To prevent drying, package all foods to be frozen in moisture-proof wrapping or containers and seal them tightly. Freeze them at 0°F or below.
Heavy-duty aluminum foil is an excellent wrap because it can be pressed to fit the shape of an item; put an extra layer around any sharp protrusions. Heavy plastic wrap, plastic bags, and freezer paper (laminated paper and plastic) plus freezer tape are also suitable. Freezer bags, which require a special sealer, permit you to boil foods right in the bag. With all wraps, eliminate as much air as possible.
Use tempered glass jars, plastic containers, and coffee and nut cans for freezing soft or liquid foods. Leave 1/2 to 1 inch of expansion space at the top for liquids. Foil baking dishes are ideal for foods to be reheated.
Label packages with masking tape and a freezer pen; show the contents, quantity, and date of freezing. Also include such information as “needs seasonings” or “dilute before using.” What not to freeze Foods with a high moisture content, such as lettuce, raw tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, celery, and boiled potatoes do not freeze well. Neither do cottage and cream cheeses and sour cream. Mayonnaise, light cream, and milk usually separate or curdle. Other items that freeze poorly are custard pies, meringue, cream fillings, and cake frostings made with brown sugar or egg whites. Foods made with gelatin may separate. Fried foods tend to turn rancid and become soggy.
Yeast breads can be kept frozen for up to 6 months. Cool freshly baked bread
completely before wrapping it. Yeast dough can be frozen and stored for up to 5 weeks wrapped in greased plastic bags, each bag containing enough for one baking.
Cakes are best frozen without frosting; if you do frost one, use confectioner’s sugar and butter. To freeze a cake, first chill it in the freezer, then wrap it, protecting the icing with an inner layer of waxed paper. Freezing cake batters is not recommended.
Precooked pastries and unbaked pie crust freeze well. To prepare an unbaked pie for freezing, brush the inside of the bottom and top crusts with shortening, and don’t prick the top until you are ready to bake it.
Eggs and cooked dishes
Crack open eggs; either separate whites and yolks or stir whole eggs. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt or 3/4 teaspoon sugar to each 1/2 cup of egg yolks to keep them from becoming gummy. It’s convenient to freeze the number of eggs you’ll need for a specific purpose.
Stews, casseroles, meat pies, and spaghetti sauces freeze well. It’s best to add salt and spices upon reheating, as some spices change when frozen. Fish, meat, and poultry Freeze fish only if it’s absolutely fresh. Scale and clean it thoroughly. Fish that weigh 2 pounds or less are best frozen whole and will keep better if frozen in water. Cut larger fish into steaks or fillets. Place wax paper between fillets and steaks before wrapping.
Remove extra fat from meat and bones, if practical. Because meat is subject to freezer burn (dry spots), rewrap packaged meats or add another layer to the store wrapping. Separate chops and patties with wax paper. Freeze meat quickly; slow freezing reduces its quality. Place the portions in a single layer on the bottom and along the sides of the freezer.
Remove poultry innards and freeze them separately. Wash and dry the entire bird; trim any excess fat. Don’t stuff raw poultry before freezing it. Vegetables and fruits Most vegetables must be blanched before freezing to destroy enzymes that cause loss of color and flavor. Leave them in the boiling water for 2 to 4 minutes, depending on thickness (whole carrots take 5 minutes; corn on the cob 6 to 8 minutes). Rinse and pack the vegetables immediately afterwards.
Fruit usually retains its flavor with freezing, but the texture is softer. A few fruits-cranberries, blueberries, raspberries, grapes, and figs-can be packed dry (unsweetened) if they are to be cooked later. Freeze them in a single layer on cookie sheets, then package them.
If a fruit will be cooked after thawing, add syrup; if it will be served uncooked, add sugar. To fruits that tend to darken, also add ascorbic acid dissolved in water- 1/4 teaspoon per quart of fruit for sugar pack; ‘/z teaspoon per quart for syrup.
For a sugar pack, pit and halve or slice the fruit, then sprinkle it with ascorbic acid and 2/1 to 3/4 cup sugar per quart of fruit. Stir until juicy. Insert crumpled wax paper under the container lid to hold the fruit under the juice.
For a syrup pack, allow 1 cup syrup per quart of fruit. Dissolve 2 cups sugar in 1 quart hot water. Cool, then pour it over the fruit and pack in containers.