Top tips for freezing food

The freezer is a busy parent’s best friend. Whether you’re in a rush to turn out something tasty for dinner or you overestimated the amount of bolognese you’d made, the freezer is always there to give and to receive like a good friend.

And, as any savvy shopper knows, buying in bulk is often far cheaper when it comes to meat and frozen veggies. Once you have some freezer bags and containers on standby, you can divide your loot into portions to freeze, refrigerate or cook for dinner. 

Top freezer tips

The freezer is generally pretty fool-proof, though it’s easier than you’d think to take a misstep and ruin a potential dinner or treat.

Ensure that all food is properly covered before freezing to avoid freezer burn. While freezer burn isn’t dangerous, it’ll change the taste of the food so it’s not nearly as tasty.

A full freezer is more economical to use because the cold air has less work to do to circulate. If your freezer has gaps in it, fill bottles of water to use as fillers or stock up on foods like bread and frozen peas that you’re bound to use—even if it’s a couple of months down the line.

Keep two freezer-safe containers in the freezer: one for fruit, one for vegetables. Use them to store leftovers that you can then make into a smoothie or soup. Chances are you’ll end up with small amounts of different things, but it will all taste great when blended.

Another way of storing small portions is in an ice-cube tray. This is ideal for homemade sauces, pesto and even baby food. Depending on the amount needed, you can break out as many cubes as you need.

We recommend letting cooked food cool down before you pop it in the freezer so the freezer doesn’t have to work so hard at cooling it.

The golden rule is to never re-freeze food that has thawed. This can cause bacteria to thrive and make the food dangerous to eat. Like your mam always said: if in doubt, throw it out.

Label and date everything that goes into the freezer. It’s a good idea to keep red and blue markers in your kitchen so that you can use the red for cooked food and the blue for raw.

 

Top tips for freezing food

What not to freeze

Vegetables with a high water content like lettuce, cucumber, radishes and beansprouts will not freeze well. They’ll go mushy and limp and no one likes mushy veg!


Eggs and egg-based sauces like mayonnaise are a freezer no-no as the texture of the egg will be mottled.

All types of bread and breadcrumbs will last for 3 months in the freezer. Most toasters have a defrost setting which will toast frozen bread.

Grated cheese is also a great thing to have on hand and can be used straight from the freezer. It’ll stay good for 4 months.

Raw pastry will happily sit in the freezer for 6 months.

All fruit and vegcan be frozen, but most will lose their texture and shape. They’ll still taste great though so they are perfect in juices or smoothies.

Minced and chopped meat will freeze well for 1-3 months, but large joints of beef, lamb and pork can last for 6-8 months in the freezer.

What freezes well

All types of bread and breadcrumbs will last for 3 months in the freezer. Most toasters have a defrost setting which will toast frozen bread.

Grated cheese is also a great thing to have on hand and can be used straight from the freezer. It’ll stay good for 4 months.

Raw pastry will happily sit in the freezer for 6 months.

All fruit and vegcan be frozen, but most will lose their texture and shape. They’ll still taste great though so they are perfect in juices or smoothies.

Some easy-peasy freezer friendly treats

As well as storing food, your freezer is a dab-hand for rustling up tasty treats.

Frozen fruit treats

Frozen fruit “kebabs” are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. Thread chunks of your favourite fruit onto a skewer, bag and freeze.

For a fruity treat, try watermelon popsicles. Cube your watermelon and blend it with juice and honey or sugar. Push the watermelon through a sieve and pour the juice into popsicle moulds to freeze for later.

For a slightly more grown-up treat, try smothering chunks of banana in melted dark chocolate and sprinkling with finely chopped nuts. If serving for kids, ditch the nuts and use a sweeter milk chocolate instead.

From treats to storing dinners to defrost and cook, the freezer really is a life-saver. If you’re trying out any of our tips or treats, let us know on Facebook or Twitter.