Freezer can preserve food for a long time. However, some foods degrade and spoil quickly or lose quality when you put them in the freezer. So, what foods cannot be frozen? And how to freeze food in the right way?
Why are some foods not suitable for freezing?
The reason is usually about the product quality. Most individual ingredients can be frozen, but some foods simply are not freezer friendly. Some things break down during freezing or thawing process that can split or lose the texture of foods.
Also, many foods should not be refrozen because they can be harmful if refrozen and defrosted again.
Shelled eggs and canned foods aren’t safe to freeze. Foods don’t freeze well including fruits and vegetables with high water content such as celery, cucumber, lettuce, radish, bean sprouts, melon. They will be mushy, soggy or limp when defrosted.
Therefore, you need to consider before putting things in the freezer.
Further reading: What Are the Best Cheap Freezers for Home?
What foods cannot be frozen?
Putting shelled eggs in the freezer is not a good idea to extend their shelf life. Because the white inside will expand when frozen, causing the outer shell to crack. At this time, eggs are easy to be attacked by bacteria, quickly spoil and cause bad odors in the freezer.
If you want to freeze the eggs, remove the whites and yolks from the shells and beat until smooth and store in an airtight container.
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Milk and dairy products
Milk stored in the freezer may separate into clumps and water when defrosted. They are still safe but not healthy to drink immediately or mixed with cereal, coffee in the morning.
Almost all dairy products should not be frozen because they will clump, making it difficult to use or even throw away.
Like milk, freezing yogurt can cause them to curdle and lose their delicious taste. Therefore, the refrigerator is the best place to preserve them and keep their original flavor.
Frozen yogurt will cause some beneficial bacteria to die due to too cold temperatures and will not bring health benefits.
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Just put it in the cooling section of the fridge, Mayonnaise still has a long shelf life, so you really shouldn’t store it in the freezer. Like milk, once defrosted, mayonnaise loses its creamy consistency and becomes lumpy.
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The crispiness of these foods will disappear after being refrigerated. The dough covering the outside will become soft. If re-fried, they will also absorb a lot of oil. Therefore, for fried foods such as french fries, fried chicken, potatoes… should not be frozen. Putting them in the freezer will make the fried dough soft, mushy and watery.
Potatoes should not be frozen as they have a high amount of water. So, if you put them in the freezer, the water in the potatoes will form ice crystals that lose their nutritional value. They will be mushy, friable and watery. You should leave them out of the bag and just leave them on the counter or the floor.
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Cooked noodles and pasta
Some unprocessed noodles can be refrigerated before cooking, but don’t put them in the freezer after cooking. The noodles will become soft and taste bad. Because the freezing process adversely affects the texture of the noodles and turns them into a slimy powder solution.
Pasta Pot Cooker
Most spices should be kept in a separate rack. Freezing spices does not extend their shelf life as the flavor will be altered.
Onions, peppers, and vanilla can become pungent, bitter, and inedible. Other fresh aromatic herbs will also become moist and mushy.
Garlic is a type of food that should not be placed in both the freezer and the refrigerator. It tends to become pungent and bitter when frozen and can have an adverse effect on digestion. The best way to store garlic is to keep them at room temperature in a dry, dark, well-ventilated place with little light to prevent germination.
Some fruits and vegetables
Green vegetables and fruit have a high-water content, so when put in the freezer, the water inside the food will quickly turn into ice crystals. After defrosting, fruits and vegetables will be soft, soggy and not retain their original flavor and nutrients.
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Lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, and watermelon are best left out of the fridge. Other foods like tomatoes can also be frozen but should only be used to cook after taking them out of freezer.
Watch “Foods you should absolutely never store in the freezer”
Further reading: How to Prevent Freezer Burn on Vegetables and Fruits?
Foods that freeze well
You can freeze almost any food except for a few cases like canned food or shelled eggs, mayonnaise, cream sauces… and foods as mentioned above.
Here are foods that can be frozen for a long time in the freezer.
It sounds strange, but it is true that eggs can be stored for much longer in the freezer. You should separate the eggs from the shell, separate the whites and yolks (if you want), or lightly beat the eggs and store in a food container or ice tray for later use.
Fresh meats can be stored in the freezer for a long time, so you can stock up on many items when you buy them at a good price, especially during big discounts. Besides fresh meat, bacon is also a food that can be frozen for a long time. You can place it in a food bag and lay it diagonally on top of each other to make it easier to take out when you want to cook.
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Before putting the mushrooms in the freezer, cut the mushrooms into thin slices, you should put the pieces of mushrooms so that they do not overlap, arrange on a plate, put in the freezer for about 2 hours. Then put it in a box and put it back in the freezer. This special action prevents the pieces of mushrooms from sticking together and falling apart when cooking later.
Not all cheeses can be frozen, for example soft cheeses like cream cheese are difficult to store in the freezer. As for hard cheese, you can put it in a bag or container, cover and freeze. This preservation method still preserves the quality of the cheese.
Fresh herbs such as ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, etc. are difficult to keep fresh for a long time even if you keep them in the refrigerator. Put these herbs in a container or plastic wrap and store in the freezer.
In addition to keeping freshness for a long time, preservation like this also preserves the scent for a long time. Butter If you buy butter but rarely use them, the best thing to do is cut them into dice, then store them in the freezer. Place greaseproof paper between them to prevent the butter from sticking together.
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Once purchased, ripe avocados are easily spoiled if not eaten for several days. To keep an avocado fresh for a long time, halve the whole avocado, remove the pit, cut it into the desired shape, place it in a container, and store it in the freezer.
You can also squeeze lemon juice and sprinkle it over the avocado flesh. This allows the aroma and flavor of the avocado to be preserved for a long time.
How to properly freeze foods
Set suitable freezing temperature
Adjust the freezer compartment to the lowest setting of about -10 degrees Celsius because at this temperature, bacteria will temporarily stop growing.
Cool the food before you freeze it
Freezing hot food will raise the temperature of the freezer and could cause other foods to start defrosting. For faster cooling process, dividing the food into smaller parts. Also, food should be drained before putting it in the freezer.
Cover the food properly or use the sealed containers
This will help to preserve your food in good quality for a long time. Storing food in proper containers also maximizes space. Freezer bags are one of the best choices for soups, stews, fruits, vegetables.
Further reading: Freezer Safe Plastic Containers
Minimize exposure to the air
You should remove as much air as possible from freezer bags and containers to prevent freezer burn. A vacuum sealer is helpful in this case.
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If your container is only partially full, place a piece of wax paper or food wrap on top of the food to minimize exposure to air, then continue packing.
To avoid crushing foods like berries, cookies, or appetizers, you should flash-freeze them on a flat tray and then transfer to a freezer bag.
Freeze family-sized servings for easy meals
Cooking in large batches saves a lot of time. However, to get the most out of your frozen meals, freeze them in servings that work for you or your family. Besides, re-freezing is not recommended after defrosting.
Label everything you freeze with names and dates
This helps you to keep track of what’s in your freezer and remember when to use them for best quality. You need to know that freezing does not kill bacteria. If you are not sure how long something has been frozen or are a bit wary of something once defrosted, you should not eat the food.
Watch “Way to freeze food for longer shelf life and rapid defrosting”
Foods you should never put in the freezer, cnet.com, retrieved on Dec. 23, 2022
Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze, tasteofhome.com, retrieved on Dec. 22, 2022