Freezing 101

Many people are unsure about what can and can’t be frozen so I wrote this "cheat sheet" for the Lovely Living - Love The Life You're Living website.  You can find my original post here.  

Why don't you look through your favourite recipes and, armed with abit of knowledge, you may discover that many of them are freezer-friendly.  So ..... here are the basics to get you started:

Can I freeze it????

There are three main steps if you want to freeze your favourite recipes:
  1. Know which ingredients to avoid
  2. Understand how to defrost properly
  3. Check to see if your recipe falls within the general food-types that freeze well

Ingredients that don’t freeze well

Firstly, here are some ingredients to avoid for freezer-friendly cooking:
  • Salad vegetables such as tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, green beans, asparagus, snow peas etc
  • Mayonnaise and cottage cheese 
  • Potatoes sometimes freeze well, although I tend to avoid them 
  • Boiled eggs
  • Strawberries

Defrosting is KEY!

To ensure your food tastes the same before and after freezing, it’s crucial that you defrost your food SLOWLY.  The ideal place to defrost food is in the fridge but, let’s face it, that often takes forever.  I sometimes kick-start the thawing by placing the food on the kitchen bench then move it to the fridge  while it is still partly frozen. 

Some foods can be defrosted in the microwave but don’t be tempted to defrost quickly on HIGH.  Use the defrost setting, or set the microwave to LOW-MEDIUM, and allow a longer period of time.  Your food will thank you for it.

There are other ways to defrost food, and some recipes can be cooked from frozen, but this is a cheat-sheet that covers the basics to get you started.  Have a look at the FROST BITE book for more tips on how to defrost.

Types of recipes that freeze well

The following types of food generally freeze well, so have a look to see ifyour favourite recipes fall into these categories and give them a try.
  • casseroles, stews and curries
  • soups (including creamy soup – just give it a good stir when you defrost)
  • pasta sauces
  • pasta bakes or lasagne (you can freeze them cooked or uncooked)
  • homemade pizzas
  • tarts and quiche
  • meatballs and meatloaf (you can freeze them cooked or uncooked)
  • bread or scones
  • sweet and savoury muffins
  • sweet and savoury pies
  • sweet and savoury pastries
  • pancakes and waffles
  • cakes, biscuits, slices and brownies
  • uncooked cookie dough
  • sandwiches for lunchboxes

Don’t forget that you might need to be creative when you freeze a recipe.  For example, a Thai green chicken curry will freeze well but it may contain some vegetables that don’t freeze well (green beans, snow peas etc).  Simply omit them when you make the curry, freeze it, then add the vegies when you reheat it.

This is a quick summary of freezer-friendly cooking to get you started.   Once you get the hang of it, the whole freezing thing will become second nature and you’ll know instinctively what can and can’t be frozen.   Believe me, I was like that a few years ago and then I wrote the FROST BITE cookbooks and I haven’t looked back.