8 tips to make the most of your freezer

8 tips to make the most of your freezer

Your freezer has some serious superpowers. Just hear us out...

It can stop your favourite foods from aging. Preserve their freshness for longer periods of time. And even help you reduce your overall food waste. 

This means you can enjoy grandma’s Christmas tourtière in April and Lac Saint Jean’s famous blueberries in October.

Talk about powerful!

What’s more, freezing food is fast, easy, cost-efficient and super convenient—especially when you don’t always have the time to run to the supermarket. 

Ready to use this icy storage unit to the fullest? 

Here are 8 tips that will help you make the most of your freezer.

1. It’s okay to overcrowd your freezer

In fact, we highly encourage it! Unlike your fridge—which can become a breeding ground for bacteria and cross-contamination if overcrowdedyour freezer works best when it’s full because it helps you save energy more efficiently. More food means less room for warmer air to sneak in. So stock up!

2. Avoid freezing in cardboard cartons

Stuck with half-filled cardboard cartons of food from Friday night’s takeout dinner? Before sticking them in your freezer, make sure to first transfer the food in freezer-friendly, airtight containers made of pyrex or, if you must, BPA-free plastic

Cardboard containers aren’t designed for the freezer because the material doesn’t protect the flavour, colour, moisture content and nutritive value of foods from the icy temperatures inside the freezer. When in doubt, reach for hermetically sealed containers.

3. Know how to recognize freezer burn

Sometimes improper storage and temperature fluctuations happening inside your freezer can result in a common phenomenon called freezer burn—dried grey-brown patches that form on the surfaces of frozen food. But don’t worry! While it may appear unappetizing, it’s not a food safety risk and can easily be sliced off the food before use.

4. Defrost food overnight

Just because they’re frozen from fresh doesn’t mean they’re ready to be used or consumed as soon as they come out of the freezer. The best and safest way to defrost food (especially raw meat) is to do it overnight in the fridge. Once thawed, use within 24 hours and cook it until it is sizzling hot. 

If you need leftovers that were previously cooked for a quick, last-minute meal, the food can be defrosted safely in the microwave.

For health and safety concerns, avoid defrosting raw meat or fish in the microwave. The food will warm up and begin to partially cook, but may not have destroyed any bacteria already present on the meat and may have reached perfect temperatures for new bacteria to grow.

5. Use labels to avoid mystery foods

Is that a tub of mayo or crème bechamel? Avoid the nasty surprise of thawing the wrong ingredient for your recipe by properly labeling everything that goes into your freezer with a name and date.

6. Freeze, thaw, then re-freeze

Fun fact: The foods that you bought frozen from your supermarket or that you froze raw at home can be thawed, cooked and then refrozen into leftovers. How cool is that? 

7. Store meat in individual portions

When you buy value packs of meat or poultry, it’s a good idea to wrap them in individual portions before storing them in your freezer. Not only do you optimize space in your freezer, but it also allows you to avoid thawing the entire packaging for just one portion. 

Want to shave off a few dollars from your monthly grocery bill? We’ll let you in a little secret: you can snag family-size portions of your favourite cuts for 50% less using the FoodHero app (but you didn’t hear it from us).

8. Understand what you can and can’t freeze

We’ll cut straight to chase: you can freeze just about anything. Fish, jams, sauces, milk, fruits, herbs, pasta, leftover chicken and, of course, mom’s pudding chomeur. You can even freeze cheese!

Whether you bought too much bread or want to preserve that fresh bounty of summer berries to make jam in the fall, the freezer is about to become your go-to storage unit. Not only is it the best method to prolong food’s shelf life, it’s also an excellent way to seriously up your food waste strategy. 

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