Kate Williams, RDN
Have you ever thawed or cooked a frozen meal, only to be disappointed by the way it looks, tastes or its texture? Maybe you could have done things differently and had a better outcome. When used correctly, the freezer can save you time, money and prevent food waste. Follow these tips to keep frozen foods safe and maintain their taste, texture and nutritional value.
Freezing supplies matter
- Should be constructed to withstand low freezer temps, resistant to vapor, durable and leak proof
- Freeze products in amounts you plan to consume at a single eating occasion
TIP: Leave headspace in container because food may expand when freezing.1
- Bags & Wraps
- Freezer bags are made of thicker material, which keeps food fresh longer.2 The thicker material also makes these bags less likely to be punctured and less permeable to air.
- Ideal for dry foods, but can be used for liquids too
- Remove as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn
TIP: If freezing liquids, like soup, in freezer bags, lay them flat on a cookie sheet until frozen solid, then stack as a space-saver.2
- Include date and food type/name
- Always place newest foods in the back of the freezer so you use older foods first
TIP: Painter's tape is freezer friendly for labeling food containers.3
What are freezer-friendly foods?
Freeze meals to save time later. Here are a few recipes that freeze well with tips from our experts at Campbell’s Kitchen®. Some steps in the recipe process may be modified to account for changes when freezing. Doubling recipes and freezing half for another day is a great way to make the most of your efforts!
Freezing vegetables and fruits
Enzyme activity in some fresh fruit can also lead to browning and loss of vitamin C. Because of this, some fruits may be treated with compounds like ascorbic acid (vitamin C) or a mixture or ascorbic acid and sugar that interfere with this reaction.6 Check out this resource for fruit specific instructions. Once frozen fruit is thawed, it loses its crispness due to the high water content. Use thawed fruits in a recipe, smoothie, sauce or filling for best results.
Safety checkpoints to remember
- Cool foods before placing them in the freezer. This keeps the temperature of your freezer at the optimal 0°F or lower.
- Remember to label your freezer items to keep track of first in, first out, include food name and date. Keep an inventory log outside of your fridge and use it when planning your meals for the week.
- Keep a Refrigerator and Freezer storage chart on hand. Check your freezer contents – use the first day of winter, spring, summer or fall to rid your freezer of expired items.
- Keep a freezer thermometer in your freezer – keep it at 0°F or lower.
- The safest way to thaw food is in the refrigerator but also requires some planning as it is the slowest option. Learn how to use cold water thawing and microwave thawing at The Big Thaw — Safe Defrosting Methods
For more fridge and freezer friendly tips explore Storing Pre-Made Foods.
Kate’s BioKate received her bachelor's degree in dietetics from the University of Delaware and completed her dietetic internship at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She has over ten years of experience in a variety of nutrition-related practice areas including clinical nutrition, weight management counseling, health and wellness and nutrition education. Kate has worked as a nutrition consultant to the Campbell Soup Company since 2005.
- National Center for Home Food Preservation – General Food Preservation Information Accessed Oct 27th, 2017.
- Freezing Cooked Food for Future Meals: Freezer Bag Tips Accessed Nov 11, 2017
- Campbell’s Kitchen - Storing Pre-Made Foods Accessed Oct 31, 2017.
- National Center for Home Food Preservation – Foods That Do Not Freeze Well Accessed Oct 27th, 2017.
- Vegetable blanching directions and times for home freezer storage Accessed Oct 31, 2017.
- The Science of Freezing Foods Accessed Nov 6, 2017