Freezing foods is a great way to store them for longer periods of time. But not everything is freezer-friendly. These eight foods do not belong in the freezer compartment.
Frozen meals don’t always have to come from the supermarket. You can easily freeze numerous fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and soups as well as a variety of healthy meal prep dishes for a later date. Simply portion out your food and store it in the right container. (Read more: Freeze Foods without Plastic: 6 Sustainable Household Hacks)
However, not all foods go great in the freezer. In order to avoid wasted electricity and prevent food waste, stay informed on which foods aren’t freezer-friendly. Utopia’s guide on foods that don’t belong in the freezer will help you store foods sustainably.
1. Leafy Greens
Leaf lettuce such as green, red and oak as well as iceberg and romaine lettuce do not fare well in the freezer. Due to the high water content of these popular salad picks, leaf lettuces become mushy in the freezer and are no longer edible raw.
The same thing happens with leaf spinach. However, there a couple quick and easy steps you can take to make it freezer-friendly. Here’s a simple guide on prepping spinach for the freezer: How to Freeze Spinach: Preserving Freshness.
Stick raw potatoes in the freezer and you’ll be left with a soft and mushy mess once you take them out. If frozen, potatoes lose their consistency and usual flavor. Thawed potatoes will taste sweeter than usual. However, cooked dishes which contain potatoes are no problem. You can easily freeze your sweet potato fries, french fries or casserole without a second thought.
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3. Cream Cheese and Other Soft Cheeses
Soft cheeses are notably less freezer-friendly than harder types. Freeze cream cheese and it will clump up and crumble while the liquid and remaining cheese paste will separate. The result will lose some of its flavor and will no longer be creamy. Soft cheese such as queso fresco, paneer and brie should not be stored in the freezer. The same goes for handcrafted artisanal cheeses as they will lose a good part of their unique flavor.
Hard to semi-hard cheeses will freeze better than cream cheese. However, the cheese may come out crumbly and slightly altered in flavor. This is why it’s best to use frozen cheese for cooking, baked dishes or dips.
Note: Although you can freeze any type of cheese without any health risks, it’s not exactly recommended in a handful of cases.
4. Watery Fruit and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables with particularly high water contents such as watermelons, cucumbers, most tomatoes, radishes, many types of lettuce, grapes, and other melons don’t belong in the freezer. These will be left mushy in consistency after being frozen.
Some fruits do make the cut. Check out Utopia’s guide on How to Freeze Bananas.
You should never freeze raw eggs. Liquid expands in the freezer, which will crack the shells and render your eggs inedible. Hard-boiled eggs stored in the freezer will come out rubbery in consistency. However, beaten eggs can be frozen for around a couple weeks.
Utopia’s tip: Make prep easier by first portioning the beaten eggs out in an ice cube tray. Then stick them in the freezer for an hour or so before transferring to freezer containers.
6. Dairy Products
Dairy products – especially those with high fat contents such as whole milk, cream and sour cream, yogurt or cream cheese tend to clump up when stored in the freezer. The consistency and the taste also change noticeably.
It is theoretically possible to freeze garlic – however, it’s not exactly recommended. Although the peels of thawed garlic will come off easier, garlic will lose its taste and smell in the freezer.
8. Foods With Gelatin
Dishes containing gelatin such as jello, puddings, tarts, cakes and the like aren’t meant for the freezer. Although you can freeze any number of popular gelatin-based desserts, you will notice the texture and consistency change once thawed. The jello will separate once taken out of the freezer. Plus, any cake or similar base frozen underneath tends to the dry out in the freezer.
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