Unleash the Power of your Freezer

freezerAs an aunt of four growing little picky eaters, more and more I learn the value of time. I will not pretend that my role as an aunt is the same as a mom, but after countless babysitting gigs and kiddy sleepovers, I have come to appreciate every square inch of the freezer and its lovely neighbor: the microwave. Using the freezer and microwave frequently doesn’t have to be an unhealthy solution as many people may think, especially if it involves the foods you’ve prepared previously.

You can freeze soups, sauces, meats, casseroles, desserts and many more types of foods. Unfortunately, not everything freezes perfectly. Here’s a chart taken from the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s site. This chart details foods that don’t do too well in the freezer:

Foods Usual Use Condition After Thawing
Cabbage*, celery, cress, cucumbers*, endive, lettuce, parsley, radishes As raw salad Limp, water-logged,quickly develops oxidized color, aroma and flavor
Irish potatoes, baked or boiled In soups, salads, sauces or with butter Soft, crumbly, water-logged, mealy
Cooked macaroni, spaghetti or rice When frozen alone for later use Mushy, tastes warmed over
Egg whites, cooked In salads, creamed foods,sandwiches, sauces, gravy or desserts Soft, tough, rubbery, spongy
Meringue In desserts Soft, tough, rubbery, spongy
Icings made from egg whites Cakes, cookies Frothy, weeps
Cream or custard fillings Pies, baked goods Separates, watery, lumpy
Milk sauces For casseroles or gravies May curdle or separate
Sour cream As topping, in salads Separates, watery
Cheese or crumb toppings On casseroles Soggy
Mayonnaise or salad dressing On sandwiches (not in salads) Separates
Gelatin In salads or desserts Weeps
Fruit jelly Sandwiches May soak bread
Fried foods All except French fried potatoes and onion rings Lose crispness, become soggy
* Cucumbers and cabbage can be frozen as marinated products such as “freezer slaw” or “freezer pickles”. These do not have the same texture as regular slaw or pickles.

But don’t let this chart scare you! There are several meals you can prepare ahead of time and freeze for later.

So say bye-bye to boring TV dinners and hello to homemade deliciousness!

Written by Michelle Martin

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