The value of frozen products is undeservedly underestimated by many. A full freezer can save you from an extra trip to the store and save you time and money. In addition, freezing will allow you to prepare food in advance, make homemade semi-finished products and blanks without fear. That they will spoil and go to the trash, and, also, take advantage of discounts in the supermarket and
The value of frozen products is undeservedly underestimated by many. A full freezer can save you from an extra trip to the store and save you time and money. In addition, freezing will allow you to prepare food in advance, make homemade semi-finished products and blanks without fear. That they will spoil and go to the trash, and, also, take advantage of discounts in the supermarket and stock up on some products in advance. In addition, freezing is a great way to stock up on seasonal products, which are in abundance in the summer - fruits, berries, and perishable vegetables, and save yourself from the need to buy them in the winter at a supermarket at high prices and of unknown quality. Many vegetables that we are used to canning can be frozen with the same success.Shelf life of frozen products
In this case, the question becomes relevant: how long can products be stored in the freezer? According to WHO recommendations, at -20ºС food can be stored in the freezer for as long as you like. True, this is a term for the safety of its consumption, and not that the taste and texture of the product will remain unchanged.
What is the optimal shelf life of frozen products without significant loss of their organoleptic properties?
Vegetables (the vast majority) — 12-18 months.
Raw mushrooms - 10-12 months.
Mushrooms are cooked - 10-12 months.
Herbs — 4-6 months.
Fruits with stones - 10-12 months.
Stoneless fruits - 2-3 months.
Berries - 10-12 months.
Raw beef - 6-12 months.
Cooked beef - 2-3 months.
Raw lamb - 6-12 months.
Cooked lamb - 2-3 months.
Raw pork - 6-12 months.
Cooked pork - 2-3 months.
Sausages - 1-2 months.
Bacon slices - 1-2 months.
A whole piece of bacon — 6-9 months
Poultry and game
Raw chicken and poultry - 9 months.
Cooked chicken and poultry - 4 months.
Raw duck and game - 6 months.
Cooked duck and game - 2-3 months.
Raw fish - 3-8 months.
Raw seafood — 3-8 months.
Cooked fish - 2-3 months.
Prepared seafood - 3 months.
Milk - 3 months.
Butter - 6-9 months.
Cream - 4 months.
Whipped cream (homemade) - 1-2 months.
Cream cheese - 2 months.
Hard cheese - 6-8 months.
Eggs - 12 months.
Dough for bread/biscuit — 2-3 months.
Bread/biscuit is ready - 3 months.
Buns are ready - 3 months.
Pancakes/pancakes are ready - 2 months.
How to freeze food
Try to freeze foods as quickly as possible - as soon as you prepare, buy or collect them. The fresher the frozen products are , the longer they will be stored without losing their properties.
Remember that not all food products are suitable for freezing . It is not recommended to freeze , for example, eggs in the shell or canned goods. Also, it is technically possible to freeze sauces, mayonnaise, various creams or, for example, lettuce, but after you thaw them, the products will lose their taste and appearance.
Before freezing , fresh berries and fruits should be washed, dried, large ones should be chopped into pieces. After that, put it on a baking sheet or another flat vessel and freeze it . Further, such individually frozen products can be poured into a bag or container and put back into the freezer for storage.
To better preserve the presentable appearance and taste of frozen fruits or berries, they can be dipped in sugar syrup before the first freezing .
Before freezing fresh vegetables, they should be blanched in boiling water for several minutes. This will also help preserve their taste, texture and color.
Let's consider the features of freezing meat, fish, vegetables and fruits.Meat
Fresh meat is well suited for storage in the freezer. However, be careful - freeze only good meat, the fresher it is, the better - because cold temperature will not improve its quality or taste.
Processed and smoked meat can be frozen for a period of no more than a month, unless it was specially prepared for storage in the freezer.
Meat can be frozen as a large piece, or in the form of chops or steaks, or minced meat or cutlets. First, prepare the meat - wash it thoroughly under running water and dry it. Remove excess fat and bones. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap, leaving as little air as possible, send to the freezer. When freezing meat in the form of chops or steaks, make sure that the pieces are frozen separately and not stuck together. To do this, spread them on a flat surface and freeze them in an open form, and then already pack them in polyethylene. Or cover the pieces with parchment paper and only then send them to freeze in the package.
