Weekly Hack: Tips for freezing food

Freezing food By BravissimoS/Shutterstock

Freezing food to extend its life? Items that won’t freeze well are not your friends at the cottage, a place where your visits can be regular (every weekend), or few and far between. So, will it freeze well or not?

Don’t freeze veggies with a high water content. They’ll thaw to mush. The caveat: you can salvage certain frozen produce—tomatoes, onions, celery—by incorporating them into cooked dishes, such as sauces or soups.

Similarly, water-filled oranges, grapefruit, watermelon, lemons, and limes all freeze poorly. Grapes are tasty while frozen. Thawed? Not usually,

If you freeze creamy or dairy-based products—cream cheese, yoghurt, sour cream, mayo—they’ll separate when they thaw. Gross. Using them thawed in cooking or baking can work, but thanks to the texture change, might affect the dish.

Never freeze eggs in their shells. If you want to keep them, crack them into a container, beat them very lightly, and freeze the sealed container.

Fried foods, casseroles with breadcrumb toppings, and desserts with meringue don’t taste nearly as good when frozen, then thawed, because of the texture changes. Gravy that’s been thickened with flour or cornstarch can separate, but is usually rehabbed by adding a little extra liquid and whisking constantly while you reheat it.

Plenty of dishes that contain a combination of ingredients (soups, stews, one-pot and slow-cooker meals, burritos) freeze and reheat well. The same goes for pancakes, waffles, muffins, and most baked goods.

To extend bread’s shelf life, it’s better to freeze it. Keeping bread in the fridge can make it go stale.

Has your frozen food gone bad?

Here are Health Canada’s food safety tips for storing and reheating leftovers.

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