Baked food (Bread, buns, tortillas, muffins, and croissant)
We often find good prices on wheat products like sandwich bread, buns, and tortillas. If you go to Costco or Sam’s Club, you know how large those bags can be. It is really hard for a small family to finish them before the expiry date. Wheat items may go bad before we can finish them. Muffin from Costco is another item that we had to through away frequently before we started to freeze them.
How do we freeze wheat products? After bringing the large Costco bags of sliced bread, or buns, we directly put them in a rack of the freezer. Keeping the muffins directly can be space consuming. It is better to individually bag the muffins in small freezer bags. Individually bagging them makes consumption easier too. For my family, croissant goes faster than muffins, bread, and buns. So, I keep croissant brought from Costco in the refrigerator and finish them without any trouble in less than a week. It is possible to freeze croissant just like muffins.
Our freezer is not that large. Therefore, we prefer not to buy too many bags at the same time because they occupy a lot of space.
How do we eat the frozen bread? Obviously, we do not eat them frozen. Bring the frozen bread slices outside and let them defrost completely. Microwaving the frozen bread slices does not turn up that well. However, toaster oven defrosts frozen slices of bread very well. It feels like they are freshly-baked when toasted.
How about defrosting muffins? The defrost-setting of the microwave works well for muffins. I sometimes keep the muffin on top of a hot cast iron pan for a few minutes, after defrosting them. Placing a muffin on a hot cast iron pan removes the moisture created from defrosting using the microwave.
How long can we keep wheat items frozen? I won’t go above two months although they will stay there well for even six months. It is better not to stock so much that will take longer than two months. The fresher — the better.
Freezing milk sounds unconventional but it is possible. Since milk expands when frozen, special care should be taken. I won’t freeze milk if it is in a paper container. I would use a plastic gallon that flexibly expands when milk is frozen. Most milk plastic gallons from Costco, Walmart, or Sam’s Club can be frozen. Just make sure to keep some space empty inside the container to allow the expansion. We definitely do not want the container to explode and cause a mess inside the freezer.
How do we defrost milk? Defrosting a milk container has to be slow. Take the container out of the freezer and keep it in the refrigerator for two/three days. Make sure to shake it once or twice a day while it is defrosting in the refrigerator. With full cream milk, you might feel that the texture of the milk is slightly different after defrosting. With 2% or 1% milk, I do not feel any difference between consuming never-frozen milk and defrosted milk.
How long can we keep milk frozen in the freezer? I wouldn’t freeze it for more than three months. For my family, generally, we finish before a month.
How many times did you find that the bag of shredded cheese had expired a few weeks ago? I am guilty of not noticing the expiry dates. Did you know that shredded mozzarella or cheddar cheese can be frozen? I didn’t know this up to some point. Shredded cheese can be frozen for several months but I generally need to store it for less than two months because we do not purchase large bags of cheese unless we have a big party plan.
How do we defrost cheese? Defrosting cheese is easy for us because we do not freeze solid blocks of cheese and freeze only the shredded ones. We bring the whole packet out and leave it in the refrigerator a day before we start using the packet. There is no problem using it directly out of the freezer if we are using it for cooked dishes like casseroles or soup.
Keeping cheese outside for more than two hours is not recommended because bacteria may form quickly on cheese. Defrosting cheese in the refrigerator is a better option.
Also, some cheese may lose flavor and texture after thawing. However, we won’t know it because our food is not much cheese-heavy.
Breakfast products (Pancakes, Waffles, or Breakfast Sandwiches)
Freezing breakfast products is very common. Packaging of homemade pancakes or waffles for freezing needs some care though. Place the pancakes or waffles on cookie sheets after making them. Make sure that they are not touching each other. After they cool down, put the entire cookie sheet into the freezer for an hour or so, so that the pancakes harden a bit. Bring them out and put them in freezer bags. Bagging them after they harden a bit will make sure that they do not stick to each other.
How do we defrost pancakes or waffles? For waffles, I just place the frozen waffle into the toaster. It works well for a small family like ours. A regular oven can be used if a lot more waffles need to be reheated.
I prefer to put the frozen pancakes in the microwave. My two-cent — apply butter immediately after reheating the pancake using a microwave oven. Otherwise, some parts of the pancake become hard.
Katie, from GoodLife Eats, wrote a wonderful article on this topic: How to Freeze and Reheat Pancakes and Waffles.
I do not often put breakfast sandwiches into the freezer. I like to eat them fresh because I feel a little different taste when a frozen sandwich is reheated. However, some weeks are harder than the others. If I anticipate a hard week, I freeze some breakfast sandwiches during the weekend. I prefer to individually wrap the breakfast sandwiches using Press’n Seal after cooling the sandwich at room temperature. I put multiple individually wrapped breakfast sandwiches into a freezer bag. For reheating, I just microwave the frozen sandwiches. In busy weeks, a frozen breakfast sandwich is a life saver.
It has happened million times to us that we forgot about some zucchini, squash, bell pepper, or cauliflower in the refrigerator. Now, I prefer to cut most of the vegetables right after bringing them home. Unless I am absolutely sure that I am going to cook or use up the vegetables in two days, I prefer to keep all my cut vegetables in the freezer. Most cut vegetables freeze very well –– the cut pieces do not stick to each other when frozen.
How do we defrost cut vegetables? We do not put much effort into defrosting cut vegetables. We directly grill or cook them without defrosting.
Drawback of thawing vegetables: Freezing vegetables is fine if the plan is to cook the vegetables in some way like making soup, grilling, or stir-frying. If the plan is to eat the vegetable green, then defrosted vegetables are not good options. For example, if you are planning to eat salad –– it is better to eat fresh because defrosted vegetables are generally full of moisture. Also, I heard somewhere that thawing frozen vegetables accelerates the loss of Vitamin C.
Concluding remarks on freezing food
We are mostly familiar with freezing food items like meat and fish. There is a wide spectrum of possibilities — especially in reducing wastage of food — when it comes to freezing technology. Are you into freeze food? Please share with us your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section below.
Have a wonderful week!
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