Freezing food is both an art and a science. Many people believe that a freezer is much more- it is a magic tool that allows you to press the pause button in your kitchen.
When you want to get ahead of the family’s needs to create a bit of space for yourself; when you have cooked too much or are running late. When you want to prepare food ahead of time for the weekend or family holiday – the trusty freezer is always there. And for a busy mom, it is a blessing that makes her days run a bit more smoothly.
So what is the best way to freeze food?
Here are a few tips that that will have you saving time, money and effort in the kitchen and help you get the best from your freezer.
Cool foods before you freeze them. Freezing food when hot will only increase the temperature of the freezer and could cause other foods to start defrosting.
Think about real-life meal planning when you freeze. For instance, you probably won’t need a whole loaf of bread at once, so slice it up before you pop it in the freezer. Then you can toast it right from the freezer a slice or two at a time.
Make sure you wrap foods properly or put them in sealed containers, otherwise your food can get freezer-burn.
Portion control. Freeze food in realistically sized portions. You don’t want to have to defrost a stew big enough to feed eight when you’re only feeding a family of three.
More Freezing Tips
Stay fresh. You get out what you put in as freezing certainly won’t improve the quality of your food. Don’t freeze old food because you don’t want to waste it; the point of freezing is to keep food at its prime
Most liquids expand in the freezer, so leave about half an inch at the top of containers to account for this.
Only refreeze food if you’re cooking it in between. For example if you are thawing beef mince, turning it into bolognese and then refreezing, it’s not a problem as the bacteria will have been killed off in the cooking process.
Label containers with contents and date, and use clear containers when possible so you can easily see what’s inside.
Use a muffin tin to freeze stews and chili in portions that are perfect for lunch.
You can use large containers to partition your freezer by food type, with areas for fruits, vegetables, and prepared foods.
Over the next few months we will be sharing all kinds of tips and tricks for smart freezing with you. Please come to any of our stores and look around for handy containers – some for freezing food and some for organising your fridge and freezer.