My readers often ask “Can I freeze this?” In my personal experience, I haven’t found very many foods that don’t freeze well, but there are a few discussed below. I often just wrap food up well and stick it in the freezer and find out by trial and error. I freeze most casserole leftovers in 1 or 2 portion containers. Those come in very handy when hubby is out of town and I don’t feel like cooking just for me alone. Nice to be able to pop out an already cooked meal I can just defrost in the microwave and be eating in under 15 minutes. Just make sure foods are properly wrapped to seal out air. Store in proper freezer bags, freezer containers with tight lids meats in waxed white freezer paper.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember about freezing food is that once you throw it in there, DON’T FORGET ABOUT IT! Label/date them and keep the foods you need to use up first at eye level or in top baskets of chest freezers. That old saying “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. 🙂
Do not keep foods frozen beyond recommended lengths of time for that food. My freezer book recommends the following storage times: Bread under 1 month; baked goods up to 4 months; beef and lamb 6-8 months; pork just 4 months; chicken 2-4 months; turkey 2-4 months, vegetables 1-2 months depending on packaging. The food won’t necessarily spoil for longer periods of freezer time, but food moisture, nutrients and overall quality is diminished greatly beyond these recommended time limits.
FOODS THAT DON’T FREEZE WELL:
The few foods that I don’t like to freeze and why are discussed briefly below. Please note that this is just my knowledge gained from 1 freezer book and personal experience over 50 years of freezing foods in a chest freezer. It is not gospel and you may have good experiences freezing some foods I prefer not to freeze. 🙂
Pumpkin, whether fresh or canned, bleeds water after thawing in all but pumpkin baked goods. This simply ruins a dish for me. As we low-carbers often substitute pumpkin into sweet potato recipes, bear this “water bleeding” issue in mind before freezing a recipe made with pumpkin.
Rice gets mushy on the surface and the grains break down a bit into the surrounding food/soup when frozen. Flavor of the dish is still OK, but texture is off-putting for me. Of course, low-carbers rarely eat rice, so this may not be important to you. Wild rice freezes a little bit better than white or brown rice.
White and red potatoes (cooked) will get mealy and break down in soups and make the stock “grainy”, which just ruins it visually in my opinion. The flavor will not be affected, however. Interestingly, cooked sweet potatoes freeze quite nicely!
Cream cheese tends to break down or separate when frozen. This can really spoil the smooth texture you expect cream cheese to bring to a dish like a cheesecake or sauce. Makes it look kind of like curdled milk. Fortunately, cream cheese keeps a very long time just in the refrigerator if unopened, so I just choose to not freeze it at all, even if I buy large amounts.
Cheesecakes made with cream cheese don’t freeze well for the reason just discussed. The baked ones fare better than the unbaked, but there is still a tendency to break down. I just try to make and consume my cheesecakes the week I make them to avoid freezing them, but that’s never a problem in my house. 🙂
Heavy cream and milk I prefer not to freeze, but some say they freeze OK.
Low-carb breads can be frozen for 1 month, but my experience is that they deteriorate in flavor and dry out a lot after just 2 weeks in the freezer. I, personally tend to not freeze breads of any kind.
Low-carb cakes, sweet breads, muffins and cookies freeze fine for about 1-4 months, as they have higher oil content than breads.
I highly recommend investing in a good freezer book that will give you recommended lengths of time for holding specific foods. I have used Farm Journal Freezing and Canning Cookbook for over 40 years. A real gem, that one, giving info for blanching and freezing specific veggies, fruits, meats and other foods as well. It also has canning tips, instructions and wonderful recipes. But it’s no longer in print. Copies can still be found out there on the web if you Google. I’m sure you’ll be able to find newer publications on freezing as well.