Freezer Storage Guidelines -- Food Preservation
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, don't feel like cooking (but don't want to eat out). If unexpected company shows up . . . you're prepared!
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
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.
Don't Freeze Me Please
These foods typically don't freeze well:
- Vegetables: Cabbage*, celery, cucumbers*, 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
Cucumbers and cabbage can be frozen if marinated.
I hope you found these freezer storage guidelines helpful. For information on freezer storage times, go to Freezer Chart.
[Note: Information obtained from Texas Agricultural Extension Service, The Texas A&M University System]
FOOD SAFETY, STORAGE & PRESERVATION
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