Three Effective Kitchen Hacks for Frozen Foods
With today’s fast-paced lifestyles, frozen foods have become an invaluable part of a busy kitchen! Freezers can be a source of great joy and enormous convenience, if you store the right foods in it and cook them in the correct way. Here are some easy, fool-proof ways to manage frozen foods:
Defrosting frozen food
The easiest way to defrost frozen food is to let it thaw in the refrigerator. But you may be waiting for longer durations, as it takes almost a full day to thaw a small amount of frozen food in the refrigerator. An alternative which is much faster is cold water thawing. You can submerge the bag in cold tap water to thaw it, and the food will defrost in an hour or less. While this is more convenient, don’t use hot water as that can cause the outer layer of the food to heat up to a temperature where harmful bacteria begins to multiply. Once the food is thawed completely, you’ll need to cook it immediately. The third way to defrost is to use a microwave – this is the fastest way to unfreeze your food before cooking.
Freezing Fresh Food
Not everyone knows that most food bought at a grocery store is meant for fresh consumption, not frozen storage. If you would like to freeze fresh foods, you need to prepare them with proper storage techniques. If you freeze fresh meat in their packaging, you invite bacteria and air into the bags which can quickly deteriorate the quality of your food when it thaws. Always remove packaging and rewrap everything you plan to freeze in freezer-safe bags or wraps. Remove as much air as possible from these packages before you put it into the freezer.
Vegetables on the other hand need to be blanched and dried before freezing. Water on a vegetable invites bacteria, freezer burn, and sogginess when it thaws. Similarly for fruits, wash them before freezing, as it may be too soft to wash when it thaws, so you want to know it’s clean before you eat it. Of course, the simplest way to avoid packaging concerns and the hassle of re-packaging is to buy readily frozen foods.
Managing Shelf Life
Properly freezing and storing foods in the freezer ensures a longer shelf life and less food in the trash. But many times freezers get stocked without you realizing that these products also have an expiry date. Keep checking your freezer at regular intervals to ensure you don’t have foods frozen for too long. An appropriate amount of time to keep frozen foods would be up to two months, or until the expiry date. A great hack is to store foods closer to expiry towards the front of the freezer where you can see them. You can also label the packs with the date of freezing just so you don’t lose track of how long the food has been in the freezer.
So go ahead and stock your fridge this festive season and make the most out of all the frozen foods available to you!