“I was wondering if maybe you could do an article or list of foods you can store in the freezer? When using coupons to stockpile I often run into perishable things that I would buy many more of if I could figure out a way to extend their shelf life.”
Lucky for me, I have a friend who is a professional organizer and actually helps family plan meals ahead of time by effectively utilizing your freezer. So, I turned to her to see if she could better answer Jenn’s question.
To freeze or not to freeze? That is the question or perhaps the dilemma you might face when considering whether to take advantage of that great couponing deal you’ve come across. No need to fear. Use the following guidelines and tips to do what you do best- stock up and save!
Many things freeze well, so it may be most helpful to start with those that don’t. The following items break down, separate or experience a change in texture when frozen.
Don’t freeze the following foods:
Never freeze raw vegetables that have high water content. These include lettuce, cucumbers, radishes, and celery. They will get nasty and mushy in your freezer (and the last thing you need to be doing is cleaning out your freezer when you don’t have to and wasting needed space).
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), you can freeze fresh eggs for up to one year. When you’re ready to use frozen eggs, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or under running cold water. Use egg yolks or whole eggs immediately after they’re thawed.
However, don’t waste your time freezing cooked egg whites or hard-cooked eggs.
You will want to skip out on freezing raw or boiled potatoes. The texture turns mealy, watery, and in some extreme cases, may turn black.
Don’t bother freezing soft cheeses like cottage cheese, ricotta and feta (unless they are part of a prepared recipe that is made ahead and then frozen).
Sour cream or mayonnaise (unless they’re mixed into a sauce) is another not-freezer friendly food.
Surprisingly, cake icings made with egg whites, cream fillings, or soft frostings do not hold up well in the freezer.
In the pie world, custard or cream filled pies are not made for the freezer.
Fried foods are not freezer friendly.
*from the book, Frozen Assets by Deborah Taylor-Hough
Now that we’ve discussed what foods you shouldn’t waste your time freezing, here is a list of foods that freeze well. You’ll be able to stock-up and start saving money.
- Cooked pasta
- Cooked rice
- Ice cream
- Flour – you can use it directly from the freezer
- Fruit cake
- Grated cheese
- Bananas, peeled
- Uncooked pizza dough
- Bread, in slices, as loaves or breadcrumbs
- Meat, both raw and cooked
Other Online Resources
Real Simple has two resources that I use for quick reference when planning my meals and shopping trips.
How Long Will Food Last in the Freezer? has a general list of common items with recommended freezer time frames.
The Ultimate Food-Storage Guide is a detailed handbook that includes specific foods and gives recommended lengths of storage time for the fridge, freezer and pantry.
Product FAQ Page
For a name-brand product that I’m interested in freezing, a search on its home page under FAQs often produces an answer as well. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, use the company’s contact page to ask your food preservation question and wait for a response.
Plus, if you contact them commenting on their product – they just might send you a coupon!
Freezing perishable foods is one of the best ways to preserve them, and in many cases, the easiest way, too.