There are many rules related to frozen food. For instance, thawing and refreezing meat are never allowed.
Also, it’s usually advisable to throw ice cream once the crystals form.
But while some rules are apparent, some like you need to fact-check whether to follow or toss them out.
So, Can You Store Frozen Food in the Refrigerator?
The answer is both yes and no. Refrigerated food degrades faster than food stored in the freezer. Therefore, when you bring food from the refrigerator into the freezer, you risk spoiling it. Remember that temperatures in the freezer are colder than those in the fridge, which means your food experiences a temperature difference that can promote going bad.
If you are storing prepared frozen foods, it is generally wise not to keep them for a long time in the fridge, but if your food is still raw, it can go for more days in the refrigerator.
How Soon Should You Cook Food Once You Defrost It?
Once you defrost food, you do not have a large window before it can go bad.
Generally, you will need to cook your defrosted food for between 1-5 days, depending on the type of food. After you thaw ground meats, fish, and poultry, cook them within one or two days.
Beef, pork, veal, or lamb can go up to three days.
Some people are against refreezing food once you thaw it. But many experts agree that if it is still in the safe window for cooking, you can go ahead and refreeze the food.
However, it’s worth noting that this is only encouraged for food thawed in the ridge and kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Long Can Food Typically Be Stored In The Freezer?
Freezing food is an efficient way of reducing food waste.
If you store food properly, it should last for a while.
However, remember that the taste and flavor can change after some time.
You won’t enjoy the food if you don’t like the taste.
Even if you store your food in air-tight containers, air can still sneak in and adversely affect taste and texture.
That’s why bags should be utilized when freezing food.
Here is the length of time you can freeze different foods:
You can store all cheese in a freezer for up to six months.
However, experts do not recommend freezing cottage cheese, fresh mozzarella, goat, processed opened cheese, feta, and cream cheese.
2. Dairy Products
The length varies depending on the type of dairy.
Butter can be frozen for between 6 to 9 months, while you can only freeze the ice cream for 1-2 months.
Cream can go up to 4 months, while margarine, milk, and yogurt can be frozen for 12, 3, and 1-2 months, respectively.
3. Fish and Seasoned Food
Lean fish can be frozen for up to 6 months, while fatty fish can go up to 2-3 months.
You can freeze mussels, shrimp, scallops, and clams for three to six months.
4. Fresh Fruit
Most fresh fruits can be frozen for 10-12 mots.
But for avocados & bananas, citrus fruit, and fruit juices, do not go past three, six, and eight months.
5. Fresh Vegetables
Artichokes and eggplants can be frozen for six to eight months.
Asparagus, turnips, and rutabagas can last up to 10 months, while beans, peppers, and squash can last 12 months.
In short, you can freeze most vegetables for more than ten months.
But tomatoes, especially sliced and overripe, don’t last past two months.
Also, do not freeze cabbage, celery, salad greens, and watercress.
Cooked meat can stay up to 6 months. But for uncooked, limit the time to 4 months.
Also, for two months, freeze lunch meats, hot dogs, am, sausage, and bacon.
Five Tips to Keep Frozen Food at Their Best
1. Label Your Containers
Labeling containers helps you know what is inside them.
Therefore, you don’t have to take containers in and out looking for a certain meal.
Use blue and red markers for uncooked and cooked food, respectively. Additionally, remember to write the date you freeze it.
2. Cool Food Before Freezing
Freezing hot foods can raise the freezer’s temperatures which can cause other foods to begin defrosting.
Divide the food into small portions to fasten the cooling process.
3. Wrap Carefully or Store in Sealed Containers
Freezer burn is a common happening and occurs when food isn’t sealed properly.
In that case, water from the food evaporates and goes to your freezer’s coldest part.
As such, the food is left dehydrated. Although the food is safe to eat, the quality won’t be that good.
4. Freeze in Portions
If you cook in bulk, it’s best to divide food into portions before freezing it.
This way, whenever you want to eat, you don’t have to thaw the whole meal if you are only going to eat a portion.
5. Freeze at 0 degrees Fahrenheit
Freeze things when fresh to retain the color, vitamins, texture, and flavor.
Then, store them at 0-degree F temperature or lower.
You need to ensure this temperature is consistent. Otherwise, the food might be unsafe to eat.
Lastly, let the freezer be. Avoid unnecessary opening and closing of the freezer.
Also, in case of a power interruption or the failure of an operation, please don’t open the door when it’s not necessary.
What Are the Effects of Freezing?
Freezing food for too long can affect its quality.
For instance, fried foods can be rancid, cottage cheese can have a different texture, and crumb toppings can become soggy.
Defrosting a Frozen Meal
- If ice crystals have formed on your frozen meal, it is not advisable to refreeze it. Remember that while you can eat thawed and refrozen food, it will have a dry texture when you cook it.
- It’s advisable to keep defrosted food in the fridge for not more than 24 hours before you cook it or discard it.
- Portion out your food before freezing it to reduce wastage and thaw only what you need.
- If you aren’t sure about the food, throw it out. Remember that freezing doesn’t kill bacteria. So if you’re unsure how long your food has been frozen, don’t take chances.
How to Freeze Fresh Vegetables
- Boil vegetables in portions for 30 seconds in a pot of water to prevent them from turning brown when you freeze them.
- Remove your vegetables from heat and place them in a bowl with iced water, a process called blanching.
- Once your veggies are chilled, drain them and scatter them onto a tray with kitchen paper.
- Freeze them in the tray, then put them in a freezer bag.
- When you want to cook, ensure you first boil them. Avoid steaming as it can make them soggy.
It’s generally not advisable to refrigerate frozen food.
However, if you must, ensure you consume it within the recommended time. Also, use the above tips to freeze food properly.