How to Freeze (and Thaw) Food—Plus How to Keep Your Freezer Organized
Is your freezer overflowing with food that's been in there for over a year? First, don't view the freezer as an intermediary between the stove and the trash can. It might sound obvious, but freeze only the foods you liked before they were frozen. You can do many things to keep soups and casseroles tasting almost as good as they were when they went into the freezer (more on this later), but no food will taste better after it's frozen and thawed.
So ditch the frozen food you won't eat, then learn how to properly freeze the foods you eat often (hello, frozen avocados!). We're sharing some kitchen-altering freezer tips and answering several frequently asked questions: Can glass go in the freezer? Yes, but it needs to be tempered glass. Can you freeze eggs? Only if they are prepared correctly.
Keep reading to find out more. You may reinforce techniques you already know and also learn some new tricks to keep your food tasting fresh.
How to Freeze Food Correctly
What to Freeze
Your freezer is not just a place to store chili and Chunky Monkey. Think of it more as the arctic extension of your pantry: a place to store staples―and even some specialty items―that will make your cooking more efficient and enjoyable. Here's how to keep several common freezer foods.
How to Thaw
The flavor and texture of foods you've kept in the freezer can depend on how the foods are defrosted. Slow thawing in the refrigerator is the gentlest method, resulting in the least change in texture and taste. If you can't wait overnight (or several days for a large piece of meat), there are alternatives.
How to Organize a Freezer
- If the freezer is deep, post a list outside of what's inside. Record the date you stored each item. Use a magnetic pad or an erasable message board.
- Use square Tupperware whenever possible. Square containers can be stacked and positioned in corners and don't take up as much space as round containers.
- Stack similar foods together. If you have a side-by-side refrigerator-freezer, designate one shelf for meat, one for baked goods, and one for vegetables.
- Edit the contents of your freezer periodically. Reorganize so that the oldest items are always in front and are therefore used first.
What Is Freezer Burn?
Freezer burn occurs when the air dries out the surface of foods, toughening the texture and worsening flavors. The burn is easy to identify (it's frosty and gray), and it can be prevented by wrapping foods in airtight freezer-designed packages. (Be sure to keep the freezer door open only as briefly as possible. Too much exposure to warm air can cause temperature fluctuations, which invite freezer burn.)
If your ice crystal-scorched food hasn't been in the freezer longer than the recommended storing time, cut off the offending area as it thaws and cook as planned. Keep in mind: There's nothing unsafe about freezer burn. It might not taste good, but it's not going to make anyone sick. To help prevent future freezer burn, ensure you're keeping your freezer at the ideal temperature.