Freezing

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Advantages of freezing home-prepared foods:

Disadvantages include:

Preparing to freeze

Freezing Basics, for information on the freezing process, including packaging. Refer to specific food items that follow for information on preparing, thawing and using prepared foods and recommended length of freezer storage time at 0°F or lower. Foods will still be safe to eat after the recommended storage time if the freezer temperature has been kept at 0 degrees F; however, quality will be lower.

Thawing and preparing

Most main dishes can be reheated with or without thawing.

Note: Thawing of foods containing meat, fish, poultry, eggs or dairy products must be done in the refrigerator, and these foods must be kept chilled until reheated.

There is no absolute rule as to how long frozen main dishes such as casseroles should be reheated. If no time is given in this guide, these tips may help: Use the oven setting at which the dish was originally cooked. Start with less than double the original cooking time. For example, if a casserole was originally cooked for 30 minutes, start with about 50 minutes from the frozen state, but check it carefully toward the end of the 50 minutes to prevent overcooking. Appearance is a good clue for casserole-type dishes. Their edges should be bubbling and the center should be hot.

For speedy reheating of foods such as noodle casseroles or creamy foods without excessive stirring, heat in a double boiler. Start with warm, not hot, water in the lower pan to prevent food from sticking and becoming mushy. Partial thawing in the refrigerator will speed up the heating process and result in more even heat penetration.

Microwave ovens do an excellent job of reheating frozen prepared foods without that "warmed over" flavor. Refer to individual manufacturer's directions for times.

Because of their low water content, most baked goods, except fruit pies, thaw rapidly. It is safe to thaw baked goods, except those with filling, at room temperature. Keep baked products in their original wrapping to prevent drying out and to keep moisture from condensing on the surface.

How to Freeze Eggs

Baked products and doughs :

Baked quick breads:Biscuits Prepare and bake until light brown. Cool, package and freeze. To serve hot, heat unthawed at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes. Freezer storage time: 2 to 3 months. Frozen unbaked biscuits are smaller and less tender when baked.

Quick breads (Nut, fruit, coffeecake and gingerbread) Prepare and bake as usual. Cool, package and freeze. Thaw in wrapping at room temperature. Slice fruit and nut breads while still partially frozen to avoid crumbling. Freezer storage time: 2 to 4 months.

Muffins Prepare and bake as usual. Cool, package and freeze. Thaw in wrapping at room temperature for one hour. Or, heat unthawed at 300°F for 20 minutes. Freezer storage time: 6 to 12 months. Frozen unbaked muffins have a poor texture when baked.

Waffles Prepare batter as usual and bake to a light brown. Cool, and package with a double sheet of freezer paper between them for easy removal. Freeze. Reheat without thawing in a toaster, under a broiler or on a baking sheet in a 400°F oven for 2 to 3 minutes. Freezer storage time: 1 to 2 months.

Doughnuts Prepare as usual. Cool, package and freeze. Yeast doughnuts freeze better than cake-type. Glaze soaks into doughnuts when frozen and thawed, so apply glaze just before serving. Thaw in wrapping at room temperature. Freezer storage time: 3 to 4 weeks.

Yeast breads:Bread, coffeecake and rolls (baked) Prepare as usual. Cool, package and freeze. Thaw at room temperature. Freezer storage time: 3 months for baked and 6 to 8 months for partially baked.

Brown and serve rolls Prepare as usual, but let rise slightly less after shaping. Bake at 275°F for 20 minutes. Do not brown. Cool, package and freeze. Thaw in wrapping at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees F for 5 to 10 minutes or until light brown. If undercrust is too moist, bake on cooling rack instead of baking sheet. Length of freezer storage: 6 to 8 months.




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