Easy storage solutions for fresh produce, chicken, ground beef, bread and much more.
No matter what you’re freezing, it’s important to always eliminate air, which will dry out frozen food and cause freezer burn (use several layers of plastic wrap, zippered plastic bags or a vacuum sealer to prolong shelf life).
How to freeze breads and muffins: Moist foods such as breads and muffins can become soggy when thawed. To avoid ruining baked goods, cool them completely before freezing, then double-wrap in plastic bags. When defrosting, put a paper towel inside the bag to wick away moisture.
How to freeze brown sugar: If you have a lot of brown sugar and know you won’t be using it for awhile, put it in a freezer bag, squeeze out as much excess air as possible and seal the bag. It will thaw in about 2 ½ hours if left sealed at room temperature.
How to freeze citrus peels: Make a habit of zesting citrus before you juice. To save zest, cover with water in an ice cube tray and freeze. To use, add to beverages or defrost and drain.
How to freeze chicken: You can freeze chicken in its original packaging as long it’s sealed (if not, transfer to a Ziplock bag or heavy-duty foil). If it’s wrapped well and kept frozen, chicken will stay at its best quality for up to 1 year. (Air is the enemy when it comes to storing chicken, because the bacteria that cause spoilage thrive on oxygen—so it’s important to wrap it!).
How to freeze chipotle peppers: Place single peppers in small bags with sauce, then freeze. No need to defrost; just chop and toss into whatever you're cooking next.
How to freeze cooked pasta: Let it cool, toss with a bit of olive oil (a few teaspoons should do the job) and store it in a Ziplock freezer bag. To reheat it later, place the sealed bag in a colander and run warm water over it, or empty the bag into a pot of boiling water. One serving (2 to 4 ounces) of pasta will thaw in about two minutes; bigger amounts take longer.
How to freeze fresh fruits and vegetables: Flash-freeze fresh produce by dicing it up, placing the small pieces on a cookie sheet lined with waxed paper, and place the sheet in the freezer for one to two hours. Once it’s frozen, transfer to freezer bags (be sure to get all the air out) and return to the freezer. You can also freeze overripe fruit, such as brown bananas, for smoothies or banana bread: Simply cut up and freeze in Ziplock bags. (And read on for how to freeze delicate fruits such as peaches and tomatoes.)
How to freeze fresh herbs: Wash, dry, trim and chop herbs, then place in a heavy-duty Ziplock bag, squeezing out air. You can then add herbs, still frozen, to simmering food. Or, you can try this trick from blogger Faithful Provisions: “Put 4 packed cups of an herb—washed and with stems removed—in a food processor, add half cup of water and pulse until finely chopped. Put the chopped herbs in ice-cube trays and add enough water to cover the tops. After they’re frozen, store them in a freezer bag. Pull one out when you want to use ‘fresh’ herbs in soups or sauce.”
How to freeze ginger: If you have leftover fresh ginger, store it in the freezer in a plastic bag. Next time you need some, just trim off as much as the recipe calls for.