10 Things you need to know about freezing foods

Freezing Food Burren Smokehouse

One of the most asked questions we get from our customers is “Can I freeze smoked salmon?”. The short answer to that is yes, you can for up to 6 months.

But apart from that easy question, there are a lot of other foods, prepared or raw, that can be frozen while some should never go into a freezer. It is not easy to know the difference, and that’s why we put a little guide together for you along with some handy tips.

Using the freezer is a great way of preparing food ahead of time. So when you don’t have the time, you can grab some portion-sized meal, let it defrost for a few hours and then enjoy it. Another tip is to cook more than you need and freeze the remainder for another time.

Here are some guidelines for freezing foods.

  1. Raw foods that were frozen once cannot be frozen again – think chicken or shrimp. It is safe to assume that raw shrimp from the seafood shop have already been frozen and thawed to be sold before you bought it. The good news: Once it’s cooked, you can freeze it again, but only once.
  2. Freezer burn is caused by air trapped in the packaging, so wrap the food as tightly as you can, and press all the air out of bags. Best would be to vacuum seal it, but ziploc bags work very well, too.
  3. Always write the date and content on the food package. It is good to know if the homemade chicken stock has been in the freezer for two months or two years. Go through the freezer contents maybe twice a year and if in doubt, throw it out. Nothing keeps forever!
  4. Always defrost slowly overnight in the fridge rather than speeding up the process in hot water or worse, the microwave. This is especially true for smoked salmon or any fish.
  5. Vegetable soups, chicken soups, creamed soups all freeze and defrost beautifully, and it’s easy to reheat and enjoy them. Soups with cheese or milk in them are a bit trickier as the milk can curdle when heated – stirring vigorously helps.
  6. Dishes with sauces, for example stews and baked pasta, freeze better than dishes without sauces like filet of beef or roast chicken which are more likely to suffer in the process.
  7. When cooking a pasta dish ahead, the best is to make a big batch of sauce, freeze it in portions and then cook the pasta fresh. Just mix the defrosted sauce into it, and you’ll be enjoying dinner within 15 minutes!
  8. Fully cooked vegetable gratins freeze quite well, but steamed vegetables need to be flash frozen which is difficult to do with the standard household equipment.
  9. Baked cakes and cookies usually freeze well, but they should be without glazes or icings. You can add the icing once the cake is defrosted.

Another idea for some cookies is to prepare the dough and freeze it. Then defrost it, and bake off on the day.

Fun bonus tip:

Instead of boring water ice cubes, freeze strong coffee, lemon or lime juice depending on what drinks you are planning on serving.