The ability to freeze foods is a modern-day luxury for everyone in the foodservice vertical. Even if we cannot remember in our lifetime’s what it was like to live without electric refrigeration, we all certainly can imagine some of the implications of not being able to refrigerate or freeze foods. Though, It is easy to embrace technology to optimize business and process, it may not always be prudent. Especially, when it comes to our belief that most foods are appropriate for the freezer.
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, right? Wrong.
Although some fruits and vegetables can make it really well, stay away from freezing any produce with a high percentage of water. Cucumbers, for example, are 96% water and will become a soggy mess when they are thawed. Other fruits and vegetables that should be kept far away from the freezer: watermelon, oranges, lemons, grapefruits, celery, radishes, and lettuces.
After freezing, the texture for sour cream, yogurt, cream cheese, ricotta, and mayonnaise, will be different, as dairy products tend to separate and become grainy. Butter, however, does very well after thawing and is almost impossible to distinguish from butter that has not been frozen. Shredded cheese that has a future as a cooked ingredient is fine to freeze, but cheeses that are meant for serving raw, should not be frozen.
Basically, all poultry, seafood, and meats can be frozen. Make sure to separate into appropriate portions to simplify thawing. Raw meats and poultry may be marinated before freezing. Proper storage bags or containers should be used to prevent freezer burn.
Tofu and Tempeh
Although it will slightly change the texture tofu is a great candidate for the freezer. Thawed tofu might be slightly more crumbly, rather than dense, but after the prep work is done and the tofu is seasoned or cooked, most people do not mind the slight difference in texture.
Ice cream desserts are obvious choices for freezing, but many cakes, cookies, and pies can be frozen without negative effects. It is better to freeze cookies and cakes without icing, but some buttercream icings will survive in the freezer.
The best way to freeze foods safely is in professional grade cold food storage containers.