Quite a few foods can be frozen from fruits and vegetables to meats and grains. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) advises on safe freezing and food safety techniques. While just about any food can be frozen, the quality of the food once it thaws is a different story. Freeze foods that won’t lose taste or quality after it has defrosted. All foods should be kept frozen at a temperature of 0 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you freeze fruits with sugar or a sugar substitute, that can help the fruit maintain top quality flavor and color. Sometimes, fruit turns mushy when it is thawed, you can prevent this by freezing the fruit quickly. Frozen fruit can be stored for eight to 12 months. Fruits that were frozen with sugar or sugar syrups will maintain a high quality longer than unsweetened fruits.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation recommends blanching vegetables before freezing as this helps maintain flavor, texture and color. Blanching doesn’t fully cook vegetables, so they will still taste delicious when thawed. Be sure to cool your vegetables quickly after blanching and drain them well so they maintain the best quality while frozen. Vegetables have a long shelf life lasting 12 to 18 months when frozen.
Pork, such as bacon, ham or sausage can be frozen for one to two months while pork chops or roasts can be frozen for four to 12 months. Uncooked poultry parts (breasts, legs, wings, etc.) can be frozen for nine months and uncooked whole poultry can be kept for 12 months. Cooked poultry only has a frozen shelf life of three to four months. Ground meat, cooked or uncooked can be safely frozen for three months while uncooked roasts or steaks can be frozen four to 12 months. Wild game, such as venison, rabbit or elk can be frozen uncooked for eight to12 months.
Breads can be frozen for three months at a time. Freezing bread can be a good option if you find a good price on bread, rolls or muffins as you can buy in bulk and freeze until you need them later. Make sure the bread is cool before freezing so that condensation won’t affect the quality of the food.
Other foods that can be frozen include soups and stews (which have a two to three month shelf life), casseroles (two to three months) and frozen dinners (three to four months). Dessert items are also easily frozen. Make sure any dessert is cool before freezing so condensation won’t make the food soggy. Cakes, tarts, cheesecakes and other desserts can be frozen for two to three months before using. Ice creams and sorbets have a two-month shelf life.
References and ResourcesNational Center for Home Food Preservation: Frequently Asked Freezing Questions
National Center for Home Food Preservation: How Do I?