frozen food storage tips

Frozen food storage is essential to do right so that the items your freezer won't spoil as quickly - or get the dreaded freezer burn.

Don't leave meats in their supermarket wraps when you pop them in the freezer.

These wraps aren't designed to breathe, so the food inside will go south quicker in the freezer.

Be sure to properly package steak, fish, burgers, and chicken if you plan to marinate and freeze them.

These frozen food storage tips can help you keep food safe for your family.

Use Airtight Bags to Prevent Freezer Burn

Use zippered plastic bags or containers designed for freezers , or wrap food in foil or a plastic bag.

Always make the fitting as airtight as possible around the item you're freezing food by pushing out the air slowly, starting at the bottom of the bag and pushing your way up to the zipper.

Packing food right for freezer storage has the added benefit of helping prevent that icky freezer burn. But if you do get freezer burn, there is hope.

Sure, it looks gross, but if you cut away the dry ("burned") areas, the rest of the item is usually safe to eat.

Finally, get in the habit of writing the date on your bags before you freeze them, and always try to use the oldest item first.

How Long Frozen Food Lasts

Here are the general guidelines for how long food lasts in your freezer:

  • Breads: 2 months
  • Butter: 9 months
  • French fries: 6 months
  • Fruits: 4 months
  • Ground beef: 2 months
  • Guacamole: 3 months
  • Chicken: 6 months
  • Fish and shellfish: 6 months
  • Ice cream: 2 months
  • Pancakes and waffles: 2 months
  • Breakfast entrees: 3 months
  • Vegetables: 8 months.

How to Safely Thaw and Cook Frozen Foods

When you cook frozen food, you'll need to make a few additions or adjustments to ensure it tastes as good as it did going into your freezer.

  • Place stews and soups, still sealed in a plastic bag, in a bowl or sink filled with hot water for 5- to 10 minutes or until it can be broken into pieces. 
  • Open the bag or container and put into a sauce pan for stovetop heating, or in a microwave-safe bowl.
  • When reheating, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to the saucepan to prevent scorching.
  • Cover and heat to boiling over medium heat, stirring frequently. Bring to a boil for one minute to make sure it is fully heated.

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