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A complete guide to freezing food

If you have bought in bulk, freezing is the perfect solution for preserving a whole range of food and drink, avoiding food wastage and saving money. However, not all food is suitable for freezing. Use these guidelines to understand which commonly used food and drink freezes well and what you should be aware of when doing so.1

Food that is suitable for freezing

Vegetables

Many vegetables are perfect for freezing, and all of their nutrients are retained. Vegetables should be washed and prepared in the same way you would use them from fresh and then blanched for a few minutes before freezing. The exceptions are onions and peppers, which can be frozen raw2.

Fruit

Most fruit is suitable for freezing. Just wash and pat them dry first. Fruits can then be chopped or left whole. Delicate fruit, such as berries, are best frozen in a single layer on a tray first to avoid them getting crushed2. Fruit that oxidises when exposed to air, such as apples, also benefits from an acidic treatment to prevent it from browning. A simple toss in lemon juice and water works well.

Dairy Products

It may come as a surprise to some, but milk, cheese, yoghurt and eggs can be frozen. When freezing liquids, pour them into a plastic, airtight container and keep a space at the top to allow for expansion. Eggs should not be frozen in their shells3. Instead, beat them together and pour the mixture into freezer containers. Label the number of eggs contained in each batch, so they are ready for use at a later date when cooking. Equally, yoghurt and grated cheese can be portioned, placed in a suitable container and frozen.

Bread

Freezing bread is a great option for keeping bread longer and it tastes almost as good when defrosted. Simply wrap in plastic film and a layer of foil or freezer paper, before putting in the freezer. Slices of bread can be toasted directly from the freezer or whole loaves can be defrosted and then used as normal.

Meat and Fish

Meat and fish can be safely frozen raw. Ensure they are properly wrapped to keep out the moisture, then stored at the bottom of the freezer, away from cooked food, to avoid contamination. Defrost thoroughly before using, ideally in the refrigerator.4

Other foods

Cooked pasta and rice, stock, butter and flour also all freeze well.

Food that is not suitable for freezing

Food that has a high moisture content does not freeze well. This includes salad items, such as lettuce and cucumber.

Potatoes and carrots take on a strange texture if frozen raw, so are best cooked and cooled before freezing.

The fat in dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and cream, will separate when frozen. However, blending, once defrosted, will improve the texture, making them fine to use in smoothies and baking.

Tips for freezing food safely

  • Only freeze food that is within its best before date.
  • Make sure all food is fully cooled before freezing.
  • Wrap food in plastic wrap or store in plastic, airtight containers to keep out the moisture.
  • Label and date your food and use within the recommended time frame.
  • Defrost frozen food safely in the refrigerator before use.
  • Check the temperature of the freezer to ensure it remains at or below -18°c.5

Last updated: 10 April 2020

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FoodFood & Drink