When it comes to storing food, the freezer is your best friend. With the ability to keep foods fresh for months, it’s no wonder that more and more people are stocking up their freezers with everything from meats to vegetables. However, there are right and wrong ways to store food in the freezer. Improper freezer storage can lead to foods going bad prematurely or developing freezer burn. In this ultimate guide to storing food in the freezer, we’ll show you how to keep your foods fresh for as long as possible.
Tips for Properly Storing Food in the Freezer
There are a few key things to keep in mind when storing food in the freezer:
Don’t Overfill Your Freezer
While it may be tempting to fill your freezer to the brim, this can make it harder for foods to stay frozen. When there’s not enough space in the freezer, airflow is restricted, and foods are more likely to thaw and refreeze, leading to freezer burn.
Prevent Ice Build Up
Preventing ice from building up around your frozen foods is the best way to keep food moist when you cook it and prevent freezer burn. When freezing bread and other baked goods, it’s best to let them cool off first to prevent moisture from forming ice crystals.
Properly Wrap or Seal Your Food
The best way to store your food in the freezer and prevent freezer burn is to store it in air-tight packages. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, the next best option is to store it in containers or freezer bags.
What is Freezer Burn, and How do I Prevent It?
Freezer burn is caused by foods being exposed to air. When foods are stored in the freezer, they must be tightly sealed to prevent freezer burn. Freezer burn degrades the quality of your food by affecting the moisture and flavor, but it is still safe to eat.
Air is the enemy of freshness, so you’ll want to ensure that all foods are wrapped as tightly as possible. This will help to prevent freezer burn and keep foods fresh for longer.
Can You Freeze Cooked Meat?
YES! You can freeze the cooked meat. Freezing cooked meat is a great way to save time and money.
Use Realistic-Sized Portions
For example, let’s say you make a big batch of chili that you know you won’t be able to eat all at once. Instead of eating the same meal repeatedly, you can portion the chili into individual freezer bags and store it in the freezer. Then, when you’re in the mood for chili, you can simply thaw out a bag and heat it up.
The same goes for cooked chicken, beef, pork, or any other type of meat. Simply cook the meat as you normally would, then portion it into freezer bags and store it in the freezer.
Label Everything & Always Check the Use-By Date
It can be hard to remember how long foods have been in the freezer, so make sure to label and date everything. This will help you keep track of when foods need to be used.
Freezing does not kill bacteria, so if you are unsure of how long something has been frozen or if it had been thawed, it’s best to throw it out.
How Long Do Foods Last In the Freezer?
Different foods will have different freezer times. In general, most foods will be safe to eat for two to six months after being frozen.
|Raw Meat||4 to 12 months|
|Raw Mince Meat||3 to 4 months|
|Cooked Meat||2 to 3 months|
|Cured Meats (bacon, lunch meat, hot dogs, etc.)||1 to 2 months|
|Raw Poultry||9 to 12 months|
|Cooked Poultry||4 months|
|Raw & Cooked Fish||2 to 4 months|
|Frozen Dinners||3 to 4 months|
|Casseroles||2 to 3 months|
|Milk||Up to 1 month|
|Butter||Up to 3 months|
|Veggies||Up to 12 months|
|Fruits||Up to 6 months|
|Baked Goods||6 to 8 months|
|Bread||Up to 3 months|
Foods NOT to Freeze
There are, however, a few foods that don’t freeze well. These foods include:
- Fruits and veggies with high water content (watermelon, lettuce, cucumber, etc.)
- Milk or milk-based sauces
- Raw eggs in their shells
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Soft cheeses
- Canned foods
Now you know everything there is to know about storing food in the freezer. Just remember to use freezer bags or containers, seal foods tightly, and label all foods with the date they were frozen. If you follow our guide and experience foods going bad before their use-by date, there may be a bigger issue. Call the refrigerator repair experts at Atomic Tech today!