How to Freeze Food Safely

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How to Freeze Food Safely

As couponers, we freeze a lot of food.  And, the questions always comes up, how long can I freeze that item?  Here is a list of how to safely package, freeze and thaw your food.

Items to Freeze

You can freeze everything except canned food and eggs in shells. Some foods may not taste as good defrosted such as creamy substances, but they can still be frozen as well.  Make sure you also check out a complete list of foods that you can freeze.

Is frozen food safe?

Frozen food is safe if it is kept at 0° F. The quality and freshness will be the only thing that will change after the meat is frozen if it is in the freezer for to long.  If you freeze your meat as quick as possible, the freshness and taste will stay in the meat when it is cooked.

Proper Packaging

Packaging your meat correctly in the freezer can prevent freezer burn and helps maintain the meats quality. It is safe to store meat in its original packaging, but the quality of the meat won’t be as good. The best way to store it would be in vacuum sealed packages. Freezer burn does not make meat unsafe!

Safe Thawing

There are some great tips on thawing your meats.

  • never thaw meat in a garage, basement, car, on the kitchen counter, outdoors or on the porch
  • Thaw food in the refrigerator
  • Thaw food in cold water (in a plastic bag/change the water every 30 min)
  • thaw food in the microwave – eat immediately
  • If food is thawed in the refrigerator, you may refreeze it

“Once food is thawed in the refrigerator, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through thawing.”

Freezer Storage Times

Freezing food (at 0° F) keeps food safe indefinitely, so these storage times are really for quality reasons.

  • Bacon and Sausage – 1 to 2 Months
  • Casseroles – 2 to 3 Months
  • Egg whites or egg substitutes – 12 Months
  • Frozen Dinners and Entrees – 3 to 4 Months
  • Gravy, meat or poultry – 2 to 3 Months
  • Ham, Hotdogs and Lunchmeats – 1 to 2 Months
  • Meat, uncooked roasts – 4 to 12 Months
  • Meat, uncooked steaks or chops – 4 to 12 Months
  • Meat, uncooked ground – 3 to 4 Months
  • Meat, cooked – 2 to 3 Months
  • Poultry, uncooked – whole 12 Months
  • Poultry, uncooked – parts 9 Months
  • Poultry, uncooked – giblets 3 to 4 Months
  • Poultry, cooked – 4 Months
  • Soups and Stews – 2 to 3 Months