Super Tips en
Freezing food – done right!
Meat, vegetables, herbs, dough, eggs, dried nuts and fish. Almost everything can go in the freezer ( with a few exceptions I’ll mention later on ), as long as it’s done right! The freezer chapter is huge, so there will be another, separate article on fruit, cooked food and defrosting.
Before we find out what preparation is needed for each item, here are some basic rules:
- Never freeze warm food
- Use containers that can be used in the freezer.
- Always check the temperature of the freezer, must be below -18oC.
- When freezing liquids, fill container until ¾ to avoid breakage when liquid expands.
- Keep your freezer as full as possible for efficient operation.
What NOT to freeze:
- Raw veggies and fresh sauces
- Fresh white cheese, creamy cheese, feta cheese ( unless grated) and yellow cheese ( unless grated )
- Yogurt, cream fresh and sour cream
- Sauces that contain eggs
- Bread with yeast
Most vegetables need steaming for 2-3 minutes before they go in the freezer in order to keep their color and their nutritiousness. How, you ask? Wash veggies well. Cut up in pieces and add them to boiling water. Once water starts to boil again, count 2-3 minutes, remove and pour cold water over the veggies. Dry and place in freezer. Good for 4-6 months.
Mushrooms: remove skin and stem, cut in pieces, lightly saute in oil or butter and freeze.
Peppers and dried onions: remove the skin from the onions,and freeze whole, in slices or diced. Wash peppers well, remove stem and seeds, and freeze, diced, sliced or chunky.
Beets: Boil as usual. Place in cold water, peel, and cut as you please. Ready to freeze.
Potatoes, yams, squash: These must be boiled well, mashed and then put in freezer. Defrost in bain marie.
Herbs: Wash well, dry well, chop and freeze.
Tomatoes: Remove the stem and carve the base slightly. Place in hot water for a few minutes. Remove and immerse in cold water, remove the skin and mash the flesh. Place in bags and freeze.
Meats & Cold Cuts
Freezing meats is considered the best way to preserve it. The advantage is that the meat retains its color and flavour, while it provides safety, from a hygienic point of view, as the activity of microorganisms is suspended.
If you wish to freeze meat, you must first give it a good wash and dry it well. Veal is good for 6 months and beef for a year. Pork and poultry can remain in freezer 4-6 months. http://meatexpert.blogspot.gr/
Cold cuts are frozen in slices, as long as you put a piece of wax paper in between each slice. Good for a year
Fish can go in the fridge for 1-2 days. After that, it needs freezing where it can remain for 3 months ( fatty fish) to 5 months ( non-fat fish)
In order to properly freeze fish follow these instructions: Remove the intestines and scales. Wash with plenty of running water inside and out. Dry with a paper towel and put into the freezer wrapped in saran wrap keeping it airtight.
Eggs, Dough, Dairy & Other
Dough is good in the freezer for a year. Dough that needs rising should be placed in the freezer right after kneading. When we are ready to use it, we defrost it in the fridge and then let it rise in a warm spot. Dough that doesn’t need to rise should be placed in freezer after kneading, and it can be thawed by simply placing it in the freezer a day before its use.
Eggs: To freeze an egg you need to separate the yolk from the egg whites. The egg whites can be frozen as is. The yolk however, needs to be beaten with a bit of sugar. Eggs are good for 3 months.
As for milk, it is best you avoid freezing it. The flavour deteriorates and it loses most of its nutritious value. But if you must, not more than 3 months.
Yellow cheeses and Feta should be frozen grated. Hard, white cheeses can be frozen in pieces, tightly wrapped in saran wrap for 6-8 months.
Butter is good in the freezer for 1 year.