Cook and Freeze: How Long Will It Keep?

CATEGORY

STORAGE TIME

SPECIAL NOTES

CASSEROLES

Up to 3 months

Cornstarch sauces can be frozen when mixed with other ingredients in a casserole. Slightly undercook casseroles, as they will finish cooking during reheating.

 

SOUPS AND STEWS

Up to 6 months

Cool completely, skim off fat. Place in rigid plastic containers, leaving 1/2" head space for expansion.

 

MEATS

 

 

 

 

GROUND MEATS

Fresh: 1 year
Cured: 1 month

 

4 Months

Do NOT refreeze thawed meats. If you thaw frozen meat, cook it in some form, then it can be refrozen. Cured meats should be frozen for just one month. Do NOT freeze stuffed chicken or turkey.

 

Reform ground beef into thin patties or small packages (1 to 1.5 lbs) before freezing for quick thawing.

 

FISH

Up to 3 months

Wrap tightly in heavy duty freezer wrap or plastic bags. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before cooking.

 

COOKED PASTAS

Up to 2 months

Cooked pastas lose quality when frozen. Undercook and freeze in a sauce for best results. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before reheating.

 

 

SAUCES

Up to 3 months

Most sauces will separate after being frozen. If mixed with other ingredients, freezing quality will increase. Sauces with cornstarch and cheese lose quality fastest. Leave some head space for expansion when freezing in plastic containers.

 

BUTTER

Up to 9 months

Freeze in original packaging, placed into heavy duty freezer bags. Thaw in refrigerator or in microwave.

 

VEGETABLES

Up to 6 months

Blanch before freezing. Remove as much air as possible from package before freezing. Vegetables with lots of water like salad greens and tomatoes do not freeze well. Do not freeze deep fried vegetables.

 

FRUITS

Up to 6 months

Up to 1 year. Wash and thoroughly dry first. Freeze loose small fruits in single layer on cookie sheet until firm; then package in airtight freezer bag or container and freeze. Thaw in refrigerator.

Content adapted from: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/, http://busycooks.about.com,www.allrecipes.com

Freezing Tips:

•· A freezer temperature of 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C) is best for maintaining food quality and safety.

 

•· Do not overstuff your freezer. Proper air circulation is critical for keeping your freezer operating at maximum efficiency.

 

•· Freezing does not kill bacteria, yeast and molds that may be in your foods--it merely holds them at bay by keeping them inactive. If the freezer's temperature is disturbed often or altered for an extended period of time (such as a door left ajar or power outages) these microbes can compromise your food's safety.

 

•· Use shallow freezing containers and fill to a 2-inch thickness with the food content for freezing. Cool foods prior to freezing.

 

•· Use microwave safe plastic wrap if you plan to thaw or cook the frozen food in the microwave.

 

•· Line casserole dishes with heavy duty foil before assembling. Fill casserole, freeze, and then remove foil wrapped food and seal in zipper-lock heavy duty freezer bag. Place in original container to thaw and bake.

 

•· Freeze in smaller portions to allow food to cool faster and preserve food quality. This also allows foods to thaw quicker.

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