How to freeze anything

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 bagWhat 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

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