December 9, 2023

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Give thanks for your freezer, especially in the summer. From ice cubes to ice cream, popsicles to frozen pizza, the items stored in this practical device keep owners from losing their cool.

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“You can freeze anything,” says Lizan Powers-Hammond, a food preservation specialist at Washington State University Extension. “It’s not a security issue.”

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Even so, not everything should be kept in your freezer.

Thawed food may not make you sick, but some foods don’t defrost in a delicious way, Powers-Hammond tells Money Talks News.

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The following are things she says are better than unfrozen, or at least need some information on how to freeze when.

1. Intention to drink milk
Andrey Cherkasov /

This may surprise you, but you can freeze milk for up to a month. However, the results are best used for cooking, not drinking. This is because the milk separates when it freezes.

Similarly, cream-based sauces and gravy can clump and melt in ways you might not enjoy, Powers-Hammond says.

If you don’t have room for milk in your fridge or freezer, consider buying powdered milk and making it in smaller batches as needed. Powdered milk is a store-friendly option, as we detail in “11 Foods That Can Keep for Years.”

2. Leafy Greens
senior woman with a bag full of lettuceUlza /

We should probably all be eating more leafy greens, like lettuce and endive. But try not to freeze them.

The high moisture content is what makes them so crisp and delicious when fresh, they become soft and limp when thawed.

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3. Salad Vegetables
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Speaking of lettuce, the raw vegetables that brighten up delicious salads—such as cucumbers, tomatoes, celery and radishes—are not freezer-friendly.

If you must freeze these, Powers-Hammond recommends blanching them first by submerging them briefly in boiling water. Instructions for blanching are included in this guide to freezing food.

Alternatively, for a quick and easy way to use up salad vegetables, see “This Homemade Meal Is Cheap, Healthier and Doesn’t Require Cooking.”

4. Russet Potatoes
Domnitsky /

Know this before you put your potatoes in the freezer. The popular russet, so nice and fluffy when prepared fresh, turns muddy when frozen. When freezing the stew, prepare the potatoes to lose their shape.

Waxy little red potatoes are best for freezing. But they should also be blanched before freezing.

5. Fried Foods
woman with a handful of french friesVDI STUDIO /

It’s hard to beat a nice, crisp dish of french fries, served hot with salt and ketchup.

But don’t freeze your leftover fries. They become soggy when frozen and then thawed.

6. Cooked Pasta
woman eating spaghettipixel-shot /

For best flavor and texture, freeze homemade pasta and soft, fresh pasta found only in the refrigerated area of ​​the grocery store before cooking — and not after cooking.

Pasta that is fully cooked can become soft and mushy when reheated, imparting an unpleasant “warm-over” taste, says Powers-Hammond.

Here’s a tip: If you’re making extra lasagna or other pasta dishes to freeze, undercook the pasta. Aim for a classic “al dente” (slightly firm) texture.

7. Mayonnaise and Mayo Based Dressings
mayoKeith Homan /

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Mayo and mayonnaise-based dressings “get a little gross” with freezing, Powers-Hammond says.

Mayo won’t come out of the freezer the same way it went in. It is an emulsion – a combination of ingredients (in this case oil, egg yolk and lemon juice or vinegar) that are not usually found easily. The emulsion separates when it melts.

This rule applies twice as much for potato salad, as the potatoes, eggs, and mayonnaise are all freezer-unfriendly. Not that frozen potato salad is unsafe. It won’t be very tasty or appealing.

8. Hard Cheese in Block or Wedge Form
cheese Board.maraze/

You can freeze hard cheeses, such as aged cheddar. Just don’t count on using it in a tray of shredded cheese later.

Hard cheese gets crispy when it freezes. Before freezing, plan how you’ll use it. Crunchy frozen cheese can be great in a recipe.

Powers-Hammond recommends grating a block or wedge of hard cheese before freezing.

9. Cream or Custard Filling and Pudding
Chocolate Pudding or MousseNew Africa /

Ah, the sweet custard and cream filling, so hard to resist. But resist freezing them.

“Custards cry,” Powers-Hammond warned. “The water comes out of them.”

And for the same reason, don’t leave frosted cakes in the freezer for too long. Maybe it’s time to reconsider the tradition of saving a piece of wedding cake for your first anniversary.

see spice
Krzysztof Slusarczyk /

Here’s an additional tip: If you’re making a spicy dish to freeze, go easy on the seasonings. Some spices go strong in the freezer.

Powers-Hammond says that when he made two pans of enchiladas, one for dinner and the other to freeze, the freezing raised the heat of the spices in the frozen dish so much that his wife couldn’t believe it. It was believed that these are two dishes. same batch.

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“Light weather before the cold,” she concluded.

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