The Fundamentals of Freezing, Plus Freezer-Friendly Recipes
You heard it straight from the co-hosts on this morning's all-new episode of The Kitchen: Frozen foods can make mealtimes simpler, quicker and heartier. With the help of some ready-to-go ingredients in the freezer, Jeff prepared his Freezer Fry-Up with Sunny-Side-Up Eggs, a family-friendly meal made with frozen pork, sweet potatoes and corn. But being able to rely on a stocked freezer full of your family's ready-to-go staples requires a bit of planning, and it's important to know which foods freeze best and how to properly freeze them in order to ensure the best results. After all, no one wants to open the door to find freezer-burned ingredients. Check out a few of Food Network's top tips for preparing meat, vegetables and fruits for freezing, then get freezer-friendly recipes for any meal of the day.
Storage Solutions: Picking the correct bag or bin for what it is you're freezing will help protect the food inside. It's important to try to limit the air around the food, so opt for re-sealable plastic bags, especially when freezing fruits and vegetables, or small containers if freezing liquids.
Portion Control: If you stock up on meat when it's on sale at the grocery store, try freezing it in individual servings. This way you can thaw only as much as you need; once meat has been thawed, it's best not to refreeze it — unless you'll break it down later for a stew.
Prep Work: Precooking some produce, like vegetables and apples, may help maintain the taste and prevent the development of freezer burn, so it's a good idea to quickly blanch them before freezing. Berries are best left uncooked, but they should be carefully packaged; first freeze them on a flat surface, then transfer them to a plastic bag for long-term storage.
Save the Date: Just because food is stashed away in the freezer doesn't mean it will last forever. In general, meats will be good for between 3 and 5 months, vegetables for 2 to 3 months and fruits for up to 3 months. You can avoid throwing away potentially still-safe food if it's labeled; just write the packaging date on the plastic bag as a reminder.