When we think about it, the freezer is a truly practical appliance! We can pop in foods that are on the point of going off to eat them when it suits us, allowing us to keep them for longer. The problem is that we tend to put so many things in there that certain foods stay there longer than they should, and finding them again can turn into an archaeological excavation! And contrary to what we may think, just because a food is frozen, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will still be good to eat in several months time. Many foods don’t keep indefinitely, and they can lose their flavour and accumulate harmful bacteria over time. Here are 8 examples to be aware of.
1) Uncooked meat
Sides of pork or lamb as well as uncooked meat in general, such as beef or chicken, can be kept for around 8 months. Freezing alters the taste and texture over time (due to water permeating the foods) and even if freezing slows down the spread of microbes, it is not completely stopped, and you could end up with food poisoning.
Because of how they are prepared, burgers contain more air than other meats, which promotes the development of bacteria, which are not completely destroyed by the cold of the freezer. Once they are taken out of the freezer, the bacteria are revived by the thermal shock. For all of these reasons, as well as the rapid deterioration of minced meat, it keeps for only 4 months in the freezer.
3) Fruit and vegetables
Fruit and veg can be kept for around 1 year in the freezer, if you have prepared them well for freezing. By preparation, we mean the whole process: cleaning, tailing, pre-cooking, draining and wiping. You should also put them in well sealed bags, from which you have removed the air. Good food wrapping will prevent too much water from getting into the foods and creating blocks of ice, which harm the taste of the fruit and vegetables.
Freezing can help you avoid waste. But be careful not to leave bread in the freezer for more than a month and a half, as you are likely to find it has gone soft, dry or crumbly.
5) Dairy products
Freezing dairy products carries large risks in terms of the multiplication of bacteria. The risk is that the water modifies the texture or taste of cheese, for example. This is why you should rather freeze hard cheeses (which are more impermeable to water) than soft cheeses. We recommend that you don’t leave them for more than 4 months in the freezer.
Because of its texture and their high water quantity, fish does not freeze as well as meat, and freezing greatly affects it during cooking. Fish crumbles more easily after having been frozen. Don’t freeze your cod or salmon for longer than 4 months.
Because of the butter it contains, sweet or savoury pastries don’t come that well out of the freezer. The longer the freezing time (don’t surpass 3 months), the more the product becomes steeped in water and loses its original taste and flavour.
8) Home made cakes
It may be tempting to freeze a few slices for future sugar cravings! However, cakes contain flour, cream and icing, and freezing has an effect on their taste and texture… A good way to turn a tasty cake into a soft, bland piece of cardboard! They keep for an absolute maximum of 4 months.