Freeze up to 1 year.
  • Baked frosted cookies: Freeze uncovered on cookie sheets until cookies and frosting are firm. Then stack in layers in freezer container, wrap well and freee. Thaw, wrapped, at room temperature. Freeze up to 2 months.
  • Butter: Freeze up to 9 months in original packaging, placed into heavy duty freezer bags. Thaw in refrigerator or in microwave.
  • Milk and cream is difficult to freeze unless whipped. Milk, cream and light cream will separate. Whipped heavy cream will freeze well. Place dollops on cookie sheet, freeze until firm, then place in bags and freeze. Let thaw in refrigerator.
  • Uncooked eggs and egg substitutes: If freezing yolks separately, add 1 tsp. sugar or salt per egg yolk, depending on end use. Make sure to mark what you added! Freeze up to 6 months.
  • Cooked eggs do not freeze well.
  • Mayonnaise does not freeze well.
  • Vegetables freeze well up to 6 months. Blanch before freezing. Remove as much air as possible from package before freezing. Vegetables with lots of water like salad greens and tomatoes do not freeze well. Do not freeze deep fried vegetables.
  • Fruits freeze up to 1 year. Freeze loose small fruits in single layer on cookie sheet until firm; then package in airtight freezer bag or container and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator.
  • Sauces freeze up to 3 months. Most sauces will separate after being frozen. If mixed with other ingredients, freezing quality will increase. Sauces with cornstarch and cheese lose quality fastest. Leave some head space for expansion when freezing in plastic containers.
  • Casseroles: Cornstarch and flour sauces can be frozen when mixed with other ingredients in a casserole. Slightly undercook casseroles, as they will finish cooking during reheating. Freeze up to 3 months.
  • Soups: Cool completely, skim off fat. Place in rigid plastic containers, leaving 1/2" head space for expansion. Freeze up to 6 months.
  • Meats: Freeze fresh meats up to a year, cured up to 3 months. Do NOT refreeze thawed meats. If you thaw frozen meat, cook it in some form, then it can be refrozen. Cured meats should be frozen for just one month. Do NOT freeze stuffed chicken or turkey. Make sure to reform ground beef into thin patties before freezing for quick thawing.
  • Fish: Freeze up to 3 months. Wrap tightly in heavy duty freezer wrap or plastic bags. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before cooking.
  • Cooked pasta: Cooked pastas lose quality when frozen. Undercook and freeze in a sauce for best results. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before reheating. Freeze up to 2 months.