Five Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze
from Food Safety & Nutrition Consultant Barbara Bray, for California Walnuts
With the message to stay at home and only visit the supermarket for essentials and many self-isolating, now more than ever it is important to know which foods can and cannot be stored in the freezer safely.
As well as keeping food fresher for longer, freezing food can also help maintain its flavour and nutrition and ensure less food goes to waste.
To help, Food Safety & Nutrition Consultant, Barbara Bray has shared five details on five surprising foods you can freeze, for California Walnuts. Did you know that eggs, avocados, walnuts, tomatoes and cheese can all be kept in the freezer? Read on to find out how to maintain the freshness of your favourite foods and snacks…
Barbara says: “For delicious tasting walnuts with a great texture, make sure you store them in the fridge or freezer rather than the kitchen cupboard. California Walnuts (which can be identified by USA / California on pack) have a distinctive smooth and creamy flavour and soft texture, but if they are kept at room temperature the oils inside them can start to warm, which can taint their taste. To keep your walnuts at their best, simply store them in their original packaging or an air tight container in the fridge (2°C-5°C) for up to 6 months or in the freezer for up to 12 months. The great news is they don’t even need to be de-frosted, you can eat them straight from the fridge or freezer!”
Barbara says; “Avocadoes can be frozen as halves or mashed. Wash the fruit then slice in half and remove the seed and the peel. If you have lemon juice, sprinkle some over the avocado halves to stop them from going brown or to make a puree, mash them in a blender. Place in a freezer bag taking care to remove as much of the air as possible.”
Barbara says; “Hard cheeses generally freeze easily and their quality and flavour are not affected. Mozzarella and cheddar are examples of cheeses that do freeze well.
Soft cheeses such as Ricotta and Mascarpone are trickier as they have a higher water content and become watery and grainy on defrosting. Stir well once defrosted and use them in sauces”.
Barbara says; “In general, vegetables freeze reasonably well, but salad vegetables with a high-water content such as lettuce and cucumbers do not. One exception however, is tomatoes. These can be frozen and still retain their flavour.
Cherry and plum tomatoes should be cut in half to help them freeze. Larger plum and round tomatoes can be diced into 1cm pieces with their seeds removed to freeze.
Alternatively, using a sharp knife, score the bottom of each tomato with an ‘x’ and blanch them in a pan of boiling water for 30 to 60 seconds. After this, place them in a bowl of iced water to remove the heat and peel the skins. Halve or chop the tomatoes and place in a freezer bag to freeze.
Once defrosted, tomatoes are suitable to use as an ingredient in cooked dishes.”
Barbara says; “For optimum freshness and quality eggs should be sorted in the fridge, but if you need to freeze some you can, using the methods below.
Eggs cannot be frozen in their shell as they will expand when frozen and the shell will crack. Therefore, crack eggs out of their shell, beat and pour into a freezable container. If needed, egg whites can be separated out and frozen on their own. If you are freezing only the egg yolk, you will need to add an additional ingredient to prevent them from becoming too gelatinous (sticky) to use. Separate the yolk and then add either half a teaspoon of salt or 1 to 11/2 tablespoon of sugar, depending on the final recipe you plan to use them in.
With any of these methods, ensure you use a container with at least 1cm to spare so the egg mixture has room to expand during freezing and freeze small quantities so that they are easy to defrost. Ensure eggs are frozen well before their use by date that once frozen eggs are eaten within 4 months. Do not cook eggs from frozen and be sure to use them as soon as they have thawed.”
- Wash fruits and vegetables before preparing them for freezing.
- Use freezable containers and label them with the name of the food and the date.
- Defrost food overnight in the fridge, use within 24 hours and cook until piping hot.
- Remember, a full freezer works more efficiently than a half-empty one.