7 Mistakes To Avoid For A More Functional Freezer
Your freezer can be one of the most useful appliances in your kitchen, but it's important to avoid these common mistakes.
Freezing food is one of the best ways to keep it fresh for an extended period of time, but I probably don't use my freezer as effectively as I could! My freezer is often a chaotic mess of different bags, boxes, and containers, so I'm usually not quite sure what's even in there.
1. Your freezer is messy
One of the most important keys to using your freezer effectively is keeping it tidy. If you just pile everything into your freezer without any rhyme or reason, it's easy to lose track of things. Some things are then likely to get pushed to the very back of the freezer and forgotten about! Instead, use freezer compartments or shelves to keep things visible and accessible.
2. It's too warm
If you're using your freezer for long-term food storage, you need to be sure that your food stays frozen evenly and isn't exposed to temperature fluctuations. For this reason, it's a good idea to use a refrigerator/freezer thermometer - ideally, your freezer should stay at around 0°F. If you've your freezer set to a colder temperature and your ice cream is rock hard, there are a few things you can do to help. You can keep it in the door of the freezer (the warmest part of your freezer) or put the container in a ziplock bag to keep it softer!
3. Your food isn't sealed properly
To prevent your food from getting "freezer burn," it's important to keep the air out! Press ziplock bags, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap as close to the food as possible. If you're using a sturdy container, fill it almost to the brim. But leave enough room for the food to expand a little more as it freezes! And when you put packaged foods back in the freezer, throw the rest of the food into a ziplock bag beforehand.
4. You freeze everything together
If you freeze individual foods (like berries, meatballs, cookie dough, etc.) together in a bag or container, you'll have a big block of frozen food. This isn't particularly helpful if you only want to take out one or two foods at a time!
5. You freeze foods that go bad
Freezing preserves food, but doesn't restore its freshness. A muffin that was frozen when it was almost stale will never taste as good as a muffin that was frozen the day it was baked! So try to be realistic about what you'll eat in the next few days and freeze the rest.
6. They'll thaw at room temperature
If you thaw meat, poultry, and seafood on the countertop, you run the risk of bacteria growing in it before it's fully thawed. Instead, plan ahead and place your meat products in the refrigerator the day before you want to use them. They'll thaw slowly and safely in the refrigerator!
7. You open the freezer during a power outage
If the power goes out, you should keep your freezer closed! Freezers are well insulated and can maintain a cold temperature for a few hours, but only if the door remains closed. Once the power is back, check the food. Anything that's still frozen should be fine, but anything that begins to thaw should be consumed or thrown away immediately. You can't be too safe!