Freezing is a popular way to preserve foods, especially in the summer, when your garden gives you so much fruit and vegetables that you can never eat them all without risking losing some of them.
Freezing your food is an excellent way to prevent waste and save money. But things can go wrong, and sometimes your efforts to freeze might not turn out as well as you’d hope.
To help you to get the best from your freezer, here are my top tips for successful food freezing.
1. Freeze vegetables and fruit when they are in season and local to you
The best way to utilise your freezer is to freeze seasonal fruits and vegetables. Not only can you buy them much cheaper than other times, but they will also have more nutrients than if they are purchased out of season. If you need more information on what you can and can’t freeze then check out Freeze It.
2. Prepare your food before you freeze it
If you are considering freezing vegetables such as potatoes, it’s better to blanch them before you freeze them to prevent them from going brown and soft when you defrost them.
Any food items that you wish to consume in small quantities or individually, such as bread slices, pancakes or pizza bases, freeze separately on a tray lined with non-stick parchment and then stack and wrap to keep in the freezer.
It’s more economical to bake two or three loaves of bread at a time. I keep one loaf for immediate use and slice and freeze the rest. For breakfast, I take out a couple of slices and put it straight into the toaster. It takes only a few seconds longer than fresh bread!
3. Remember food safety is always first
Make sure that your food is washed and dried before freezing to prevent any bacteria forming during the time before it freezes completely.
You can also help to preserve your food, by getting rid of as much air as possible before you freeze it. Most people won’t have a vacuum sealing machine at home, but you can squeeze out most of the air from your freezer bag by using a simple drinking straw.
4. Save money by freezing food
My favourite way to save money when food shopping is to buy reduced price foods or food with today’s ‘best before date’, which are often 50% or more off the normal price. Make sure that you check that the food on sale is suitable for freezing as some foods that have been previously frozen shouldn’t be frozen again.
Freeze all sale items immediately when you get home and use within 1 month to be on the safe side.
5. Understand how to use your freezer best
If you have a modern freezer, the chances are that it will have either a deep freezer section or deep freeze function. Whilst normally your freezer would be running on around -18C, the deep freeze could be up to 10C lower than that. This means that you can freeze your food much quicker and your food will last for longer.
6. Use the right equipment for freezing your food
Whilst I think that in the greater scheme of things nothing serious will happen if you use the same plastic bag you bought your shopping in to freeze your food, it’s much better to use the right equipment to freeze your food in the long term.
Regular plastic bags are not designed for such low temperatures and can break and release harmful chemicals into your food. It’s much better to buy freeze safe plastic bags and plastic containers, which you can also label and date.
Hope that you find my top tips for freezing your food helpful and do let me know in the comments below if you can think of any others!