It is incorrect to believe that freezing will kill bacteria that existed in the food before it was frozen. Freezing can only stop growth of bacteria. Only cooking the food will ensure removal of harmful bacteria. Look up vital tips to frozen food storage:
Foods that must not be frozen
Do not freeze dairy or creamy products. Yogurt, cheese, custard etc do not freeze well. Herbs don't freeze well. Other foods that should not be frozen include salad dressing, sour cream, cake frosting, fried food, rice, sauces and pasta. Fruits such as lemon, watermelon, grapefruit and apples must not be frozen. You can instead freeze the zest from citrus fruits. Vegetables such as celery, lettuce, onions, radish, sprouts and greens should not be frozen.
Food Safety in Storage
Keep meat, fish and poultry away from other foods to avoid risk of contamination. They might leak juices onto other food.
Take periodic stock-check of your frozen foods. Rotate the stock so that the earlier ones are used before the newer ones. Identify the expiration date on packaged frozen food.
Keep raw and cooked food away from each other.
Store food for freezing in usable quantities. This way you need to just grab a box and use it completely.
Label your containers with name and date. This way you are saved the time and agony of flipping each lid to check the contents. Besides you might end up defrosting the wrong item. You can even add details on the quantity stored.
Top of the Page: Frozen Food Storage Tips
- Cool cooked food before storing in freezer. Never freeze store food that is hot.
- Freeze cooked food within two hours of cooking.
- It is not safe to freeze or store food at less than 0°F
- Keep an appliance thermometer to check freezer temperature from time to time.
- It is not safe to refreeze frozen food that has thawed.
- Use only moisture and vapor-proof containers.
- Pack and store only in freezer grade foils or wraps. Use moisture-proof, freezer-weight wraps.
- Packaging food correctly before freezing prevents freezer burns.
- Freeze food items only till 'use by date'
- Defrost frozen food either in the refrigerator (4°C or 40°F), in cold running water and in the microwave.
- You can freeze store herbs by mincing them and spooning them into ice cube trays. These herb cubes last for a couple of months.
- Check the shelf life of frozen convenience food when storing it in your freezer.
- Ensure that you store frozen meat at low temperatures in the freezer with adequate air circulation.
- You can safely freeze store homemade steaks and chops for about 6 months by wrapping them in suitable freezer wrap. You can use wax paper between individual patties and steaks.
- It is preferable not to freezer store cured meat such as corned beef and bacon since they may turn rancid due to saltiness. Besides, freezing alters flavor.
- Wrap fresh poultry in moisture-proof wraps while freezing it. While whole or cut chicken lasts for about 6 months in the freezer, cooked poultry lasts about 3 months.
- Store dairy products in tight containers to prevent them absorbing odors from strongly-flavored products.
- You can store berries, peaches, pears and pineapples for about 6 - 9 months in the freezer. Similarly, the fruit concentrates can also be stored for about 5 months.