TO FREEZE OR NOT TO FREEZE?
If you are anything like us, any timesaving cooking tricks and hints are more than welcome – especially midweek when chaos reigns supreme. We love anything that can free up time and make meal times a more enjoyable and stress-free experience. Freezing foods ahead of time is definitely on this list!
At the start of the week or on your lazy Sunday afternoon, sit down and create your meal plan (we are big advocates of meal plans!) Look at your list and think what meals can be made as a double batch and frozen for another night’s dinner. Why make one when you can make two for half the effort?
TOP 5 FREEZING FOOD TIPS FOR A HAPPY KITCHEN
Some little hints when freezing food to ensure you are following good health and safety guidelines:
1. Get the temp right
The Food Safety Information Council states that the ideal frozen food zone is at -18oC where bacteria don’t grow. So ensure your freezer temp is set between -15 oC and -18 oC.
2. Keep room for the Expansion
Just like our bellies do when we eat, food expands as it freezes so ensure you allow some extra spare space in your containers or end up with some seriously out of shape, exploding containers.
3. Freeze immediately after cooking
Freshly cooked food heading straight to the freezer and not for immediate consumption, needs to be cooled as soon as possible. As soon as the meal has finished steaming, divide into your portions and freeze straight away.
4. Choose the right containers
When freezing, choose containers that are suitable for freezing. Pyrex is a great alternative to glass – it is more durable and keeps in moisture. To avoid shattering, take your pyrex dish out of the freezer and defrost slowly in the fridge the day or night before its required.
5. Be creative!
Look for freezing hacks anywhere you can – freeze leftover sauce in ice cube trays to be reheated at the last minute, freeze freshly baked goods for school lunch boxes, blend leftover dinner into baby purees to freeze – the options are endless!
SOME THINGS JUST AREN’T MADE TO FREEZE
Unfortunately some foods just don’t like the cooler temps.
- Mayonnaise – mayonnaise can freeze, however some nasty splitting occurs when it is thawed – stick to the fridge only!
- Some vegetables – those veggies with high water content like lettuce and celery can become unrecognisable mush when thawed - so keep these in the fresh only pile.
- Dairy - milk, yoghurt and cream have a tendency to curdle when defrosting (not good).
- Whole eggs – shells can crack when frozen. Egg whites alone can be stored and frozen.
So get meal planning, buy in bulk and stock up your freezer for hassle free mid-week cooking.