As you know, I am a huge advocate of freezer cooking, and am interested in passing along my knowledge with all of you. I taught an entire series of classes at the local community center related to freezer cooking and the turn out was amazing. Many of the students are now friends of mine and we often meet to discuss successes and failures relating to our cooking.
One of the most common things I hear is that the meal they tried didn’t freeze well. During class I gave them a huge list of foods that don’t freeze well, yet some still continue to try and see if they might.
Some foods don’t freeze well, but are still salvageable after the reheating process because the food can be mixed up again and that ingredient might be mixed in again.
Here is a helpful list to get you going in your freezer cooking adventure.
Foods that don’t freeze well:
Cream: This is for just about any milk or cream related product. Milk and cream don’t freeze well at all, and it is safer and smarter to save that ingredient to mix in later if at all possible. Examples: Sour cream, cream fillings, frostings made with milk or cream.
Soft Cheese: Most soft cheeses do not freeze well. Cream cheese is one of such cheeses and it usually gets watery as it thaws or cooks. While sometimes it can be mixed back in and the taste not affected, it is recommended that you save that part for when the meal is thawed and you are ready to cook or bake. (other examples are blue cheese, goat cheese and any cheese that is softer and spreadable)
Greasy and/or Fried Foods: Have you ever tried to reheat French fries or chicken nuggets that have already been cooked? Fried foods tend to get soft and squishy when reheated and the grease is released during the process making the food taste less than desireable when reheated for a meal. Pizza is one such example of an item that gets even more greasy when reheated.
Mayonnaise: This is a bad idea in any item that needs to be frozen. The ingredients in the mayonnaise tend to separate during the freezer/thawing process and no matter how hard you try to mix it in, it doesn’t taste the same. It is recommended that you use a salad dressing instead, but you can also just add the mayonnaise when you are ready to actually cook the dish.
Cooked Vegetables: Cooked vegetables, as well as chopped up raw potatoes that have been put into a dish, tend to get very soft and mushy and sometimes even blend into the dish making it thicker and less appealing. The taste doesn’t change much, especially with a stew or soup, but it really doesn’t look very appetizing. One suggestion is to cook the vegetable in question (especially with potatoes) for only one quarter to half the length of time normally suggested. Then freeze immediately.
Watch tomorrow for a list of items that change somewhat during the freezing process, and offered up suggestions or solutions on how to fix the problem.