As in the case of meat, fish for freezing must be fresh and of high quality. Moreover, it should be frozen within a day after the catch.
Small fish such as mackerel, trout, herring, mullet, etc. can be frozen whole. To do this, clean the fish from the entrails, remove the gills and fins. You can leave the head and tail. Rinse well under running cold water, dry. Wrap tightly in a plastic bag - so as to release as much air as possible. Pack and send to freeze.
Large fish, such as haddock or halibut, should be cut into fillets or steaks and placed in portions in bags. This way, the fish will freeze faster and retain more benefits. Remove the head, tail and fins, remove the entrails, rinse thoroughly under cold running water and pat dry. Cut the fillet from the bone, or cut into pieces for steaks. Wrap tightly in polyethylene, package and send to the freezer.
If you want to freeze large fish whole — such as salmon or trout — you need to freeze the fish wrapped in a thick layer of plastic wrap or foil, or in an ice shell. Clean the fish in the same way as in previous cases. Rinse thoroughly under cold water, dry. Wrap in cling film or foil and freeze. If you want to freezefish in an ice shell, do as follows. Place the cleaned, washed and dried fish in the freezer without packaging, leave until it hardens. After that, take out the fish and immerse it in cold, fresh water. When a thin layer of ice forms on its surface, remove the fish and return it to the freezer. Repeat the procedure about 3 times with half-hour intervals. After - wrap in a thick layer of polyethylene and put in the freezer for storage.
Most vegetables can be frozen raw, resulting in satisfactory quality. Exceptions are tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, white cabbage, etc. And, also, potatoes. Such vegetables are recommended to be prepared before freezing . This is not necessary if you are going to use the stock in the near future and are not worried about them losing their texture. However, for longer storage and to reduce damage to the integrity of the structure, vegetables should be blanched before freezing .
Time to blanch vegetables
Artichokes - 7 minutes.
Beans - 2 min.
Beans - 1-2 minutes.
Green beans - 2 min.
Broccoli - 3 min.
Brussels sprouts - 3-4 minutes.
White cabbage - 1.5 minutes.
Red cabbage - 1.5 min.
Cauliflower - 2 minutes.
Kohlrabi - 3 min.
Carrots — 3 minutes whole, 2 minutes in cubes.
Zucchini - 1 min.
Onions — 3 minutes whole, 2 minutes chopped.
Leeks - 2-4 minutes.
Shallots - 2 min.
Parsnips - 2 min.
Peas - 1 min.
Beet - 2 min.
Sweet corn — 4 min small, 6 min medium, 8 min large.
Turnip — 4 minutes whole, 2 minutes chopped.
Pepper - chopped for 2 minutes, halved for 3 minutes.
Fruits and berries picked 2 hours before are best for freezing . However, this cannot always be ensured - the main thing is that the fruits are neither immature nor overripe. And, of course, the fruits must have a good quality, a complete structure. Before freezing , fruits and berries should be thoroughly washed with running water and dried, remove bones, stalks, seeds, etc. Although, some berries (for example, cherries) can be frozen with a stone.
If you want to preserve the integrity of the berries as much as possible, freeze them loosely. To do this, spread the prepared berries in one layer on a flat surface (a large flat tray) and put them in the freezer until the berries harden. Then you can take them out, pour everything into one container or bag and send it back to the freezer for storage. In this way, it is best to freeze berries that are most likely to release juice - this will prevent them from sticking together and turning into porridge.
Also, you can freeze fruits and berries in the form of puree. You can make puree from one type of fruit/berry or from a mixture, with or without added sugar - it is not recommended to add more than 500 g of sugar per 1 kg of puree. Divide the mashed potatoes into portions and put them in containers, after which you can safely send them to the freezer, and the product's loss of structure is definitely no longer scary.
Another way to freeze fruits and berries is in ice cubes. For this, small berries are suitable, which can be placed in ice molds and filled with water, or you can fill the molds with fruit/berry puree. Such ice will be a great addition to any drink.
Ideal form for freezing
Not only the temperature, but also the size of the portion of the product being frozen has a significant influence on the freezing of products. It is best to freeze products in single-use portions. A smaller and thinner portion will freeze completely in less time.
It is best to freeze products in the form of briquettes with a thickness of no more than 4 cm. Reducing the thickness of the briquette to 2 cm will reduce the freezing time by 2-2.5 times.
