preparations for freezing
Use quality food and handle it as little as possible. Freeze food in small quantities as it freezes
faster, takes less time to defrost and enables you to control the quantity you need better.
Leave cooked food to cool completely. Chill food before freezing if possible.
Consider how you will want to cook the food before freezing it.
Don't freeze food in metal containers if you may want to microwave it straight from the freezer.
Use special freezer bags, freezer film, polythene bags, plastic containers, and aluminium foil
(heavy duty grade only). If in doubt, double wrap your food. Don't use aluminium foil for acidic
foods, e.g. citrus fruits. Don't use thin cling film, glass, or used food containers without cleaning.
Exclude as much air from the container as possible. You could buy a special vacuum pump
which sucks excessive air out of the packaging.
Leave a small amount of air space when freezing liquids to allow expansion.
You can use the space in the freezer most efficiently if you freeze liquids (or solids
with liquids, e.g. stew) in square blocks. This is known as "Preforming". Pour the
liquid into a polythene bag which is inside a square sided container. Freeze it, and
then remove it from the container and seal the bag.
Label your frozen foods as they will look the same when in frozen state. Use
special freezer tapes, labels and pens with different colours. This allows you to
easily organise and to effectively use the freezer. Write the contents and date;
otherwise the frozen food might exceed the storage time and this could cause food
poisoning. Please refer to your food packaging for the recommended storage time.
You may also add the weight and cooking notes, e.g. "defrost first", "cook from frozen" and keep
a separate log of what is in each drawer. This will save opening the door and searching around
defrosting frozen food
Take the frozen food out from the freezer compartment and uncover the frozen food. Let it
defrost at room temperature. Don't forget that defrosting in a warm area encourages the growth
of bacteria and low temperature cooking may not destroy dangerous bacteria.
Drain off and throw away any liquid lost during defrosting.
Always make sure there are no ice-crystals in the food before cooking, particularly with meat.
These crystals indicate that the food has not fully defrosted.
Cook food as soon as possible after defrosting.
Many microwaves and ovens have a defrost setting. To avoid bacterial build up, only use these if
you intend to cook the food immediately afterwards.
Never re-freeze anything that has been defrosted unless you cook it again, to kill off harmful
bacteria. Never re-freeze defrosted shellfish. Re-seal packs properly after removing items.
This prevents drying or freezer-burn and a build up of frost on any remaining food.