Freezing meals – what can you freeze, and what not?
Looking for advice on how best to freeze meals? Check this out, plus there are some great recipes for dishes that are suitable to freeze.
- Make sure your freezer is running at -18°C.
- Only freeze really fresh food.
- Ensure cooked food is cold before being frozen – if it’s warm it’ll raise the freezer temperature.
- Wrap food well in cling film, then foil, or place in freezerproof containers to avoid flavours tainting other food. This also avoids freezer-burn, which is an icy layer on food that can dry it out and damage the flavour.
- If freezing large quantities of food, put the freezer on the fast-freeze setting.
- Freezing intensifies the flavour of a dish, so under-season and adjust once thawed and reheated.
- Liquids such as soup and stock will expand in the freezer, so don’t overfill containers.
- Food that is not wrapped well will get ‘freezer burn’, as direct contact with cold air dries it out
- Freeze in small batches – the quicker food freezes, the fresher it tastes when defrosted. Use your freezer’s fast-freeze compartment, if you have one.
- Steaks, chops and fish fillets freeze better when packed separately. Wrap tightly and label.
- If you can, chop onions and freeze them in bags for busy times – much cheaper than buying bags of pre-chopped onions from the supermarket.
- Freeze liquids in bags, within a container, then remove the outer container once frozen.
- Freeze fruit such as mango chunks, raspberries and blueberries. Liquidise straight from the freezer to make an instant cold smoothie.
- And finally, get your permanent marker out and write the date on your food. You think you’ll remember when you froze it but…
What foods can’t you freeze?
Some ingredients just don’t freeze very well. These include vegetables with a high water content like lettuce and cucumber – these will be a limp, soggy mess when defrosted. Eggs can be a problem too – hard boiled will go rubbery, while egg-based sauces such as mayonnaise will curdle.