How to freeze and use frozen food?

Freezing food is not very popular in Asia where people tend to prefer buying the freshest ingredients from the local market but freezing means you can preserve food when they are at their prime season, take advantage of a random sale, or just skip cooking on a lazy weekday night.

Freezing food is like a pause button, as it will stop germs growth, allowing most food to be kept for months.

Some simple rules

  • Thaw food IN THE REFRIGERATOR overnight and cook within 24 hours or if you are in a hurry in the microwave (NOT at room temperature, and NOT under hot water). Remember that once frozen food leaves the low temperatures of the freezer, bacteria will start multiplying rapidly, even more so at warm temperature.
  • Do NOT refreeze anything that’s been frozen and thawed.

For ex: if you intend to freeze meat, make sure it hasn’t been frozen before (a lot of the imported beef found in Asia has been frozen previously).

  • Cool food before freezing as placing hot food into the freezer will cause other foods to start thawing.
  • Make sure you wrap foods properly: Water, and therefore food, expands when it freezes. Make allowances for this to avoid messy explosions.
  • Freezer bags and pyrex containers that can go from freezer to oven are the best
  • Freeze food in realistic portions, this will allow you to use only what you really need.
  • Always label what goes into the freezer and if you are unsure of how long something has been in the freezer, don’t take any chances, throw it out.
  • Best to freeze food at its freshest so that it will be at its best when consumed.

What food can or cannot be frozen?

Some food loves to be frozen:

  • Bread
  • Soups, stews and stocks
  • Meat & fish – although they will loose some moisture upon thawing
  • Fruits (Bananas, berries, mangos… )

Some foods don’t like to be frozen, as their texture will be altered when thawed: vegetables with high water content (cucumber and leafy greens…), dairy products (such as milk, yoghurt and cream), whole eggs (boiled or raw).

In our freezer

Our freezer is always really packed. Apart from the usual meat, fish and seafood, here are a few things we usually have in stock:

  • vegan ice-cream (see recipe here)
  • falafel (see recipe here)
  • chocolate chip cookie dough (recipe coming soon)
  • pizza dough
  • homemade springrolls
  • baby ready made puree and compote
  • lunchpack ready food (savory muffins, cauliflower croquettes…)
  • sliced bread

Only have time to buy fresh bread every 2 weeks? No problem, just keep it in the freezer and toast it straight out of the freezer whenever needed.

  • frozen tomato sauce

I make a large batch of fresh tomato sauce every 3-4 weeks. It’s very easy but takes a bit of time so it’s worth cooking it in large quantities. I know what goes in it (less salt, sugar and conservatives than the store bought ones) and use it for pizza, pasta, lasagna but also Asian dishes. I freeze it in flattened individual bags for easy storage and use.

For more details on how long food can be kept in the freezer, you can refer to this table.

(To read the Indonesian translation, click here)

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