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Freezer Storage Guidelines Food Preservation

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Freezer Storage Guidelines:  What's in your freezer?

Keeping frozen foods on hand is a great time saver. You can cook ahead and freeze your favorite meal. These meals-in-a-minute will come in handy when you can't cook or don't feel like cooking but don't want to eat out. If unexpected company shows up, you're prepared!

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Freezer Storage Guidelines
General Freezer Tips

To protect flavor, color, moisture and nutritional value, frozen foods must have proper packaging:

  • Be moisture and vapor resistant
  • Be durable and leak-proof
  • Not become brittle and crack at low temperature
  • Be resistant to oil, grease or water
  • Protect foods from absorption of off-flavors or odors
  • Be easy to seal and easy to mark

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Freezer Quick Tips

  • Freeze food at 0 °F or lower
  • Freeze foods as soon as they are packaged and sealed
  • Don't overload your freezer
  • Add only the amount that will freeze within 24 hours (2-3 lbs. per cubic foot)
  • Place packages in contact with the coldest part of the freezer
  • Leave a little space between packages so air can circulate
  • When frozen, store the packages close together
  • A full freezer is more efficient
  • Keep an up-to-date inventory (near the freezer) of the foods therein
  • List foods on the inventory by date and item
  • Label foods with a permanent marker with date, item and expiration date (see chart below)
  • Keep a freezer thermometer and check temperature frequently (above 0 °F quality declines quickly)
  • Season lightly before freezing. Seasoning can loose flavor or become bitter. You can spice it up when re-heating.

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Don't Freeze Me Please!

These foods typically don't freeze well:

  • Vegetables: Cabbage*, cucumbers*, celery *, salad greens, tomatoes, parsley, radishes
  • Dairy & Cheese: Cheese, crumb toppings, cream or custard fillings, milk sauces, sour cream
  • Cooked egg whites, icings made from egg whites (rubbery texture)
  • All fried foods
  • Jell-O, gelatin-based products
  • Potatoes (fried, baked or boiled)
  • Cooked macaroni, spaghetti or rice
  • Stews keep better than fried or boiled meats
  • Mayonnaise doesn't keep well as salad dressing
  • Cream-style corn retains flavor better than whole kernel corn or corn on the cob

*Note: Cucumbers and cabbage can be frozen if marinated.

[Note: Information obtained from Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System]

I hope you found these freezer storage guidelines helpful. 

You might also want to check out the FDA Freezer Storage Guidelines.

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