Hey editors, any chance you can compile a list of general rules re advance preparation and freezing?

I know it's not possible to cover every item, but based on hotline quetions and my own, which frequently arise, I'm thinking a list of this nature could be helpful. For instance, soups can generally be made x number of days in advance and frozen. Pies, pastas, potatoe dishes, items containing dairy, etc. Just a thought...

  • Posted by: ATG117
  • November 24, 2013


sexyLAMBCHOPx December 20, 2013
Thank you so much for the suggestions. I will try and experiment - promise! I'll start today with some ground beef. Wrapped tightly in a Ziploc bag, all air out and defrost overnight next week. I'm okay with stocks, stews and soups - so there's hope!
SeaJambon December 20, 2013
SLC - I've followed you enough to know that you are a bold and innovative cook, so it is interesting to see this achilles heel. May I make a New Years resolution suggestion for you?: to freeze a little of everything and see what happens! Experiment! Don't waste your money on books, just try. Leftovers? Freeze a small amount and thaw later that week. And with the experiment, in a home freezer, it really doesn't matter whether something has been frozen one day or one year, your thaw experience will be the same (this assumes proper packaging -- invest in a few freezer ziplocks, and do your best to remove all air from your frozen item. The straw trick is really good -- seal the zip around a straw and inhale out all the remaining air, remove straw and finish the zip). After a year (or with improperly frozen items -- air is the prime enemy) even properly sealed items can start to degrade. Again, it isn't a food safety issue but food quality.

Once you've done this with a few things, Costco becomes a wonderland. That huge cheese? Slice off what you want and freeze the rest. Two pack of chickens? Cook one, freeze the other for later. 12 pack of croissants? Freeze all you don't want today for later.

A word of caution: if you find yourself giggling with glee at the Farmers Market, thinking about buying 20 lbs of (name your fruit or veg), using some and freezing the rest, well (a) buy the fruit/veg and (b) check http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/freeze.html . In this case there may be a few simple steps you will want to follow for best results.

Good luck! I hope you will try it. As far as defrosting goes, if it contains items that you would normally need to store in the fridge (like meat or dairy), then for food safety reasons it should be thawed overnight in the fridge. If, however, it is something you wouldn't need to store in the fridge (like cookies, or that 12 pack of croissants from Costco!), then thaw on countertop.
sexyLAMBCHOPx December 18, 2013
I love your suggestion SeaJambon. I have an adversion (fear) of freezing and defrosting items because I think the intergrity of the dish will be lost and never know when to defrost (and how long) or bake from the freezer. Once, I loaded up my Amazon carts about tips, techniques, and recipes to freeze and defrost but never bought any.
SeaJambon December 18, 2013
Great question ATG 117, and it does come up repeatedly in the forum this time of year. I think much of it is recipe specific, but maybe that could be an add-on to recipe submissions? (i.e., have you frozen this or made ahead? How long does it keep?). With freezing, it won't be a food safety issue, but rather food quality on thawing. I've become very bold in my freezer use, with the result of happy discoveries like: did you know that homemade marshmallows freeze very well? I would never have guessed, but they do!

On the other side, when he was a bachelor, my husband froze a head of lettuce. That didn't work so well!! (can you say slime ball??!)
AntoniaJames December 18, 2013
jvcooks, to avoid this happening in the future, simply make sure that you do not put any punctuation snug against the last character of the URL. (When I cut and pasted them, without the punctuation, they worked just fine.) ;o)
jvcooks November 24, 2013
Sorry ATG117, I think my copy & paste skill did not work in my first response. The past columns to search at Food52 are 10 Make Ahead Thanksgiving Recipes, 8 Quick Breads and Muffins to Share or Freeze and Freeze Your Way to More Home Cooked Meals.
jvcooks November 24, 2013
Thanks ATG117 for your question about advance preparation & freezing (something on all our minds this time of year). A few past columns at Food52 might get you started http://food52.com/blog/2836-freezing-your-way-to-more-home-cooked-meals, ood52.com/blog/4862-10-make-ahead-thanksgiving-recipes, ood52.com/blog/5034-8-quick-breads-and-muffins-to-share-or-freeze. Hope this helps.
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