As 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