How many of us have an overflowing freezer (or two) at home? Whether it’s for convenience or frugality, we tend to overbuy food and freeze the extras. If you’re freezing the right foods, that’s not a bad idea. Frozen fruits and veggies are often as healthy as their fresh counterparts, so it’s not doing any harm to seal up your extras and throw them in the freezer until they’re needed. But there are some foods that just shouldn’t go in the freezer. See if any of these are in yours!
It may be tempting to stock up on those yogurt cups when they go on sale, but don’t buy more than you can eat before they expire. When you freeze yogurt and then thaw it out, it separates and becomes grainy. The texture just isn’t ever the same, even if you mix it like crazy. Same goes for your sour cream — keep it out of the freezer.
As a coffee lover, I totally understand the desire to make that fantastic batch of beans last as long as humanly possible, but you’re not going to preserve the taste by stashing them in the freezer. Humidity levels in a freezer fluctuate every time you open and close the door, and those changing temps will change the cellular structure of the beans, in turn changing the flavor — and even the aroma — you love. Also, coffee beans are porous, and they’ll start to absorb the flavors of foods stored nearby in the freezer. Not what you want to wake up to.
Even if you never thought to store a jar of mayonnaise in your freezer, it may have crossed your mind to freeze a salad with a mayo-based dressing. Take it from me: don’t do it. The mayonnaise separates when you thaw it out, and you’re left with an oily, clumpy, curdled mess that just can’t be saved
It’s hard to part with a delicious batch of fried foods from your favorite greasy spoon, but freezing that deliciousness is not the answer, my friend. Once you thaw it, that crispy layer of breading you love so much will have turned into a sad, soggy mess — and no amount of time in the oven will ever make it right again.
If you have kids (or maybe even if you don’t) you probably know that you can buy frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That knowledge may spark the idea to save a few bucks and make your own sandwiches to stash in the freezer. Restrain yourself. Once they are thawed enough to eat, the jelly will have soaked through the bread and made it super soggy. It only takes a minute or two to make it fresh, and trust me, it’s worth the hassle.
What exactly are water vegetables? Quite simply, they are the ones that have the highest water content. Cucumber clocks in at a whopping 96 percent water content, which is great for keeping you healthy and hydrated, but not so great when you want to store your summer garden pickings in the freezer until winter. You see, all that water freezes into little ice crystals, and as your frozen veggies thaw, you end up with a limp, soggy, unappetizing mess. Other veggies that don’t enjoy time in the deep freeze? Lettuce and salad greens, as well as celery, radishes, onions, white potatoes, and bell peppers.
If you plan on throwing that fruit into a smoothie, freeze away. It’s all going to blend up together anyway, and those ice crystals that formed in the freezer will make for an icy and fruity treat. For other uses, however, your fruit is not going to thaw to the same consistency and texture as when you left it in the freezer. Fruits that do particularly badly in the freezer? Watermelon, oranges, lemons, limes, apples, pears, and grapefruit
I know, I know. Your favorite brand of cream cheese was on sale this week, and you just couldn’t resist picking up 5 packages. I’ve been there. Unfortunately, cream cheese, and most soft, fresh cheeses like cottage cheese and ricotta, have a high water content, so they aren’t ideal for freezing. If you do have some in the freezer right now, don’t fret. Though you will notice the texture has completely changed, you may still be able to use your cream cheese, cottage cheese, or ricotta in a baked casserole.
If it’s a homemade vinaigrette you’re hoping to save, there is likely no need to freeze it, as it should last a good week or two in your fridge, or even longer. If you have a homemade ranch or another cream-based dressing, keep in mind that ingredients like yogurt, buttermilk, and sour cream, though delicious in that dressing, are prone to separate when frozen. Better to whip up smaller batches as you need them.