Foods You Should Never Freeze
Leafy greens contain a lot of water. When you freeze greens, that water expands and bursts the cell walls that maintain a leaf’s structure, resulting in soggy and limp lettuce. If you have ever left a head of lettuce in the refrigerator too long, you understand this concept. Use leftover leafy greens in main dish salads or stirred into soups and stews – just don’t freeze them.
Eggs cooked into popular and convenient breakfast casseroles are fine to freeze. However, don’t try to freeze raw eggs in the shell. The egg will expand when frozen, which may cause the shell to crack, wasting food and leaving a mess in the freezer.
As with other foods, if you freeze cheese you risk ruining the quality of the product – and cheese is often just too expensive to ruin. Freezing can alter both the texture and taste of cheese, especially if it is soft, aged, or has air pockets. If you have a block of Parmesan or cheddar that you don’t want to waste, go ahead and cube it or grate it, put it in a freezer safe bag, and save it for casseroles and soups (and don’t forget to add the Parmesan rind to the soup for deeper flavor). If you have a quality hunk of Brie that you don’t want to waste, it is best to go ahead and use it up now.
The creamy, buttery texture is one of the things we love most about an avocado, so don’t ruin it by freezing the leftover half. It will become slimy, mushy, and incredibly unappealing. So, just don’t freeze. To properly store a leftover half of an avocado, coat the flesh with fresh lemon juice, wrap the avocado half in plastic wrap, and place in the fridge.
Yes! You can freeze hummus up to four months. Here’s the trick: it takes a few hours to completely thaw, so don’t freeze hummus in big batches. Instead, break it down into smaller portion sizes before freezing, and be sure to stir it well before using.
If you plan to use it in cooking or baking, go ahead and freeze sour cream. But it is not recommended if you are going to top a baked potato or use it in a dip. Like a lot of dairy products, sour cream will separate when frozen and take on the lumpy consistency of cottage cheese. It’s certainly safe to use but thawed sour cream won’t have the creamy texture you would expect from.
If you freeze yogurt, a dairy product, it can separate and become watery and grainy when thawed. Even worse, the yogurt may acquire an acidic taste and some of the live, good-for-you bacterial cultures found in yogurt may be destroyed by the freezing process. It is still ok to eat, however, if the altered taste and texture don’t bother you.
When put in the freezer, the gelatin content in Jell-O prevents it from hardening like ice. Freezing damages the polymers and colloids that bind gelatin together, which in turn ruins the texture of Jell-O. When thawed, your lovely congealed salad will separate, and you will lose the chance to “watch it jiggle and see it wiggle.”
Fried chicken and breaded mozzarella sticks are always best served hot. If freezing is your only alternative to throwing cooked food out, however, these items won’t spoil if you have to take this route. Just know the hot-out-of-the-skillet crispy crust is likely to be mushy once reheated.
If you freeze diced onions or peppers, you should not expect them to retain their crunch. Do not freeze raw vegetables with a high moisture content, such as tomatoes, potatoes, or cucumbers, with the thought of eating it raw later. The moisture that keeps the food crisp and intact while fresh and raw will turn that vegetable into a mush after thawing – imagine a thawed cucumber. Get the picture? Instead of freezing surplus raw vegetables, turn them into a product that can be frozen, such as a homemade marinara sauce or mashed potatoes.
A sprig of fresh rosemary or a smattering of basil leaves can really spruce up a dish. Yes, you can freeze herbs, but don’t expect the thawed version to be as bright and crisp as the fresh. Instead of using as a garnish, frozen herbs work best when stirred into sauces, pasta dishes, and salad dressings.
Unless you are feeding a school or an army, buying certain items in bulk is not always the smartest thing to do. How long would it really take you to use up gallon-size containers of catsup, mustard, and mayonnaise? Don’t even think about freezing them, because the ingredients will separate and create something totally un-appetizing.