A. Most foods that contain a lot of water. Meats and pantry items can withstand freezing temperatures, but their quality may be affected, says Tina Hanes, a food-safety specialist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline. But the following should always stay out of the freezer:
- Eggs in their shell, which pose a health threat if frozen. Freezing temperatures cause the egg’s water content to expand, which can crack the shell and let bacteria in.
- Fresh, water-rich vegetables, such as celery, lettuce, and cucumbers. These freeze easily, but when the ice crystals melt during thawing, you’re left with soggy, limp greens.
- Soft cheeses with a high water content, such as cottage cheese, ricotta, and cream cheese. They lose their fluffy texture when the water in them returns to room temperature.
- Food emulsions, such as mayonnaise and cream, which, when frozen, develop large ice crystals that puncture the cell walls. When they thaw, the foods separate and curdle.
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