Don't ruin good food in your freezer
Freezer-Meal Cooking: What Foods Don't Freeze Well
by Deborah Taylor-Hough
Using a Freezer Effectively
Avoiding Freezer Burn
Use Your Freezer to Save Money
One of the most common questions I hear from people who are interested in freezer-meal cooking is: "How do I know what will freeze well, and what won't?"
If you're unsure of how well something will freeze, freeze a single serving when you prepare the dish for a regular family meal. This way you can check on how well the item holds up to freezing and reheating.
The following lists should give you a good start at identifying potential freezing problems with various food items.
Don't Freeze Well:
- Greasy foods (They just become greasier)
- Cake icings made with egg whites
- Cream fillings and soft frostings
- Pies made with custard or cream fillings
- Fried foods (They tend to lose their crispness)
- Fruit jelly on sandwiches may soak into the bread
- Soft cheese, such as cream cheese (can become watery)
- Mayonnaise (It separates - use salad dressing instead)
- Sour cream (It becomes thin and watery)
- Potatoes cooked in soups and stews (They become mushy and may darken. If using potatoes, cook until barely soft and still firm; then freeze quickly.)
Change During Freezing:
- Gravies and other fat-based sauces may separate and need to be recombined by stirring or processing in the blender.
- Thickened sauces may need thinning after freezing; thin with broth or milk.
- Seasonings such as onions, herbs and flavorings used in recipes can change during freezing. These are best added during reheating to obtain accurate flavors.
- Vegetables, pastas and grains used in cooked recipes usually are softer after freezing and reheating. (undercook before freezing, or add when dish is reheated)
- Heavy cream can be frozen if used for cooking, but it will not whip after freezing.
- Some yogurts may suffer texture changes.
- Raw vegetables lose their crispness, but can be used for cooking, stews, etc.
- Many cheeses change texture in the freezer. Most hard cheeses turn crumbly (which makes them okay for grating, but not for slicing).
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Deborah Taylor-Hough is the author of the bestselling Frozen Assets: Cook for a Day, Eat for a Month and A Simple Choice: A Practical Guide for Saving Your Time, Money and Sanity. Visit Debi online at TheSimpleMom.com.
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