What to Freeze, What NOT to Freeze & Other Basic Tips
09 Jan, 2013 at 11:00 am | Written by: Heather Riggleman
Written by Heather Riggleman
Last time we dished on Freezer Tips, I showed you what was in my freezer, including wine cubes, chicken stock cubes, pantyhose and batteries. I heard through the grapevine, y’all are looking for a list to Pin to your Pinterest Boards or to print out and stick in your cookbooks. A list of what to freeze, what not to freeze and how to freeze. I’m all for organization–so lets do this!
Basic Tips on Freezing
For starters, organize your freezer, this means a little bit of elbow work, but you want to make sure you have enough room for your frozen goodies or you can be a freezer freak chick and have two freezers (we got a deep freeze as a wedding gift).
It’s not a strict rule but a rule of thumb rule: Quickly blanch your vegetables in boiling water. This helps retain firmness and prevents discoloration.
Leafy Greens: Before chopping and freezing, definitely blanch those bad boys.
Slice em & Dice em
Slice your fruits and vegetables into bite-sized, uniform pieces before freezing. Not only does this make for better freezing and thawing, but it also makes things easier for you later on since all you’ll have to do is pop open a container and add it to your dish.
Remember to Flash Freeze
(Click here for post about the How To’s of Flash Freezing) If possible, spread your sliced fruits or veigges on a cookie sheet, place in freezer until they are partially frozen before placing them into individually containers. The step by step process is listed below
“It’s Gettin’ HOT In Here”
Check your freezer temp often to ensure the temperature is at a constant number. This also helps food freeze more evenly and prevents frost from building up on the food surface. Don’t forget to label containers with the contents and the date.
The Do Not Freeze List
This list is your reference list if you aren’t sure if it is freezeable, unless you want to find out the hard way.
• Vegetables: Salad greens, cucumbers, celery, raw potatoes (I have a mashed potato freezer recipe here), radishes, onions, sprouts.
• Fruit: Lemons, limes, watermelon, grapefruit, apples, oranges and grapes.
• Dairy: Yogurt, any soft cheeses including cream cheese, cottage cheese, salad dressing, mayonnaise, sour cream and custards.
• Herbs (if frozen alone in sprigs): Basil, chives, parsley, other soft herbs
The “What to Freeze” List
(All of these can be chopped into smaller amounts and the flash freezing method helps with portion sizes besides prevention of them sticking together and becoming one big frozen clump).
- Berries of all kinds
- Grapes (if you are going to eat them frozen)
- Bell Peppers
- Beans – most varieties
- Cabbage (only use for cooking)
- Greens (Kale, mustard and turnip)
- Peas (black-eyed and green)
- Sweet potatoes
- Summer squash
- Tomatoes (stewed, only use for cooking)
- Eggs (used an ice cube tray, crack open one egg into each cube, top off with water.) Once frozen take out of tray and place cubes into ziploc bags.
How to Flash Freeze
Step 1: First, wash your berries. Unless you purchased your fruits and veggies at an organic farm, they most likely have chemicals from pesticides on them. You can purchase products to wash off the pesticides or you can use a natural brew. ( I found this all natural recipe tip from Faithful Provisions).
- Add a ½ cup of vinegar to a sink full of warm water.
- Allow berries and veggies to soak for 2-3 minutes.
- Rinse well.
- Drain sink.
- Now add ½ cup of hydrogen peroxide to a sink full of water.
- Allow your berries or veggies to soak for 2-3 minutes.
- Rinse well.
- Pat dry or allow to air dry in strainer.
Step 2: Cap your berries if you prefer. Most of the time I don’t cap my berries. The green leaves will fall off once they are frozen. Since I use the bulk of mine in smoothies, I will just rough chop them before freezing.
Step 3: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place your pickings on the paper, then put the berries or veggies into the freezer until they are somewhat frozen. This roughly takes 2 to 3 hours depending on your freezer.
Step 4: The storage method that you now use for your strawberries is key. If you do not freeze them as air-tight as possible, you run the risk of freezer burn.
- Freezer Bags. Use plastic zipper bags that say specifically they are for the freezer. You may use quart or gallon-size. I typically put mine in gallon bags, and I double-bag them.
- Get out excess air. Press out all the air–as much as possible.
- Always label. Label with the date before putting them in the freezer. They should be good for up to six months.
How to Freeze Herbs
You can view the post original post here, otherwise, follow these steps:
Step 1: Grab an ice cube tray and some olive oil.
Step 2: Remove herbs from stems and place in bottom of ice cube tray (chopping them saves you time later).
Step 3: Simply pour olive oil over the top and stick the tray in your freezer, once its frozen store the herb-cubes in a bag. What freezer tips do you have? I’d love to see how you put your freezer to good use! If you don’t saute your herbs in olive oil, consider placing in water, although I’ve found the flavors are a bit more bland.
What to Freeze in Ice Cube Trays
Yes, those trays cluttering your freezer can be put to good use. You can use ice cube trays to freeze some great stuff. (Check out the ice tray post here.)
- Herbs (see above)
- Egg whites
- Chicken Stock
- Vegetable Stock
- Beef Stock
- Citrus zest (zest of lemons, oranges or limes)
All of these are great for your recipes and save you time too. When a recipe calls for two tablespoons of wine, grab one wine cube and toss it into your dish. This applies for the rest of the ingredients listed above.
How to Freeze Eggs
For the original post of freezing eggs and milk, click here.
1. Purchase the freshest eggs possible.
2. Crack all the eggs into a freezer safe container. (I usually crack and freeze 2 cups of eggs per container).
3. GENTLY and I do mean gently, stir the eggs together, breaking up the yolk. Stir as little as possible because the goal is to keep as much air out of the mixture as possible.
4. Add 1/2 teaspoon of honey or salt to each cup of whole eggs (so you would add 1 teaspoon to a 2 cup batch). This step is optional, but I always do it because I heard it helps stabilize the yolk after thawing.
5. Label and stick it in the fridge for up to 6 months. These eggs can be scrambled, used in casseroles and other baking recipes. When you are ready to use them, thaw them in the fridge.
NOTE: When using ice trays or muffin tins, a little hot water goes a long way. Simply take a casserole dish, fill with hot water and place your ice tray into it. Allow it to sit for 2 to 3 minutes and your eggs will pop right out of those trays.
TIP: 3 Tablespoons of this egg mixture = 1 egg in recipes