Freezing food is an excellent way to avoid food waste and it can be a lifesaver when it comes to midweek meals.
However, while there’s a whole host of foods you can freeze, there are some foods that if frozen will only cause frustration. It might seem convenient at first but you could be left with a lot of mess on your hands and even worse – a lot of inedible food!
From eggs and courgettes to dairy products, here’s why these six foods should never be frozen (as well as the best ways to store them to prolong their life).
When whole eggs are frozen the yolk and white expand which can cause the shell to crack, leaving you with a big mess and potentially an unpleasant smell, which nobody needs.
The best way to store eggs
Beaten eggs can be stored in an airtight container and frozen as this avoids egg-splosions! Simply add a label with the date and the number of eggs inside. You can also store beaten egg whites and yolks separately. The yolks need a little more care when frozen to avoid them thickening. Simply blend 0.5ml salt or 7ml sugar per 4 yolks. If keeping eggs in their shells they’re best at the back of the fridge where the temperature is consistent.
Any fruit or vegetables with high water content should be kept out of the freezer because they will turn icy once frozen, and will never return to their former selves afterwards. Once the fruit or vegetables thaw they lose their crisp texture and turn limp or soggy.
The best way to store courgettes
Refrigerate courgettes in a vegetable storage bag in the crisper draw, eat within 2-3 days and do not cut until ready to use. If you want to freeze high water content fruit or vegetables like tomatoes or apples, it is best to puree them first.
Placing hot food straight into the freezer will lower the temperature inside and cause other foods to partially defrost. This helps bacteria grow and means all the food in your freezer is at risk of contamination.
The best way to store hot food
You should always wait until food is fully cooled before putting it in the freezer. Once cooled placed into the appropriate container and label with date and content (you wouldn’t want to mistake your chicken stock for your bolognese!).
Soft cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise and yogurt should never go in the freezer. These dairy products will separate and turn watery after being frozen and will be unpleasant to eat if you want to serve them up on their own. If they’re used for cooking they can easily be mixed back together however, and in a sauce or recipe you shouldn’t notice too much of a difference.
The best way to store dairy products
Dairy products should be refrigerated and tightly sealed separately. If opening a large pot of Greek yogurt for example, pop leftovers in an airtight container and keep nice and cool on the fridge door.
Raw whole potatoes will develop internal ice crystals once frozen due to their high water content. Then, once thawed, the potato will be mushy inside and unusable – far from ideal.
The best way to store potatoes
It is best to keep your potatoes in a cool, dry place in a paper bag away from daylight (to stop them from sprouting). A cupboard is great and the paper bag will help keep the potatoes fresher for longer. If you do want to freeze potatoes it is best to cook them first, they might still be a little watery when thawed but they will be edible.
Recipes often only require a tablespoon or two of breadcrumbs and it can be tempting to freeze the excess. However when frozen, breadcrumbs soften and once thawed have a mushy texture, which isn’t ideal if you’re looking to get a nice crispy coating on something. This also applies to crumble mixture.
The best way to store breadcrumbs
It is always best to make your breadcrumbs fresh and use them on the day. Dry breadcrumbs can be stored in an airtight container for a few weeks in a cool place. Freeze the fruit or meat part of a crumble or casserole separately and add the topping once thawed to make sure you retain a lovely crunchy finish.