Keeping things cold is the best way to extend the life of food. Fridges help keep food fresh and safe while freezers can significantly extend the life of food.
This means you can have your Christmas ham in March and feijoas in October. Great, huh?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to use a fridge, but here’s some helpful hints.
Did you know that you can freeze almost anything? Avocados? Yes! Chocolate? For sure. Wine? Why not!
You can keep food safely in the freezer for years, as long as it has been frozen the whole time. Over time the quality does start to deteriorate so it is best to eat frozen food within three months.
10 tips to make the most of your freezer’s superpowers:
- Avoid having a freezer full of UFOs! Unidentified frozen objects are never fun if you defrost chicken stock thinking it is wine. Make sure you label everything that goes into the freezer with what it is and the date.
- While you shouldn’t overcrowd your fridge, a full freezer works more efficiently than a half empty one so don’t be afraid to stock up!
- Defrost food overnight in the fridge, use within 24 hours and cook it until it is piping hot. If you need it quickly, food can be defrosted safely in the microwave.
- Freezer burn typically appears as greyish-brown, dried patches on the surfaces of the food. It is not a food safety risk, and can be cut off before use.
- The best ways to minimise freezer burn are to avoid temperature fluctuations within your freezer (e.g. make sure the door is kept closed and freezer is well loaded) and to ensure products are wrapped well, in air-tight packaging.
- Cardboard cartons are not as good for freezing food in as plastic containers. Use them if you have to, just remember not to leave food frozen in cardboard containers for too long.
- Foods which you have bought frozen or were frozen raw at home can be thawed, cooked and then re-frozen.
- Milk can be successfully frozen. The fresher it is when you freeze it, the fresher it will be when you thaw it, so freeze it as soon as possible. Milk will expand when frozen so tip a small amount out of the bottle (use it in a hot drink) before freezing. Thaw in the fridge and shake well before using.
- Bread should live in the freezer in New Zealand households to stop it going mouldy in our humid climate. Bang the loaf lightly on the bench top to separate the slices
- Hard cheese (Edam, tasty etc) freezes well, and grating before freezing is a good idea. Soft cheese can be frozen but the texture may not be the same once thawed.