The Basics of Freezing Your Food!2014 Oct 10 | Written by: Samantha Jones | Tags: Preserving
The Basics of Freezing Your Food!,
For a time-saving and economical way to enjoy your food, utilising your freezer is invaluable. It allows you to prepare your meals well in advance and preserves them for a future date, which in today’s hectic, fast-paced lifestyle is immeasurably convenient!
Here are some great tips for freezing your food:
Optimising the temperature of your freezer:
To achieve optimal freezing, your freezer should be set between negative 10 and 0 degrees to ensure the quickest freeze. The centre will be the coldest spot in your home freezer, so make sure you use this area for setting foods like casseroles and other heartier dishes.
To improve the circulation of air within your freezer compartment, make sure you maintain a consistently low temperature and make it a point to be vigilant about removing unwanted clutter by clearing out old food items. It is also a good idea to keep your food away from the vents if possible, as this will maximise circulation.
How to freeze whole ingredients:
Freeze vegetables and other fresh ingredients when they are at their peak in terms of freshness and flavour. Make sure to prepare well before freezing by washing them and trimming or cutting them to their desired size or consistency. A great thing to do is to blanch your vegetables in a large pot of boiling water until bright green or slightly tender (depending on what vegetables you are using) and then shock them by placing them in a large bowl of ice-water to stop them cooking. Remove from the ice-water, dry thoroughly and then freeze them in a labelled freezer bag or freezer safe container.
Allow pre-cooked meals to cool well:
Let casseroles, stews and other heartier, pre-cooked meals cool for a good two hours before placing them in the freezer. Any residual heat that is retained when putting in the freezer will cause condensation and a layer of frost to form on the top, which will dilute the flavours when defrosted and reheated.
Another reason to let your hot foods cool completely is that the temperature of the overall area will drop causing other foods to begin the thawing out process and a freezer burn to form.
The art of storing:
Certain foods should be stored in certain ways when frozen to best ensure their freshness and flavours.
Baking dishes – Wrap tightly with foil and plastic wrap before freezing. Use airtight, small containers, that leave very little air between the packaging and food and will ensure the food freezes faster.
Liquids (soups, stocks etc) – Leave an inch of room when storing them in airtight containers as they expand when frozen.
Baked goods (muffins, cakes etc) – Wrap in aluminium foil and place into freezer bags.
Length of time foods should be frozen for:
Different foods have different life spans when frozen, but a basic guideline is for poultry to be stored between 6 to 9 months, beef 3 to 4 months, fish between 3 and six months and fruit and vegetables from 8 to 12 months.
If you have any other must know tips for freezing, tell us all about them in the comment section below!