Freezing food is something I found to be essential and easy for my kitchen to function when it comes to my family and our household. Keeping our food fresh for an extended period of time has helped me to be able to stock up on highly perishable items that go one sale and store extra meals when I cook more than one meal to have on hand for an unexpected busy day.
However, I never knew there are some common mistakes I might be making when using my freezer. My freezer might be tidy and organized, but there is a lot more to than keeping it organized I learned.
Become a freezer master by avoiding these 10 mistakes you’re making with your freezer!
1. It’s Too Warm
If you want to keep your food lasting longer then the colder your freezer the better! So, make sure your freezer temperature is on the right setting.
Zero degrees or even lower is the best temperature for your long-term frozen food storage.
2. Not Sealing Your Food Properly
To avoid your food in the freezer from getting “freezer burn” you want to keep the air out.
Whether you are using Ziploc freezer bags, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic wrap, make sure you remove the air out by smoothing the wrap around the food. If you are using storage containers, then fill them almost to the top to protect leftovers.
3. Freezing Food in a Big Clump
Freezing food that are in separate pieces in a bag or container can leave you with frozen clumps of food. Some of these foods are fruits (such as berries), hamburgers, and cookies.
Instead, place these small items on a baking sheet and let them harden before tossing them into a bag or container. Then these items won’t freeze together, and it will be easier to grab how many you just want.
4. Waiting Too Long to Freeze
Freezing your food will help preserve it, but it won’t restore its freshness if you are waiting too long to freeze it and the food is already going bad. It’s best to freeze baked goods after they have been baked and freeze extra meat right after you get home from the store.
5. Defrosting at Room Temperature
In our household, we keep a handful of meat stored in our freezer, especially if I end up finding a great deal on meat at the grocery store. Often, I am defrosting meat for a family meal, however, I always thought it would be quicker to defrost the meat on the countertop. When I found out that this increases the risk of bacteria growing all over it before the meat is even thawed yet I changed my ways.
Instead, I made a plan to put the food in the fridge the day before. This was the safest way to defrost the meat I planned on using for our family meal.
6. Opening the Freezer During a Power Outage
When the power goes out, it’s imperative to keep the freezer closed in order to keep the food frozen as long as possible. Anything that you find still frozen when the power comes back on is still safe to keep in the freezer. If you find any items that are defrosted, you can prepare and eat these promptly. However, if you aren’t sure if the food is safe to eat then your best bet is to toss it.
7. It’s Too Full or Too Empty
When your freezer is too empty then it is less efficient. The freezer has to work harder to keep all of your food frozen. Then when your freezer is too full the air won’t circulate properly, which then can make it harder for the freezer to keep everything frozen inside of it.
So, when you are storing food in your freezer make sure it isn’t too empty or too full.
8. Not Labelling Your Food
Labeling your frozen foods with names and dates when they were frozen will make it so much easier on yourself. You will be able to keep track of what’s what and when it’s time to plan to eat your frozen food.
An easy way to label your food is just using masking tape and a permanent marker to write what it is and when you put it in the freezer. Your food will last a long time in there, but it won’t last forever so it’s better to know what you need to eat so you aren’t tossing it out or using food that’s overdue.
9. Keep a Disorganized Freezer
One of the biggest mistakes you are making is keeping a disorganized freezer. If you are just piling everything into your freezer with no organization then it’s easier to lose track of things. Things will get pushed back to the freezer and get forgotten about or you’ll be digging for a while to find what you’re looking for.
Instead, organize your freezer by using freezer bins, shelves, and labeling everything with names and dates.
10. Freezing Non-Freezable Foods
By now you know the freezer is a great place to help extend the shelf life of many foods you purchase. However, there are just some foods you should never freeze. Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and cream are one of them. Often their texture and taste will not ben the same. As well, heavy water items like citrus, lettuce, potatoes, or soft herbs will ice over due to their high water content.