The freezer is one of the biggest appliances in the kitchen, and yet it’s probably the most misused and underutilised machines we own. Here's how to avoid the most common mistakes when it comes to freezing foods.
We’re all guilty of having that mysterious cut of meat at the back of the freezer, or a takeaway container filled with soup…or is it pasta sauce? Who knows?
It becomes more of an icy storage unit of food we can’t seem to part with – or even remember we have – rather than a space that really works for us.
These are most common mistakes often made when it comes to freezing food, alomg with some advice for what to do instead:
You’re not wrapping food up properly
It’s tempting to take items straight from our shopping bags and throw them into the freezer, but don’t! Most of the packaging won’t protect your food in the way you think, and if surrounded by air, the food is likely to get freezer burn.
Instead, take the item out of its original packaging and place into zip-lock freezer bags or airtight containers. This will prolong the life of the food, and keep that pesky freezer burn at bay.
You’re not prepping before freezing
Again, another common mistake we make is not thinking ahead – “What will I use this for in the future?” “How can I make meal prep simpler?”
We freeze food with no real preparation or thought of how we’re going to cook it. If you know you’re not going to use all six chicken thighs at once, then wrap and freeze them separately. Chop up veggies before freezing so you can cook straight from frozen.
You’re not freezing food when it’s fresh
We all convince ourselves that we’ll eat the thing in the fridge that is beginning to pass its best before date, but for whatever reason keep putting it off. We slowly watch it wither away until we can’t bear to look any longer so we throw it in the deep-freeze.
Freezing food, especially fruits and veg when they’re fresh not only locks in the flavour, it also locks in the nutrients. So every day you pass up that slowly wilting veg means you’re losing out on vital vitamins and minerals.
Fruit and Veg box supplier, Oddbox also recommend blanching veg before freezing. “Quickly boiling for a few minutes before shocking in ice-cold water to stop the cooking process helps neutralise the bacteria present, which in turn delays the spoilage process.
You’re not labelling and dating items
It’s no surprise that items lay abandoned for months – sometimes years – when it’s nigh on impossible to know what it is, or how long it’s been there.
Be sure to label and date everything in the freezer, this way you don’t have to blindly rummage around and guess what things are. By knowing how long things have been there makes you more aware of when to use it. We recommend labelling your food from 3-6 months in the freezer.
For more tips, read our advice on how to freeze food.
There’s nothing more cathartic than giving the fridge and freezer and good old sort out, when everything’s neat and tidy, condensed and well-organised.
- Freeze stock and sauces in zip-lock freezer bags, but lay them flat to save freezer space and to make defrosting a doddle.
- Freeze any leftover wine in ice cube trays so you have them on hand whenever you need to add a little to a recipe.
- Do the same with olive oil and leftover herbs.
- Roll any leftover cookie dough into balls, freeze and then store in airtight bags, then simply bake from frozen.
- Portion frozen fruit so you have ready-to-go smoothie ingredients in no time at all.