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Q. What Foods Can Be Frozen?

 

A.  Just about everything.

Some exceptions would be canned foods (except after opening,) eggs, and dairy products are a few. Anything with a high water content is not a good candidate for freezing as the water will freeze and then make the food mushy as it defrosts.

You can freeze anything, but the big question is, will you be satisfied with the result? For instance, you can freeze a banana. But it will turn black in the freezer. It will taste OK. But it would look ugly. On the bright side, a black banana might be  great on Halloween.

Most fresh fruits do not freeze well. Lettuce does not freeze well. Mayonnaise, mayonnaise based dishes, and cream sauces do not do well in the freezer either.

Cooked rice and pasta usually does not freeze well either. It is generally not the freezing part that ruins the food. It is the thawing. Even commercially packaged frozen fruits I buy are often times mushy when I open them. That is why I tend to use them in sauces, smoothies, and in cereal

Raw potatoes do not freeze. In fact, if you freeze stew that has potatoes in it the potatoes will come out mushy.

Many raw vegetables do not freeze well either unless you blanch them first. That is way too much work for me. However, I keep chopped onions, shallots, even parsley in my freezer. But after a couple of months they get too many ice crystals on them. But I use chopped onions a lot so I don’t often have to throw many away.

One year I had a small container vegetable garden. Just lettuce, carrots, radishes, and tomatoes. I tried broccoli and cucumbers too. But the caterpillars ate them all up. Best salads I ever had in my life. You just cannot appreciate a tomato that is fresh off the vine till you have had one. Now that I am retired I want to do more vegetable gardening.

I only had two tomato plants. By seasons end I had more tomatoes than I could eat even if I had eaten them three times a day for three weeks running!!  I took some to work, but everyone already had the same problem I had. Too many tomatoes. It had been a great season and everyone was trying to give away tomatoes.

I was told you could not freeze tomatoes. But I did. This is how I did it. I cut an “X” across the top and put 1 or 2 in a plastic container. You know the kind. The ones you can get at the grocery store. Nothing fancy. Just store bought plastic containers. In those days I didn’t even know about blanching.

Whenever I made chili or noodle soup or a stew that winter I added a couple of fresh tomatoes. I did not keep them frozen that long, only a couple of months, and I did not use them in salads. I used them in recipes where they would cook and fall apart anyway. So it worked for me.

You really just have to experiment a little bit. For some things maybe freezing for just a short time might work.

The best guide I can leave you with is the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) web site guide for freezing. They even have a Freezing and Food Safety Chart you may want to check out. 

Even more useful is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart which is a bit more product specific. I could not link it since it is in Adobe PDF format. There is a text version of it too. But it would not link directly here either.

However, if you click here, this link will take you to the FDA Index. Then if you click on the third item down – “PDF Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart,” and if you have Adobe installed on your computer you can access it. If you do not have Adobe on your computer just go the very end of that third item and click ‘Text Version.’

Happy Freezing.

In this current heat wave it just feels good to open the freezer door, doesn’t it?

Featured Recipe:  Cooked Beef Sauté with Onions and Potatoes

This recipe comes from Henry Lewis Creel’s Cooking For One Is Fun. It is easy and delicious. His recipe is for one. SoI adapted it so it would feed two people. And this recipe is easily adapted for 4 to 6 or more.

Mr. Creel’s recipe uses thinly sliced beef. I find that thin overcooks to fast so I use medium sliced beef slices. His recipe also calls for less butter (2 teaspoons.) I find that is not enough to sauté the onion and potatoes. His recipe also says to sauté the onion and potato together at the same time. I cook my onion first to get the onion nicely colored and caramelized, and then add the potatoes. Mr. Creel’s recipe does not specify what kind of wine vinegar.  I use red.

The mix and layer of flavors in this simple recipe is just incredibly delicious! 

Here is what you will need for 2 people:

1 medium potato peeled

Salt and pepper

1-2 tablespoons butter

2 onions coarsely chopped

½ pound cooked beef*

1 small garlic clove minced

¼ teaspoon red wine vinegar

Chopped parsley.

*From leftover roast, or I often just purchase 1-2 medium slices from a deli.

Here is what you do:

Place the peeled potato in cold water to cover. Add the salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes, then drain. (I find that if I turn the potato over about half way through the cooking, it does not stick to the bottom of the pan.)

While the potato is simmering roughly chop the onions.

When the potato is done let it cool slightly and then cut  into ¼ inch slices.

Melt the butter in a pan and add the onion. Sauté until browned and caramelized. 

Add the potatoes and cook about 5 minutes more until warmed through, turning once during the cooking.

Add the beef slices and cook until warm through no more than 5-6 minutes for medium rare beef.

Sprinkle with the minced garlic, the vinegar, and if you wish you can add more salt and pepper. Plate and sprinkle with the parsley.

Serve with a salad and a vegetable such as peas or carrots.

Cost

1 medium potato peeled                    $0.50

1-2 tablespoons butter                      $0.30

2 onions coarsely chopped                $0.70

½ pound cooked beef*                    $3.30

1 small garlic clove minced               $0.10

¼ teaspoon red wine vinegar           $0.05

Chopped parsley.                            $0.05

Salt & Pepper

Total Cost = $4.28
Cost per person (2) = $2.14

 Bon Appetite!!!!

Quote of the Day:   The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.    Theodore Roosevelt

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5 comments to Q. What Foods Can Be Frozen?

  • The "other" Roberta

    My sister taught me that you can freeze fresh mushrooms! I simply put them (unwashed) in a freezer bag and then used them in with a roast. They were perfect.

    • Roberta

      That’s good info to have. I would have thought they would get mushy. But I guess like the tomatoes I was told couldn’t be frozen, you just never know.

      Thanks for sharing.

  • sytropin

    Good overall site enjoyed reading will def bookmark.

  • Carol Sternberg

    Remember frozen chocolate covered bananas? yummy