Making the Most of Your Freezer and Frozen Foods

The freezer is perhaps one the most useful kitchen appliances that anyone owns (thanks very much Oliver Evans for inventing it) Thanks to the freezer families can bulk shop, saving both money and time and can even make meals ahead and freeze them so that even the busiest people can still enjoy a great weeknight dinner rather than having to fall back on fast food because they are pressed for time.

Although for the most part making great use of a freezer is easy there are some things that you should know about freezer and frozen food safety to ensure that everything that comes out of your freezer is in the best condition and of the highest quality possible. Here, thanks to BBC Good Food are some great tips for getting the most out of your freezer:

What Can't (or Shouldn't) be Frozen

The simple fact is that you can safely freeze almost anything, but there are a few exceptions. Eggs are not a good choice. If they are raw eggs the shells will crack making the eggs unfit for human consumption and if they are cooked they have a tendency to go rubbery. Mayonnaise based foods will not freeze well either as it will separate and curdle and the same is true of soft cheeses and yogurts as well. High water content veggies such as lettuces and cucumbers will become very limp if you attempt to freeze them so they are not a good candidate for freezing either.

Clever Tricks for Better Freezer Storage

  • Never Refreeze Fresh food when frozen will stay good for months but the one thing that you should never do is refreeze any kind of food that has been previously frozen and thawed.
  • Cool Things Off If you are freezing cooked foods allow them to cool off before you do so. If you place hot foods in the freezer you will increase its overall temperature which will not only mean that other food items may begin to defrost but also that the freezers mechanisms will have to work harder, consuming more electricity, in order to restore the proper temperature.
  • Wrap with Car Improperly wrapped food will very quickly fall victim to freezer burn which will make it inedible. Make sure that you always use either lidded airtight containers or Ziploc type plastic bags designed for freezer use to wrap your food before you put it in the freezer.
  • Store Sensibly One of the big advantages of having a good sized freezer is that you can take advantage of all the great prices that warehouse stores offer on bulk food for the freezer. You should however take the time to separate up these big packages into more realistic portions before you freeze them. After all, you may have scored an excellent deal on ten pounds of ground beef but it is highly unlikely that you would ever use even half of that to prepare the average family meal.
  • Label Everything It has happened to most of us; finding that bag of mystery meat at the back of the freezer that you cannot remember just what it is or how long it has been there. You can avoid those problems though by labeling food as you freeze it, both with what it is and the date you placed it there.

What to Do if Disaster Strikes

Even the most expensive freezer models can go wrong and there are of course also always power cuts that can make life difficult as well. The dilemma many people face is just what they should do with food in a freezer when the freezer is not working. As long as you keep the freezer door shut most food will remain sufficiently frozen to be just fine for 24 hours, giving you time to make other arrangements. Any longer than that though and sadly you probably should put it all in the bin, however painful that might be.