This is a guide for the proper technique of freezing foods, general information for freezing everything from main dishes to nuts.
We also have a maximum storage guide for frozen meats and how to wrap frozen meats for safe storage.
With the economy down these days we just can’t afford to waste any food, whether it’s fruit, vegetables or meats. Plus it’s a great time-saver, after a busy day it’s truly great to come home and grab something out of the freezer and pop it in the oven while you are taking care of other things..
Materials used for freezing foods should keep the air out and the moisture in so select containers that are moisture vapor resistant or the food will dry out.
Waxed papers, household aluminum foil, and cartons for cottage cheese and ice cream are not suitable, because they are not moisture-vapor-resistant.
Select a size that will hold enough vegetable or fruit for a meal for your family.
Select containers for freezing foods that pack easily into a little space. Consider cost of containers and if they are reusable, or not. If they are reusable, a high initial cost may be justified.
Rigid containers are made of aluminum, glass, plastic, tin or heavily waxed cardboard. They can be used for vegetables, fruits, cooked foods or liquids.
Non-Rigid containers as sheers and bags of cellophane, heavy aluminum foil, plastic film, polyethylene, or laminated paper are used for freezing foods that are firm but irregularly shaped, like poultry, meat, and baked goods. Bags are generally used inside cartons as moisture resistant liners.
There is no economy in using poor quality packaging materials. Fill packages carefully, allowing for the necessary head space for the particular kind of food.
Force or draw out as much air as possible, seal tightly, label, freeze immediately, and store at 0* F or lower.
When freezing foods, the food should be frozen in amounts which will ordinarily be eaten in one meal. To treat light colored fruits to prevent darkening, use absorbic acid. When freezing fruit in sugar syrup, add 1/2 teaspoon absorbic acid for each quart syrup. When freezing fruit in dry sugar, sprinkle-absorbic acid dissolved in water over fruit before adding sugar. Use 1/4 teaspoon absorbic acid in 1/4 cup cold water to each quart of fruit.
Freezing Foods that are Prepared May Not Save Time. It May Allow Time To Be Used To Better Advantage.
Freezing Foods Information
When freezing foods, prepare the dish as if it were to be served right away, but do not cook quite done. Reheating for serving will finish the cooking.
Cheese or crumb toppings will be best added when the food is reheated for serving.
Pastry crumbs frozen unbaked are more tender, and flaky, and have a fresher flavor than those baked and then frozen.
Don’t forget when freezing foods to cool the cooked food quickly. Pour out in shallow pans or place the uncovered pan of food in iced or very cold water; change water to keep it cold.
As soon as the food is cool 60* F or less, pack promptly into moisture-vapor-resistant containers or packaging material. Pack tightly to force out as much air as possible.
To have the food in desired amounts for serving and for quicker defrosting, separate servings with 2 pieces freezer paper.
Since many main dishes are semi-liquid it is desirable to pack them in rigid containers. Foods frozen in containers with wide-mouthed openings do not have to be thawed completely to remove from container. Some main dishes may be frozen in the containers in which they were baked.
Freezer weight foil (.0015 gauge) may be used to line the baking dish or pan. After the main dish is frozen (unwrapped) in this container, remove from the baking dish and package. The food may be reheated by slipping it and the foil into the baking pan.
Allow head space for freezing liquid and semi-liquid foods. Seal; label; freeze quickly and store at 0* F or lower.
Most precooked, frozen, main dishes are reheated, either in the oven or on top of the range. Reheating in the oven takes little attention and usually preserves the texture of the food better. Reheating on top of the range in a double boiler or a saucepan is faster. When using a double boiler, start with warm, not hot, water in the lower pan so the food won’t stick. Food reheated over direct heat needs to be stirred. This stirring may give a less desirable texture.
If partial thawing is necessary, before the food can be removed from the package, place in luke warm water for a few minutes. Complete thawing should be done in the refrigerator. If it takes more than 3 or 4 hours, thawing at room temperature may cause dangerous spoilage.
It is best to freeze meat pies and turnovers unbaked.
You can use any good meat loaf recipe for freezing foods. Just make enough for several meals instead of one and freeze the extra loaves.
Nuts are likely to discolor and become bitter when frozen in a solid mixture.
Recommended Maximum Storage Time Product at 0 * F. or lower
- Beef 6 – 8 months
- Fresh Pork and Veal 3 – 4 months
- Lamb 6 – 7 months
- Ground Beef 3 – 4 months
- Variety Meats (Liver, Heart, Tongue, etc.) 3 – 4 months
- Smoked Hams, Picnics and Slab Bacon (Whole, Halves or Quarters) Not to exceed 60 days
- Other Cured and Smoked Meats Not to exceed 60 days
- Sliced Bacon Not recommended for freezing
- Bologna, Frankfurters or Wieners Not recommended for freezing
- Fresh Pork Sausage Not recommended for freezing
- Giblets 4 months
- Chicken 5-12 months
- Turkey 6-12 months
How to wrap meat for freezing
For short periods in the freezer (no longer than one to two weeks), prepackaged self-service meats may be frozen in the original store package (film and board or tray). Make sure, though, that there are no breaks in the package.
For longer periods in the freezer, use special freezer wrapping materials. Either of the following methods of wrapping is recommended:
A single moisture-vapor-proof sheet or bag which may be tied, taped, heat-sealed, or folded. This single sheet should be strong enough to resist puncturing and tearing.
Or a double wrap consisting of:
a. An inner wrap of moisture-vapor-proof paper, cellophane, pliofilm, aluminum foil, or other special freezer storage types of packaging materials available on the market. (Ordinary waxed paper is not moisture-vapor-proof and therefore is not satisfactory.)
b. An outer wrap of special packaging material or heavy wrapping paper. If an outer wrap of high heat insulating value is used (several thicknesses of wrapping paper, for example), the meat should be inner wrapped and frozen before the outer wrap is applied.
Meats wrapped in ordinary market paper should be unwrapped and then rewrapped for freezing as outlined here.
A satisfactory method of making a package for freezing is as follows:
1. Use enough paper so the edges may be folded down at least three times.
2. Place the meat in the center of the paper.
3. Separate individual servings (such as steaks, chops, or ground meat patties) with sheets of freezer paper so they will come apart easily before cooking.
4. Bring two edges of paper together above the meat and fold down in 1/2-inch to 1-inch folds until the paper is tight against the meat.
5. Press the wrap closely to the meat to force out air.
6. Seal edges carefully with freezer tape, or fold over ends at least twice and tie securely.
Mark each frozen meat package to show contents, number of servings and date of freezing.