12 tips on using your freezer
Freezing food is a perfect way to preserve food
A freezer is your best friend especially if you’re only cooking for one person. Freezing is a great way to preserve food for a long period of time, and will help prevent a lot of food waste. Before you start freezing your food there are a few things that you need to know. Read our tips below for more information.
1. Always cool foods first
Never put hot foods in the fridge. Freezing hot foods will only increase the general temperature of the fridge or freezer and could cause other foods to defrost.
2. Freezing when fresh
It's always best to freeze food at its freshest so that it will be at it’s best once defrosted.
3. Never re-freeze
Never re-freeze anything that has already been frozen.
4. Avoid freezer burn
Make sure your food is put in sealed containers to prevent freezer burn. This occurs when frozen food has been damaged due to air reaching the food. It is generally caused by food not being securely wrapped in airtight packaging. Freezer burn is not harmful but can adversely affects the food's texture and colour. If a container won't close tightly, it's best not to use it.
5. Portion sizes
Freeze food in realistically sized portions. You don’t want to have to defrost a large portion of food when you only need enough to feed one person.
6. Defrosting your food
Frozen food should always be thoroughly defrosted before you eat it. Make sure that if you reheat the food that it's piping all the way through.
7. Not everything is safe to eat
If in doubt throw it out. Freezing doesn’t kill bacteria. If you are anyway unsure about how long something has been frozen or a bit wary of something once it’s been defrosted, don’t take any chances.
8. Use labels
It may seem like a hassle at the time but unless you label your food you won’t remember what it is or when you put it in the freezer. It only takes a few minutes but could save a lot of confusion later.
9. Defrosting your freezer
Defrosting is essential. Over time ice builds up in your freezer, and an icy freezer is an inefficient one. Make time to defrost your freezer at least once a year or more often if there is a build up of ice.
10. Know what you can and can't freeze
Not all foods respond well to freezing. Avoid freezing things like mayonnaise, yoghurt, sour cream as they can separate. Also avoid freezing fruits and vegetables with a high water content, such as lettuce and watermelon, as they'll become limp and soggy when thawed.
11. Know what freezes well
Foods that are great to freeze are foods like bread, soup and stew.
12. Defrosting and refreezing after cooking
This is best done in the fridge, especially if we are talking about meat. Put frozen food on a tray at the bottom of the fridge and leave overnight or during the working day. Avoid refreezing raw meat or fish that's been defrosted and anything else that has already been frozen, unless you have cooked it again complete.