Fact-Check: Does Freezing Food Stop It From Expiring?

by Stephanie Yankova
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The freezer is one of your biggest allies when it comes to meal prepping and waste-free cooking. However, does freezing food stop it from expiring? Let’s take a look at some of the dos and don’ts to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises! 

Does Freezing Food Stop it From Expiring?

keeping expiring food in the freezer

While freezing does stop the development of bacteria, it doesn’t eliminate it. Usually, there is nothing wrong with freezing foods that are about to reach their expiration date, however, you need to keep a couple of things in mind:

  • the expiration date must NOT have passed
  • the food must have been stored at an appropriate temperature before freezing

Under no circumstances should you keep fish or meat that is about to expire exposed to temperatures above 20°C (68°F) for more than 30  minutes. Once a product has expired, even if you decide to put it in the freezer, it will remain expired!

How to Prepare Your Food for Freezing?

how to keep meat fresh in the freezer
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Here are a few essential precautions to take before freezing foods that are about to go bad:

  • Do not freeze the product in its original packaging.
  • Put the food in the freezer as soon as you notice it’s reaching its expiration date.
  • Don’t keep the product in the freezer for more than a few months.

Some basic freezing rules you must follow regardless of whether the food is expiring or not, are:

  • Make sure that the product is safe to freeze (this should be written on the original packaging).
  • If you’re freezing vegetables, blanch them beforehand to preserve their color, flavor, texture, and vitamins.

Read also: How to defrost ground beef fast? Let’s see 4 of the safest methods to defrost quickly!

What Foods Should You Avoid Freezing?

dos donts freezing food in containers

As we mentioned above, freezing stops the development of bacteria. However, fats and proteins continue to oxidize. So, with a risk of repeating ourselves, it’s really important to NOT keep your food in the freezer for too long, as the following constituents will continue to degrade:

  • The taste and texture will be compromised.
  • It will have reduced nutritional qualities.

Here’s a list of foods you should avoid putting in the freezer:

  • Whole eggs – Their shell can burst from the cold. Egg whites on the other hand are okay to freeze.
  • Creams – Desserts, crème fraîche, or custard have no place in your freezer! The risk? They will become grainy and can curdle.
  • Sauces such as mayonnaise and ketchup.
  • Soft cheese – It can become completely tasteless and crumbly after it’s been frozen. This includes ricotta, Camembert, goat’s cheese, and other soft types.
  • Yogurt – Similar to the cream desserts, it will lose its flavor and texture.
  • Potatoes – If you put raw potatoes in the freezer, you can be sure that they will lose all their nutritious qualities. In order to preserve them properly, you should cook or blanch them first.
  • Cooked pasta and rice.

What About Bread?

how to freeze bread tips

Let’s end our list with one food that often turns into a subject of debate when it comes to freezing it – bread. As long as it’s not hot and freshly taken out of the oven, it’s completely safe to store in the freezer. However, before you proceed to do that, you must wrap it in cling foil. Bread can be kept frozen only for up to 3 weeks without compromising its quality. The longer you keep it in there, the drier it will become.

What’s the best way to defrost it? Simply move it into the fridge or leave it at room temperature overnight. Sprinkle a little bit of water on it and then put it in the oven for no longer than 5 minutes at 200°C (392°F).

Read also: How to Preserve Cherry Tomatoes? 5 Methods and Recipes to Enjoy for Several Months

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