Freezing a larger batch is the easiest way to spin out our food and make it last, but not everything freezes nor defrosts well.
Most dairy products will struggle to defrost well. I find that cream will separate and can spoil any food that it is combined with prior to freezing. I have managed to freeze milk pretty well on its own, but it does have a slightly altered taste when I defrost it. It is similar to the UHT taste, but just not quite as strong.
Cream, mayonnaise and soft cheeses like mascapone might well separate when defrosted, but they could be whipped back together into an emulsion with a bit of effort. That really is a trial and error thing to see if you are prepared to do that on a frequent basis. I stick to freezing milk and regular cheese from the dairy family, but I have been known to freeze yoghurt for the kids.
High fat content cheese does freeze quite well. I have much success in freezing grated cheddar and mozarella. Some yoghurts do well, and make great ice lollies for kids. Butter freezes beautifully and I always have some blocks in the freezer as a standby for making cakes, pastry and more. I simply pop it into the microwave when I need it and it works really well.
Eggs can be frozen raw, but they need to be taken out of their shells. Cooked egg yolks will freeze fine, but cooked egg whites tend to come out very rubbery and really not very nice at all. They would probably be ok when cooked in with other foods.
Fruit & Veg
Lots of fruit and veg don’t freeze well, although the root vegetables seem to do much better. I’d love to freeze lettuce, grapes, strawberries, melon, oranges and more, but the textures they give when they are defrosted don’t sit well with me. The water content is too high and the taste is very much affected when they are defrosted. Similarly, radishes and cucumber are not good for freezing. I do often buy a bag of frozen strawberries from Costo, but I tend to use those for smoothies and sometimes a small batch of jam making in the winter, but as a rule, I wouldn’t freeze them to eat afterwards.
Cooked potatoes freeze well, but I have not had any success with freezing raw ones. Some websites will say potatoes are freezable, but not where I am concerned. I have not tried freezing uncooked turnip or butternut squash, but I’m told they freeze well. Pulses have a reputation for freezing well, but they don’t really matter to me as I use mine dried. Meals cooked with all these ingredients will freeze and thaw well with very little change to taste or texture when they are reheated.
Big manufacturers have the technology to freeze some fruits and vegetables that we couldn’t do at home. It can depend on where our fresh vegetables come from as to whether they really are of much nutritional benefit to us.
We have an allotment as well as our garden, and this year, we hope to have a lovely crop of fresh and home grown fruit and veg to eat over the warmer months. I’m not a gardening fan, so I am looking forward to not having to go and water the plants and feed the tomatoes in the outdoor greenhouse this year as the man has taken that over.
Almost all protein sources will freeze well whether cooked or uncooked. Meat, fish and poultry are all freezable. You do have to stick to good freezing guidelines and clear out your freezer now and again. I suspect there are more than a few of us with things in our freezers that are way past their freezer shelf life. Pulses and lentils we’ve already discussed, but buying dried is so easy, that I’d not really see the need to freeze them unless they are cooked in something else.
Bread & Baked Goods
I freeze bread, softies, rolls, croissants and more. I tend to do mine baked, but you can freeze the dough for using later. We can keep our bread in the freezer for a few months, but if I leave it too long, I find that it can be better used in the toaster than for sandwiches. I am told we can freeze cakes, but that is one thing I’ve not actually tried yet.
Soups, stews, casseroles and more are easily freezed as long as you keep out the cream, mayonnaise or soft cheese.
Tomato sauces freeze really well. Soups and sauces that have been thickened with cornflour or plain flour have always come out really well for me, but I have seen reports where they have not been advised for freezing. I tend to thicken soups with a few potatoes, so those are always easy for me to do. I think some things are trial and error. I have a fast freeze button, and thickened stews and sauces do just fine when they are cooked in with protein and vegetables.
Pasta / Rice / Cous Cous
There is the argument that says not to bother freezing these starchy foods as they cook so quickly anyway. I wouldn’t tend to freeze any of them on their own. I do often freeze them where they are mixed in as part of a whole meal.
We all need to be careful of rice dishes as rice does tend to have problems if bacteria is allowed to grow. Make sure that if you intend to freeze any rice dishes, that they are cooled quickly and possibly separated into shallow containers. Get these dishes into the freezer in the shortest time frame possible after cooking.
Reheating Foods from the Freezer
Food might taste much stronger as the herbs and flavours become stronger. It might be a good idea to leave strong seasoning out until you are ready to reheat. I don’t usually do this and there are times where I add a little milk or water to the reheating process to give food a slightly more diluted taste.
Some sauces, soups, stews and pasta dishes my seem very thick when you defrost it. Simply add some water or milk to the reheating process to think down the mix. It’s all a matter of personal preference.
It’s important to ensure that food from the freezer is thoroughly reheated.