Briquette freezing time (2 or 4 cm, respectively)
Meat and fish — 2-3 or 4-6 hours, depending on fat content and other indicators.
Fruits and berries — 3.5-4 or 8-10 hours.
Vegetables and mushrooms — 4-4.5 or 11-12 hours.
In the freezer, briquettes should be placed in a vertical position, leaving small gaps for air circulation - so they will freeze completely faster. If you put the briquettes on top of each other, they will freeze as one big piece.
It is not recommended to freeze products
Lettuce, celery, cabbage, parsnips, cucumbers, radishes, radishes, chicory - after defrosting, they will become watery, limp, lose their taste, aroma and color. However, pickled or salted cabbage and cucumbers will freeze without significant loss of quality. Some vegetables, the structure of which is significantly lost during freezing , can be frozen in the form of puree. Potatoes will become watery, limp and sweet. Potatoes can be frozen cooked, not raw. Cooked rice, spaghetti and pasta will lose their taste and texture. Hard-boiled eggs - the protein will become rubbery, white and tasteless. You can freezeraw eggs - for this you need to break them, slightly mix the yolk with the white, pour into a special container and send it to the freezer. Protein cream and meringue - will become rubbery and soft. Sour cream, cream, creams made from them, mayonnaise - after defrosting they will separate , lumps will appear, they will become watery. Milk sauces - may curdle. Fried products - will lose their crispy crust and begin to taste bitter.Packaging for freezing products
Freezing products in the right packaging allows you to preserve their taste, freshness, moisture, color, food and nutritional value for a long time. You should choose the packaging depending on the type and quality of the product, and, of course, personal preferences. Meat and other raw purchased products can be frozen in their original packaging, but if you plan to store them for a long time, add an additional polyethylene wrap.
Do not store frozen foods (such as ice cream, milk, pancakes, patties, etc.) in cardboard boxes for a long period of time. Transfer them to a container or bag. As a last resort, you can wrap the cardboard box with an additional layer of film or put it in a plastic bag.
Also, do not freeze a small amount of food in a large container. This will increase the freezing time and reduce the quality of the product.
Packaging requirements for freezing products
Freezer packaging must be impermeable to moisture, air, grease and oil.
To be reliable and strong.
Tight and easy to close.
The packaging should not tear or crack when exposed to low temperatures.
Add extraneous odors to products.
The most suitable packaging for freezing
Film or flexible polyethylene bags.
Hard containers, which are made of plastic or glass, are suitable for freezing any products, it is especially convenient to freeze liquid or easily crumbly products in them. Another advantage of solid containers is that, unlike bags, they can be used several times. However, be careful if you use glass containers - they must be specially designed for freezing and have the appropriate marking, because just glass can flake under the influence of low temperatures. Make sure that the lid of a hard glass container is tightly closed and airtight. And even better — additionally secure the lid, for example, with cling film.
Also, food film, plastic bags and even foil are suitable for freezing products. In such packaging, it is good to store irregularly shaped products that are difficult to place in the container. Try to remove as much air as possible from the bag or film before sealing and further freezing the product.
Do not forget to mark the containers and packages with products with special labels on which to indicate the name of the product and the period of freezing .
Read more about all types of packaging for food storage in the article - *
Defrosting of products
It is recommended to freeze products in portions to eliminate the need to re- freeze them . However, if it happened that the product thawed for one reason or another, then you should know the following tips. If the product was thawed in the refrigerator, you can refreeze it, but the quality will be somewhat lost. It is better to prepare the product and freeze the already prepared dish. Do not refreeze foods that have been outside the refrigerator for more than 2 hours.
Now let's consider how to properly defrost the products you need. Of course, the easiest way seems to be to simply take the product out of the freezer and defrost it at room temperature. However, it is best to defrost:
In the bottom drawer of the refrigerator.
In cold water.
In the microwave.
To defrost the product quickly, place it in an airtight bag and immerse it in cold water, which you change several times to maintain a stable temperature.
If you choose a microwave oven for defrosting, do it immediately before cooking the product. Products frozen in portions or in small pieces may not be defrosted before cooking. This is even better, because you will better preserve the structure, taste and vitamins. But keep in mind that at the same time, the cooking time will increase by about 1.5 times.