Experts have revealed the foods you should and shouldn’t freeze, as well as the items which are better for your health when they’re frozen.
People worldwide are rushing to fill up their pantries, fridges and freezers during the coronavirus pandemic, so it helps to know what you can freeze and preserve, and what you should always eat fresh.
The most important thing to remember is that you should try to avoid freezing anything too large and instead opt for smaller portions, as these cause less damage to the cells of the food.
But what should you be squeezing into your freezer in order to be prepared for self isolation and how long will it last?
Experts have revealed the foods you should and shouldn’t freeze, as well as the items which are better for your health when they’re frozen (stock image)
‘Fresh vegetables are not necessarily healthier than frozen vegetables. Once harvested, vegetables start to lose nutrients and antioxidants,’ dietitian Lyndi Cohen (pictured) said
Why are fruit and vegetables often better frozen than fresh?
* Produce to be frozen is usually picked at its nutritional peak, and then ‘snap frozen’, which locks in the nutrients for a later date.
* In contrast to fresh produce, frozen fruit and vegetables don’t spend time in transit deteriorating, so they could actually be a better choice for your health.
First up, vegetables including peas, beans, carrot, cauliflower, diced onions, broccoli and sweetcorn are brilliant to freeze – as freezing them can often lock in more health benefits.
‘Fresh vegetables are not necessarily healthier than frozen vegetables. Once harvested, vegetables start to lose nutrients and antioxidants,’ dietitian Lyndi Cohen told FEMAIL.
‘Frozen vegetables are mostly “snap frozen”, an almost instantaneous freezing process designed to preserve nutrients. This keeps the vegetables fresh.’
She continued: ‘When you defrost them at home, there’s been minimal loss of nutrients so even though the produce has been frozen, it’s incredibly fresh.’
If you want to freeze any fresh vegetables to make them last, think about foods like sweet potato and tomato.
When you want to freeze them, blanche them quickly in boiling water, before refreshing them in chilled water.
Then drain them, spread them out on a tray covered in baking paper and freeze.
What are the top freezing tips?
* Cool foods before you freeze them. Freezing food when it’s hot will only increase the temperature of your freezer.
* Only re-freeze food if you’re cooking it in between. When food is thawed bacteria can multiply quickly, particularly at room temperature – but cooking kills this off.
* A full freezer is easier to run. This is because the cold air doesn’t need to circulate as much, so less power is needed.
* Wrap your food. Make sure everything is wrapped up well or in airtight container in order to stop it from going bad.
* Freeze food in realistic-sized portions. This causes less damage to the cells of the food.
* Label it. While you might think you have everything down, it’s not always that clear.
Source: BBC Good Food
Fruit including mixed berries are especially good to freeze, but while the flavour preserves well, the texture doesn’t always hold up.
The experts at Good Food recommend you freeze your whole bananas in skins in order to make banana bread and smoothies, and place your full apples in airtight containers so you can later use them for pies, crumble and porridge or muesli.
‘Fresh berries are great when they’re in season and a great way to support local farmers,’ Lyndi told FEMAIL.
‘But when berries aren’t in season, you can buy them frozen and they will be just as good for you.’
Lyndi said berries are high in antioxidants, which means they’re good for both your skin health and heart health.
If you want to make your basil, parsley, curry paste, pesto and coriander last even longer, consider freezing them with oil in ice trays (stock image)
HERBS AND PASTES
If you want to make your basil, parsley, curry paste, pesto and coriander last even longer, consider freezing them.
Finely chop any herbs and pop them in ice cube trays with some olive oil or water and slip them into your freezer for a later date.
You can do similar with any sauces, pastes or pesto – meaning you’ll always have condiments prepped and ready for if you have to quarantine.
Many cuts of meat are vacuum-sealed to improve their shelf life – which also means good things for freezing them (stock image)
With mince being rationed to just two per customer in supermarkets around Australia at the moment, people have never been keener to stockpile and freeze their meat in case they have to self-isolate.
Many cuts of meat are vacuum-sealed to improve their shelf life – which also means good things for freezing them.
The Good Food experts recommend you freeze your mince meat in the plastic trays they’re sold in, and then wrap your whole legs and joints of meat in plastic film to keep them fresh.
Some meat including poultry like turkey can last for up to seven months if you need it to.
Eggs work well when frozen, but you can’t freeze whole eggs without splitting the shells open. Pop them in a muffin tray and put them in the freezer to freeze them best (stock image)
What foods should you eat fresh not frozen?
* Salad greens
It’s not just your meat and fruit and veg that can work in the freezer, but dairy items too.
You can even freeze milk provided you get rid of 10 per cent of the top of it so that there is some room for it as it expands.
You can also freeze cream, provided it’s thawed out for 24 hours before consumption.
Eggs work well when frozen, but you can’t freeze whole eggs without splitting the shells open.
Crack your eggs and pop them into a muffin tray to freeze, before removing the frozen eggs and putting them in a bag to return to the freezer.
How long does your frozen food last?
* Fatty foods like bacon and sausages – Three months
* Butter – Four months
* Fatty fish like mackerel, sardines and salmon – Four months
* Soups and sauces – Three months
* Buttery pastries – Four months
* Minced meat – Four months
* Stews and pies – Four months
* Bread and cakes – Six months
* Lamb, chicken, pork, turkey and game – Six months
* Frozen fruit – Eight months
* White fish – Eight months
* Whole chicken or steak – One year
Source: Good Food