The coronavirus outbreak and its ensuing self-quarantines have despatched us all flocking to grocery shops to fill up on meals and put together our pantries. We’ve been sharing recipes you can also make with shelf-stable meals in your pantry like tuna, pasta, rice and beans, however you shouldn’t neglect about one other useful merchandise within the kitchen ― your freezer.
Some recipes lend themselves to freezing completely, resembling casseroles, soups, stews, chilis, meatballs and pasta dishes ― listed here are a number of of our favorites. However remember the fact that a recipe doesn’t should be labeled “freezer-friendly” to be freezable. You possibly can freeze just about something (although the aforementioned meals keep their taste and texture the very best after being reheated).
Purchase recent components now whereas they’re nonetheless in shops, then prepare dinner some dishes and stash them in your freezer for a time when you might not be capable of entry recent fruits, greens and meats as simply.
There are only a few issues to bear in mind relating to getting ready meals on your freezer. Right here’s every thing it is advisable find out about meals containers, how lengthy the meals will final, find out how to thaw it and extra.
How To Put together Meals For Freezing
It’s essential to let sizzling meals cool to room temperature earlier than placing it in your freezer. A sizzling dish of lasagna, for instance, will elevate the temperature of the freezer, making the meals in it much less secure.
Observe these useful pointers from allrecipes.com for secure freezing:
Use solely specialty freezer wrappings. They need to be each moisture-proof and vapor-proof.
Depart as little air as doable within the packages and containers. When freezing liquids in containers, permit a small quantity of head room for growth. When utilizing freezer luggage, make sure to take away as a lot air as doable earlier than closing.
Wrap solids meals like meats and baked items tightly in foil earlier than you bag them.
Use inflexible containers with an hermetic lid and hold the sealing edge free from moisture or meals to make sure correct closure.
Safe wrapped packages and containers with freezer tape, and write the dish and the date on the tape with a marker.
In lots of instances, meats and fish wrapped by the grocery store or butcher want no further consideration earlier than freezing. Nevertheless, meat wrapped on Styrofoam trays with plastic wrap is not going to maintain up properly to freezing. If the meals you wish to freeze was not specifically wrapped, then rewrap them at dwelling.
Freeze in small containers with not more than a 1-quart capability to make sure that freezing takes place in a well timed method (i.e., inside 4 hours). Meals that’s 2 inches thick will take about two hours to freeze utterly.
As well as, by no means, ever freeze in glass jars until they’re explicitly freezer-safe, because the glass may shatter (significantly in the event you’re freezing a liquid like soup, which may increase because it freezes). As an alternative, use plastic containers or a freezer-safe zip-seal plastic bag.
Freezer luggage are an awesome possibility right here. Pour your soup into a number of completely different luggage to maintain them manageable in your freezer, and also you’ll be capable of stack them simply when it comes time to avoid wasting room. Additionally they make single-serving thawing a breeze.
Cooked Meat, Poultry and Fish
Freezer luggage are additionally your greatest guess for this stuff, as a result of they will seal hermetic across the meat, eliminating air gaps that may trigger freezer burn. The much less air within the bag, the higher.
Right here’s how lengthy you may hold meat within the freezer:
Cooked poultry — four months
Raw poultry components — 9 months
Raw complete poultry — 12 months
Cooked meat — 2 to three months
Raw roasts — four to 12 months
Raw steaks or chops — four to 12 months
Raw floor meat — three to four months
Casseroles and Baked Pasta Dishes
You might be tempted to freeze a glass casserole dish or pan, however solely achieve this in the event you’ve utterly cooled it all the way down to room temperature after baking. In any other case, you would danger the glass shattering. Aluminum pans are a greater possibility. Earlier than you place your room-temp dish within the freezer, seal it properly with foil after which put plastic wrap on prime of that. BonAppetit.com says you may even take it one step additional: You possibly can “line a baking dish with foil, bake and freeze it, then elevate the frozen casserole out of the dish complete, wrap it up tightly, and retailer it in a freezer bag.”
In the event you’ve bought recent thyme, dill, basil, parsley, cilantro, chives, and so on., do that: Wash them, chop them finely and pack them into ice dice molds. Simply drizzle a tiny little bit of water into every dice, then freeze. If you’re prepared to make use of them, simply toss them right into a sizzling pan and so they’ll dissolve.
It’s also possible to mix herbs into room temperature butter, roll the butter right into a log between parchment paper, and freeze it. If you’re able to prime your salmon with some dill butter or your baked potato with chive butter, simply chop off a slice and also you’re good to go.
How you can thaw frozen meals
The USDA’s information to secure thawing recommends the next strategies:
Within the fridge: This may take the longest, however it’s arguably the most secure methodology. Some objects, relying on their dimension, may take days to defrost this manner.
In chilly water: This can be a little quicker. Place the frozen meals in a leak-proof bag and put it in a big container of chilly water.
In a microwave on the defrost setting: That is the quickest methodology, however it’s essential to prepare dinner your meals instantly after it’s defrosted.
How lengthy will frozen meals final within the freezer?
The web is stuffed with useful guides that inform us how lengthy our meals will final within the freezer, however the USDA says these guides aren’t referring to security in any respect. That’s as a result of all frozen meals is fit for human consumption, supplied it was fit for human consumption on the time it was frozen.
“As a result of freezing retains meals secure virtually indefinitely, beneficial storage instances are for high quality solely,” based on the USDA. “Meals saved always at zero levels Fahrenheit will all the time be secure. Solely the standard suffers with prolonged freezer storage.”
However in case you’re concerned about how lengthy your meals will stay at its highest high quality, discuss with this chart: