Q&A Lists of Foods that Freeze Well, Poorly and Badly
Some foods freeze 'Well', others are moderately affected by freezing and thawing and so they rate as 'Poor'.
Some foods should be 'Avoided', as they just don’t cut it and end up a mushy, soggy mess when thawed.
Many dairy foods separate when they are frozen and thawed., making then unusable.
That said, freezing has many advantages for food that are suitable:
It saves money. You can buy in bulk when food are in season and then freeze for out of season use.
It is very convenient. Having a well-stocked freezer means fewer unnecessary trips to the shops.
It saves time. You can cook things ahead of time, perhaps in bulk, freeze them and thaw for a quick meal or snack later.
It is fresh and delicious, compared with dried and tinned foods.
This article provides guidelines to help you discover which foods are
POOR for freezing with some loss of quality when thawed. There are some preparation tips which helps reduce the loss of flavor
AVOID Freezing - You should avoid freezing these foods which become degraded and unappealing when frozen and thawed. Most of these foods have high water contents and the ice crystals that form shatter the texture and form of the fresh food, tuning it into sloppy mush.
Tips for Knowing When a Food is Suitable for Freezing
Freezing seldom improves the taste, color or texture of the food. If the food doesn't taste good fresh, or it is stale and of poor quality it won’t get any better after freezing and thawing. The possible exception is curries and stews when the freezing softens the meat and tends to blend the tastes together. Mostly the food will have less taste or a slightly different taste. Freezing changes the texture of most food and also dull the color and sparkle of fresh food. However, sometimes the frozen ingredient will be added to a dish where the changes don't matter as much. For example, frozen garlic will usually get chopped or crushed before it is added to the dish.
Freezing any raw food with a high moisture content such as think cucumbers, lettuce, watermelon, tomatoes, oranges and pears is only worthwhile if you DON'T intend to eat these foods RAW when thawed. The moisture in the food forms ice crystals that smash the structure of these foods into mush. So, only consider freezing these foods when they are going to chopped or processed in a way that the loss of texture and form does not matter.
Anything creamy, particularly dairy products such as custards, soft cheese, yogurt, butter, sour cream freeze very poorly. When frozen and thawed they separate into curds and whey and they become lumpy and insipid. Freezing these foods is never a good idea.
Whole eggs and anything with an external shell of container will chatter when frozen as the liquid expands in volume as it freezes. This applies to bottles and any sealed containers filled with liquids or solids with a high water content.
There are many preparations which make freezing of difficult items work. Don't forget to blanch your vegetables. Many types of food freeze poorly when whole, but work quite well when cut into smaller pieces. This applies to many fruits such as peaches and pears. Chopped vegetables also generally freeze well. Fruits purees and juices freeze very well. Many herbs freeze poorly when whole, but work well when frozen in ice cubes. Expect some loss of texture, but this is less important is a prepared dish with many other ingredients. Learn more of these tricks in the article below.
Remember, these principles apply to individual foods frozen by themselves as whole items. The issue changes entirely when these foods are mixed with other ingredients in a dish. Similarly most chopped, pureed and juiced foods and ingredients will freeze well.
For normal defrosting, the USDA recommends three ways it considers safe:
In the refrigerator, for a slow thaw,
Immerse in cold water for a quicker thaw, but ensure that the water remains cold, and do not use warm water
In the microwave for a fast thaw.
The best option is overnight slow defrosting in the refrigerator. For a quicker thaw the item can be securely wrapped and immersed in cold water on a bench top. But, make sure the water stays cold during the process. Change it every 30 minutes. If the water gets warm the food will get warm and will start to deteriorate. If using the microwave to defrost, you should aim to cook the thawed food immediately as some of the the food will be warm when you finish. The disadvantage of microwave thawing is that the food may be partially cooked by the microwaving. The thawing may be uneven with some inner parts still frozen. This may make it hard to cook the food evenly.
Herbs => Unsuitable (but see note below) if frozen alone in sprigs as they will wilt and become mushy: basil, parsley, chives, and most other soft herbs.
Other => Whole eggs in shells, crumb toppings on baked dishes and casserole, frostings, meringue, egg white and cream based sauces and topping, fried foods, pasta, rice, sauces (especially those made with flour or cornstarch).
Tips for Freezing Vegetables and Herbs
Dice onions, garlic, chilies, or bell peppers, and then add then to freezer bags. Squeeze out the air and flatten to a thin layer. You can the break off a segment as your need them.
You can freeze whole ears of corn if you blanch them first. You can also cut the corn kernels off the cob. They will freeze well.
Roasted tomatoes freeze better than raw tomatoes
Freeze fresh herbs twigs and leaves in ice cube trays with a little water. The frozen herb cubes can be added to soups, stews, or casseroles without thawing.
Chopped and pureed leafy greens can be frozen for use as an ingredient, not as a main display food.
Citrus peel and zest freezes very well.
Foods that Freeze Well, Poorly and Foods to Avoid Freezing
Below is a tool to help you get information on the freezing suitability for most foods. The color key used is:
POOR for freezing,
AVOID Freezing, generally unsuitable
Scroll through the list or enter a food name in the search tool and the information for that food will be displayed.
Search Tool - Enter Items to check for Freezing Suitability