Share this Story

How to freeze anything

Tips for freezing food

Your guide to freezing everything in the kitchen - from fresh fruit to dairy products.


Sure, ice cream, frozen veggies, and TV dinners belong in the freezer. But you can store almost any fresh food there, too - from sale items you stock up on to perishables you'd rather not throw out before your family goes on vacation.

Three tips for freezing food

1. Squeeze out the air. To avoid freezer burn, leave as little extra air in the bag or container as possible.

2. Cook fully before refreezing. If you take a defrosting shortcut, like zapping edibles in the microwave instead of thawing them in the fridge, fully cook the food before refreezing.


3. Be cautious with refreezing raw food. Alternatively, if you change your mind/plans and want to refreeze raw food, you can do so if it's only partially thawed, still firm in the center, and contains ice crystals. Use it as soon as possible to minimize loss of quality.

Freezing fruit

What to save: Juice
In fridge: Opened, 7 to 10 days; unopened, 3 weeks
In freezer: 8 to 12 months
How to store in freezer: Pour some off to leave room for expansion; reseal with masking tape. Shake after thawing.

What to save: Bananas, ripe
In fridge: 2 weeks
In freezer: 8 to 12 months
How to store in freezer: Peel, slice, spread on tray and freeze until firm. Store in a sealed container or freezer bag.

What to save: Blackberries, raspberries, blueberries 
In fridge: 2 to 3 days
In freezer: 8 to 12 months
How to store in freezer: Spread on tray and freeze until firm. Store in a sealed container or freezer bag.

What to save: Cranberries
In fridge: 4 weeks
In freezer: 8 to 12 months
How to store in freezer: In original bag (if unopened) or freezer bag.

What to save: Grapes
In fridge: 1 to 2 weeks
In freezer: 8 to 12 months
How to store in freezer: Remove grapes from stems, spread on tray and freeze until firm. Store in a sealed container or freezer bag.

Grains

What to Save: Breads and rolls, yeast
In fridge: No (refrigeration makes bread go stale quickly)
In freezer: 3 to 6 months
How to store in freezer: In original package, then wrapped with foil or plastic wrap or in freezer bag.

What to save: Breads, quick (such as banana bread, pancakes, or biscuits)
In fridge: Do not refrigerate; refrigeration makes bread products go stale quickly.
In freezer: 2 to 3 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

Vegetables

What to save: Broccoli and cauliflower (trimmed and cut into 1-1/2-inch pieces)
In fridge: 3 to 5 days
In freezer: Blanched for 3 minutes, 8 to 12 months*
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to Save: Cabbage (shredded or cut into thin wedges; for cooked dishes only)
In fridge: 1 week
In freezer: Blanched for 1-1/2 minutes, 8 to 12 months*
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag

What to save: Carrots (cut into 1/4-inch cubes)
In fridge: 2 weeks
In freezer: Blanched for 2 minutes, 8 to 12 months*
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Corn (off the cob)
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: Blanched for 3 minutes, 8 to 12 months*
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Green beans (trimmed)
In fridge: 1 week
In freezer: Blanched for 3 minutes, 8 to 12 months*
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Potatoes, small (peeled)
In fridge: Do not refrigerate; potatoes discolor and change flavor
In freezer: Blanched for 3 to 5 minutes, 8 to 12 months*
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

* To blanch veggies, cook them in rapidly boiling water for recommended time. Then cool quickly in ice water bath and drain well. This slows or stops the action of enzymes that can cause loss of flavor, color and texture. Cook frozen vegetables without thawing.

Meat

What to save: Steaks
In fridge: 3 to 5 days
In freezer: 10 to 12 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Chops
In fridge: 3 to 5 days
In freezer: 4 to 6 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Roasts
In fridge: 3 to 5 days
In freezer: 10 to 12 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Ground
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 3 to 4 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Raw sausages
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 1 to 2 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Hot dogs and fully cooked sausages
In fridge: Opened, 1 week; unopened, 2 weeks
In freezer: 1 to 2 months (opened or unopened)
How to store in freezer: In original packaging, placed in freezer bag.

What to save: Bacon
In fridge: 7 days
In freezer: 1 month (opened or unopened)
How to store in freezer: In original packaging, placed in freezer bag.

What to save: Lunch meats
In fridge: Opened, 3 to 5 days; unopened, 2 weeks
In freezer: 1 to 2 months (opened or unopened)
How to store in freezer: In original packaging, placed in freezer bag.

Fish

What to Save: Lean (such as cod, sole, flounder)
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 3 to 6 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to Save: Oily (such as salmon)
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 2 to 3 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to Save: Shellfish (such as shrimp, shucked oysters, scallops, mussels, clams)
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 3 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

Poultry

What to save: Whole
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 1 year
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag

What to Save: Pieces
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 9 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Ground
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 3 to 4 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Raw sausages
In fridge: 1 to 2 days
In freezer: 1 to 2 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

Dairy

What to save: Grated cheeses
In fridge: 1 month
In freezer: 3 to 4 months
How to store in freezer: In freezer bag.

What to save: Blocks of hard cheese (such as Cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan)
In fridge: 2 weeks
In freezer: 6 months
How to store in freezer: Cut into smaller portions, each portion tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, then place in freezer bag.

What to save: Soft cheeses (such as Brie, not cream or cottage)
In fridge: Opened, 3 to 4 weeks; unopened, 6 months
In freezer: 6 months
How to store in freezer: Cut into smaller portions, each portion tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, then place in freezer bag.

What to save: Butter
In fridge: 2 to 3 months
In freezer: 6 to 9 months
How to store in freezer: For a month or less, in original packaging. For longer term, in freezer bag.

What to save: Egg whites or beaten eggs; egg yolks
In fridge: 2 to 4 days
In freezer: 1 year (for egg yolks, mix with 1-1/2 teaspoon sugar or 1/8 teaspoon salt per 1/4 cup; this will keep yolks from becoming sticky and gelatinous)
How to store in freezer: In sealed container closest in volume to amount you're storing; label with number of eggs inside.

What to save: Milk
In fridge: 7 days
In freezer: 3 months
How to store in freezer: Pour some off to leave room for expansion; reseal with masking tape. Shake after thawing.

Note: Keep your refrigerator set at or below 40 degrees F and set freezer at or below 0 degrees F.


Reprinted with Permission of Hearst Communications, Inc. Originally Published: How to Freeze Anything

Tagged in
Recommended for You
Comments
Hot
New in Food & Recipes
Close

And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .

SheKnows is making some changes!