I’ve told you before about the benefits of freezer cooking, and how it’s worth considering if you have the time and the space to make a month’s worth of meals in a weekend. But that’s not the only time that you might prepare more than enough and have to freeze leftovers. So I decided to give you some tips and suggestions on how to safely freeze your leftovers.
It takes up a lot of room to freeze meals for use later. But there are some tricks to save you space.
One trick is to place your foods to be frozen in resealable plastic bags . . . but make sure to remove all excess air from the bags prior to sealing. This helps ensure that your food can be stacked to save space.
Before cooking in casserole dishes (or while prepping foods you are going to freeze before cooking), line the dish with tin foil. Freeze the food in the dish, and then lift the tin foil and food out of the pan and store in a resealable plastic bag to save space.
Consider placing foods in single serving sizes for freezer storage. Instead of having to thaw an entire lasagna for only a couple of servings, if you already have it portioned out it’s easier to stack while in the freezer and easier to thaw when you take it out.
Keep it Safely Stored
The temperature in your freezer should always be 0 degrees F or less.
Make sure that you use containers marked freezer safe. Others may crack or break open from the cold.
Double wrap meats and casseroles to prevent freezer burn. If using aluminum foil, two layers of heavy duty foil is ideal.
Never thaw things on the kitchen counter, always thaw in the refrigerator or microwave.
Once something is frozen and then unthawed, is should not be refrozen again.
Frozen foods don’t last forever! Use this handy list as a way to keep track of how long it’s okay to store and use frozen foods:
Cooked casseroles, cooked soups and stews, ice cream, cooked shrimp, baked pies, cakes, and quick breads. Raw bacon should be used within one month after it is frozen.
4 – 6 Months
Raw pork chops, ground beef, cooked chicken breasts, cooked fish, cheeses, yeast bread and rolls.
6 – 9 Months
Raw chicken pieces, butter, frozen veggies (no more than 8 months).
Raw steak, whole chicken or turkey, baked cookies
*Information from TasteofHome.com
To avoid messes if there’s ever a power outage, keep meats, berries, and liquids stored near the back or at the bottom of the freezer so they won’t leak onto everything else.
Don’t forget to use older frozen items before the newer stuff. In other words, rotate your frozen goods.
Label, label, label! If you are using plastic bags and think you will be able to tell chicken from pork chops after they’ve been frozen, you might be surprised! Label what you’re freezing and the date you froze it.
Do you freeze a lot of foods? What have you learned from your experiences?