If you’re like a lot of people, you might use your freezer regularly. However, many people don’t fully understand everything about frozen foods. These are a few common myths.
Frozen Produce Isn’t Nutritious
It is true that frozen fruits and vegetables can lose some of their nutrients in the freezing process. However, even though they might not be as nutritious as freshly-picked fruits and vegetables from your garden, they can actually be more nutritious than fresh produce from the grocery store. This is because out-of-season produce is generally picked before it’s fully ripe so that it can withstand a long shipping process, while frozen foods are generally picked at peak ripeness and frozen right away. This means that in general, frozen fruits and veggies are a nutritionally sound choice.
Frozen Dinners are Bad For You
Of course, a diet of nothing but frozen pizzas and frozen french fries isn’t going to be completely healthy for you. However, you shouldn’t assume that all frozen dinners are bad. There are quite a few brands out there that specialize in making healthy frozen dinners, so you might find that they are a healthier choice than you think. This is especially true when compared to certain other convenience foods, such as food from fast food restaurants.
You Can’t Re-Freeze Frozen Foods
If you thaw out frozen food and cook it, you might think that you can’t refreeze it. However, this is not the case. This is often given as a suggestion, since the quality can suffer, but you and your family can eat refrozen food without any issues. If it’s eaten relatively quickly, you might not even notice a difference in quality.
Frozen Food is Expensive
A lot of people think that frozen food is expensive. Even though this might be true for some items, the opposite is true in many cases as well. For example, you might find that you can purchase a high-quality frozen pizza for less than you would spend on the ingredients to make the crust and the pizza sauce and the toppings and cheese that you would need. In many cases, frozen produce is actually more affordable than fresh fruits and vegetables, particularly when you are buying out of season.
Additionally, if you are looking for a quick meal to feed your family, you might find that a frozen dinner is going to be a lot more affordable than going out to eat. Obviously, prices vary from product to product, but you shouldn’t assume that frozen food is a bad financial choice. Instead, consider comparing prices on the items that you are shopping for so that you can make the right decision.
You Shouldn’t Freeze Food Beyond Expiration Dates
When it comes to dealing with meat, one good way to stretch it beyond its expiration date is to freeze it. This is the case with many other food items as well. Also, in many cases, the dates on frozen foods are just a guideline. This means that your family generally won’t get sick if you eat frozen foods after their expiration date, although you might notice a difference in quality.
In general, cooked meat should be frozen for about two to four months, and raw meat can be frozen for four to 12 months. Casseroles and soups and stews can be frozen for two to three months without any problems, and fruits and vegetables often fare well in the freezer for about eight to 12 months. Beyond these dates, you might notice some quality issues, but the foods should still be safe for consumption in most cases.
Freezer Placement Does Not Matter
In general, as long as your freezer is functioning as it is supposed to and as long as it is set to the appropriate temperature, foods should fare fine anywhere in the freezer. However, to maintain better quality, foods that are going to be frozen for longer periods of time should be kept in the back, where it is colder. Reserve room at the front or in the door of your freezer for foods that will be consumed more quickly.
Anything Can Be Frozen
Technically, just about anything can be put in your freezer and frozen. However, some foods do better in the freezer than others. For example, many people do not have good luck with dairy products like milk, cream cheese or shredded cheese in the freezer since they notice a major difference in quality. However, milk can be shaken up and still used, and cream cheese can be used in recipes, although it might not taste as good if it’s eaten as-is after being frozen. You may find better success with freezing blocks of cheese rather than shredded cheese if you want to maintain quality as much as possible.