To Freeze or Not to Freeze
Many of us are not sure what the rules are when it comes to freezing food. Which foods are safe to freeze? How long can you keep something in the freezer for? Should you freeze food when raw or cooked?
Freezing is a really amazing way of preserving our food because you don't have to use chemical preservatives, however it's worth bearing in mind that freezing doesn't completely remove bacteria, so if something is on the verge of going bad, it may be too late to pop it in the freezer.
There are simple guidelines you can follow to help you reduce your food waste, make your money go further and keep food fresher longer.
Foods you can freeze: For how long?
- Cooked pasta 1-2 months
- Cooked pasta meals e.g pasta bake 3 months
- Cooked rice 1 month
- Yoghurt (stir once thawed) 6-8 months
- Unsalted Butter 8 months
- Salted Butter 4 months
- Hard Cheeses 2-3 months
- Soft cheeses 2- 3 months
- Berries e.g blackberries 6 months
- Bananas, peeled 6 months
- Bread, in loaves or breadcrumbs 6 months
- Bread Dough 3 months
- Bread Products e.g crumpets up to a year
- Pancakes 2 months
- Pancake Batter 1 month
- Herbs 12 months
- Stock 6 months
- Wine 3 months
- Eggs ( beaten and placed in freezer bag) up to a year
- Scrambled Eggs 3-6 months
- Meat - raw, cooked 6 months
- Steak up to year
- Meat - processed e.g bacon/ sausages 3 months
- Poultry 6 months
- White Fish 8 months
- Oily Fish 4 months
- Blanched Vegetables 1 year
- Mashed Potato 2 months
- Baked Potato 3 months
- Fruit in syrup 1 year
- Fruit Juice 6 months
- Cakes 6 months
- Cake frosting 2 months
- Pastries 4 months
- Soups and Sauces 3 months
- Dog Food – canned and kibble 6 months
Foods that do not freeze well
Milk - it becomes lumpy once thawed (but this can be OK for cooking)
Salad greens and Crisp raw vegetables to be used in salads and sandwiches such as celery, onions and sweet peppers, will lose their crispness and become limp after freezing.
Eggs in the shell will expand and crack. Hard cooked egg whites will become tough and rubbery.
Ricotta and cottage cheeses will change texture, becoming grainy.
Sour cream and Soya Milk will separate when frozen and thawed.
Whipping cream will not whip after freezing
Potatoes become mushy if frozen raw, and watery and tough if boiled and then frozen
Fried Foods - they will become watery when thawed
Cream based soups and sauces – these will separate when frozen and thawed.
Dishes with crumb toppings - you’ll lose the crispness and it’ll go soggy.
Beer – this will expand and explode !
- Let all food reach room temperature before freezing.
- Make the most of your ice cube tray - blend herbs with water or olive oil and freezing in a tray, wine can also be frozen as ice cubes which you can use to keep your drink cool without diluting it or pop it into your cooking, and stock can also be frozen in a tray.
- Make sure everything is frozen in a sealable container or bag. Meat in particular needs to be properly wrapped.
- Try to freeze everything when at its freshest.
- Defrost meat thoroughly before cooking, but other items such as bread for toasting can be cooked straight from the freezer.
- Never refreeze raw meat that has been frozen and then thawed - you can, however, freeze cooked meat that was frozen when raw.
- Make sure the freezer isn’t packed so full that air can’t circulate.