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What would happen if you did eat them? Probably nothing. They might taste like cardboard, though.
Freezer burn turns tasty frozen foods into limp, bland fare. It happens when cold air works its way into a container that isn’t air tight. The cold air reacts with oxygen, and sucks the moisture right out of the food. Instead, the food is left covered in telltale ice crystals.
How can you curb the burn and keep your frozen foods fresh and delicious? Here are some tried-and-true hacks.
Smooth and Creamy That’s the way you want to keep your ice cream, right? Remember these tips:
Freeze These FavoritesMany foods freeze very well and can be enjoyed at a later time. Use these easy freezer hacks.
Fresh BerriesWash berries, pat dry and arrange on eight to a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the berries are frozen, then pack them in airtight containers. Take out what you need for recipes and return the rest to the freezer.
BreadBread freezes well for up to six months when wrapped in plastic, then foil. To crisp the crust, remove the bread from its wrapping, thaw and heat in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.
PiesWrap pies in plastic, then foil. If the pie has a sticky filling that’s hard to wrap, freeze it before you wrap it.
HerbsParsley, chives and basil freeze well. Wash the herb, shake, then pat dry with paper towels. Mince it and freeze in a plastic container. Fresh ginger root also keeps well in the freezer. Place it in a plastic bag and store in the freezer.
Coffee cubesWant to cool your coffee or add more flavor and strength? Pour coffee into an ice cube tray. Chill in the freezer for three to four hours, then remove the cubes and store in freezer bag.
Keep Them Fresh, Not Frozen Some foods just aren’t meant to be frozen and thawed. Here are a few to avoid:
Vegetables: Celery, cucumbers, lettuce, onions, peppers, potatoes (especially raw), radishes, sprouts and salad greens
Fruit: Apples, grapefruit, lemons, limes, oranges and watermelon
Dairy: Cheese (especially soft varieties), cottage cheese, cream cheese, custard, eggs in shells, mayonnaise, sour cream and salad dressings
Other: Crumb toppings on casseroles and baked dishes, frosting (egg white and cream based), fried foods, pasta, rice, sauces – especially those made with cornstarch or flour
Always Keep Your Cool Maintain a freezer temperature of 0 °F or below – cold enough to freeze ice cream rock solid. Food quality decreases at temperatures above 0 °F.
For extra convenience, label your frozen foods. Include the date, food type, weight or number of servings.
Do you have some tried-and-true freezer hacks? Share them with us in the comments.
Originally published 8/21/2015; Revised 2023
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