Wednesday, 15 February 2012

How to freeze food

Despite that for several years it has been possible to freeze our food in the Fridge, many of us still having some doubts how is the best to freeze food and how to unfreeze. Freezing  food is a great way to save money and keep your favourites ingredients fresh for longer.

The freezer 
Photo by Neff
Before you freeze your food you need to know what are the freezer levels of your fridge, if your freezer only can produce -12ºC you need to know that you just can keep your food for only a couple of weeks. The ideal is having a freezer with at least - 18ºC for keep the food fresh for several months. Freezer with anti-frost features improve the freezer process and avoid that the food is contaminated with another food odours and also avoid that some food kind of food get stick each other (meatballs, burgers). Also is important keep the internal walls of your freezer ice free. The ice act like an insulating making more difficult to keep a stable temperature and also make your freezer use more energy.

The containers
Photo by Rubbermaid
_Whatever the container you use, this must have a hermetic close.
_For liquid and already cooked dishes plastic rigid container or Tupper ware are ideal.
_For liquid or sauces you can also use freeze bags or plastic container, but remember that that sauces and liquid increase their volume in the freezer, so don’t overfill.
_Fish and meats for their irregular form is best keep it in bags or in aluminium foil.
_Vegetables in plastic bags.
_Label your container with the dates and the product name in it.

How to freeze
Poster by limegreen367
Vegetables: For keep the entire colour and flavour is best blanch first the fresh vegetables, drain and dry before to freeze.
Meat:  Before you freeze you should be remove any fat excess and divide in size portions for no need to unfrozen a whole kilogram of meat that you won’t need soon.
Fish: If you fishmonger didn’t clean the fish, you should be clean it before freeze. Oily fish because have fat can be frozen just for 3 months. Salmon, hake and cod will lose in the unfreeze process.
Fruit: You must peel the fruit before and cover with sugar (250g sugar for 1000g of fruit) if not the texture and flavour will change too much. I peel the bananas and I cover in foil paper for make the perfect smoothie. No sugar needed in that case.
Bread:  Just freeze bread suitable for freeze or those from an artisanal bakery, because much of the bread that is sold in supermarket was previously frozen.
Pasta: Just homemade fresh pasta or fresh pasta suitable for freeze like the bread.  You can freeze pasta after cooking but the texture is no very nice.
Dairy:  Semi-skimmed milk, butter and cheeses are also good for freeze with some exceptions.
Fresh Herbs: Washed and drained can be freeze until 6 months

Don’t Freeze
Photo by Alyssssyla
* Never freeze any kind of food that was previously frozen because the flavour and texture will deteriorate even more quickly than in a fresh state.
* Whole milk because the fat can curdle and Soft cheeses also will lose.
* Cakes, if you make a cake keep in the fridge if you freeze the cake, when is unfrozen will become crumble and difficult to slice properly.
* Stews will lose flavours.
* Eggs, fresh eggs are not suitable for freeze, they lost texture and flavour.  Same for mayonnaise.  You only can freeze the white egg.
* Pasta and rice’s. Even they are part of a soup of a stew, the pasta or rice will lose flavour and texture.
* Fresh potatoes are not recommended because the texture will be very hard after defrosting, instead mash potatoes keep very well in the freezer.

How to Defrost.

- The best way to defrost your food is in the top shelf of your fridge until recover their fresh texture.
- Never defrost at room temperature or under running water because the food will reproduce bacteria.
- Using microwave is also a good method.
- Some vegetables like peas and beans can be cooked without defrost.