Keep Frozen Foods Fresh: Simple Storage Tricks Smart Cooks Use

Make your favourite frozen foods last longer in the freezer with these smart storage tricks.

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Fresh berries: Freeze on a cookie sheet

To prevent fresh berries from turning to mush in the freezer, wash the fruit thoroughly, pat it dry, and place on a cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the berries are frozen, then pack the berries in airtight containers. By freezing pieces of fruit individually, you can take out only what you need for recipes and return the rest to the freezer.

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Meat: Save labels

When rewrapping prepackaged meat for freezing, cut the label from the original wrapping and tape it to the new package. You will have a record of the cut of meat, its weight and the date of purchase. To prepare raw hamburger patties for freezing, separate them with small plastic coffee-can tops, stack them in a pile, place them in a plastic bag, and seal. Freeze raw or cooked meatballs on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to a container, seal, and freeze. They will stay separate and you can use as many as you want when you need them.

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Bread: Wrap with care

Bread will dry out quickly in the refrigerator, but it freezes well for up to six months if wrapped in plastic, then foil. When putting the bread in the freezer, don’t crush the loaf. To crisp up the crust, remove the bread from its wrapping, thaw, and then put in a 350°F oven for 10 minutes.

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Pies: Layer and label

To freeze a freshly baked pie, cool to room temperature. Wrap in plastic and foil and label with a piece of tape, noting the type of filling and the date. If a pie has a sticky filling that is hard to wrap, freeze the pie first and then wrap it.

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Herbs: Mince first

You can freeze some fresh herbs, such as parsley, chives and basil. Wash the herb, shake, then pat dry with paper towels. Mince it and freeze in a plastic container. In addition, fresh ginger root keeps well frozen. Put the ginger in a plastic bag and put in the freezer, grate it as needed.

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Ice cream: Use plastic wrap

To keep ice cream fresh and tasty after the first serving, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the remaining ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming. Then replace the carton top and return the ice cream to the freezer. Don’t let an open container of ice cream sit in the freezer too long; it is best eaten soon after it is purchased.

From the book Householder’s Survival Manual (Reader’s Digest Association Books).

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