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Tips on freezing and defrosting meals

Tips on freezing and defrosting meals

There are many benefits to preparing meals ahead of time and freezing them. However, you need to take certain precautions to ensure the quality, health and flavour of your foods through the freezing and defrosting cycle.

 

  1. Proper containers
    The way you store food in a freezer has a direct impact on how long it will keep fresh. Choose containers with rigid sides or ones that have been made specifically for freezing. They will help prevent freezer burn that changes the flavour and quality of food, and also protect your food from picking up other odours. There are few things less appetizing than food with nasty “freezer taste”.
  2. Use sensible portions
    The way you store food in a freezer has a direct impact on how long it will keep fresh. Choose containers with rigid sides or ones that have been made specifically for freezing. They will help prevent freezer burn that changes the flavour and quality of food, and also protect your food from picking up other odours. There are few things less appetizing than food with nasty “freezer taste”.
  3. Don't let food stick together
    Before putting foods in a container that shouldn’t stick to each other, like cut up fruits and vegetables, snacks, dumplings or burgers, freeze them first on a tray before putting them in their container.
  4. Jot down the freezing date
    Frozen foods have limited shelf lives. With a permanent marker and freezer tape – or setting a reminder on your phone – indicate the date you prepared and froze the food so you use it before its best recommended date. Check the Canadian government’s Safe Food Storage guide for advice.
  5. Defrost properly
    Never defrost food at room temperature (on the counter, for example). Doing so can lead to bacteria forming that can make you sick. It’s best to defrost food in the fridge, but you can also use a microwave, warm things in the oven or a pot, or defrost them in a bowl of cool water.
  6. Adjust the seasoning
    Once defrosted, certain foods can lose their flavour. For particularly spicy and flavourful meals, like chili or curry, adjust for taste by adding almost half as much seasoning as the original recipe called for. For tomato sauces, adding tomato paste will enhance the flavour, texture and colour.
  7. Take a picture of your freezer
    Need a handy reminder of what you actually have in your freezer? Keep a weekly photo update of your freezer’s contents on your phone. You’ll always know what’s there for your next meal.