Circular 150 July 1956
Florida Agricultural Extension Service
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U, 5b FREEZING
FREEZING PREPARED FOODS
By LENA E. STURGES
Assistant Food Conservation Economist
Good freezer management will allow space for prepared foods in limited
amounts and for short storage periods. The freezer should not be used
as a storage space for left-overs alone. For the sake of convenience, if
not for economy, foods which require long cooking time may be prepared
in quantity and placed in the freezer for quick preparation on short notice.
Plan to use the freezer for prepared foods when it is not filled with
fruits, vegetables, or meats.
Prepared foods must be wrapped or packaged in the same type mois-
ture-vapor-proof paper or containers used for other type foods to be
frozen. This is necessary to prevent the food from drying out in freezer
Date all packages and check to see that the food is not kept in the
freezer beyond the recommended storage period.
Points to Remember When Preparing or
Cooking Foods for Freezers
1. Select raw materials of the highest quality, at the right stage of
maturity, and adaptable for freezing (some foods do not freeze well).
2. Avoid over-cooking if food is to be heated for serving.
3. Wrap carefully after food has been thoroughly cooled. Exclude
all air from the package; use air-tight wrapping paper.
4. Package the amount to be used at one meal. Do not re-freeze any
prepared food after it has been thawed.
5. Date your package and do not leave in freezer too long.
6. Use the right methods for thawing and heating food before serving
it to your family.
Some Foods Do Not Freeze Well
Some food do not freeze well or do not have the quality of the fresh
product. Check this list and compare with the recipe you are using to
see that you have not included foods which do not freeze well. In many
recipes the food which does not freeze well can be left out and added to
the food as it is being heated for serving. It is well to remember that
some foods take less time to cook and add than to thaw and re-heat.
These foods do not freeze well:
1. Most fried meats (lose crispness and have a warmed-over taste).
2. Sauces and gravies (sometimes separate in freezing).
3. Cooked egg whites (become tough in freezing).
4. Potatoes (become soft and mushy-not as good as fresh potatoes).
Exception: French fried, baked stuffed potatoes or new potatoes.
5. Cloves, onion, garlic and black pepper (become stronger and some-
times bitter when frozen).
6. Salt and chili powder (lose strength; better to add usual amount
and add more when re-heating).
7. Jelly, mayonnaise, or salad dressing in sandwiches (soak into bread
and make sandwiches soggy).
8. Lettuce, salad greens and raw tomatoes.
9. Macaroni, spaghetti and some rice (has a warmed-over flavor and
often is mushy).
10. Fats (separate in gravies, stews, etc., and cause food to become
11. Meringue (toughens and sticks to wrapping).
12. Synthetic vanilla (gives an off-flavor).
13. Macaroons and similar cookies.
14. Seven-minute and similar cake frostings.
15. Custards and custard-type fillings.
Foods Which Do Freeze Well
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Quick breads may be frozen before or after baking, but the quality
is better if frozen after baking. Storage life of unbaked breads is shorter
and they do not rise as well and are less tender when baked. Unbaked
biscuits and muffins should not be stored longer than one month; baked
ones may be stored two or three months. To thaw, unwrap and heat at
3000 F. for 20 minutes.
Yeast breads may be frozen baked or unbaked, but the baked bread
is of better quality. If frozen in the dough state, bread may not rise as
much and crusts will be dry and tough. When freezing unbaked dough,
add a little extra sugar. To freeze, put in airtight containers.
Baked rolls and yeast breads freeze very successfully. Dry yeast is
recommended for bread to be frozen. Cool quickly, wrap, and freeze. To
make brown-and-serve rolls, partially bake the rolls at 2750 F. for 20
minutes. Cool and wrap. To finish cooking, thaw at room temperature,
unwrap, and place on baking sheets. Grease surface of rolls if dry. Bake
at 4000 F. for 15 minutes.
To thaw unbaked dough-thaw at room temperature, shape if neces-
sary. Allow to rise and bake as usual.
Unbaked breads can be stored only four to six weeks; baked breads
can be kept frozen for as long as one year, but three months is recommended.
Butter cakes can be frozen either before or after baking, but are better
if frozen after baking. Butter, or even better, a combination of butter
and vegetable shortening, gives the cake a better flavor. To freeze, cool
quickly, wrap unfrosted cake in aluminum foil or similar paper, with paper
between the layers. If then placed in a box, there is less likelihood of
Sponge cakes and angel food cakes are better if frozen after baking,
and may be stored up to one year if properly wrapped. Use frozen cakes
soon after thawing, since they tend to dry out faster than freshly baked
Baked cookies should be packaged in cellophane bags and sealed, or
put into rigid containers, which are air-tight. Much less freezer space is
required by freezing the cookie dough. Refrigerator cookies are especially
good frozen before baking.
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In freezing combination main dishes (stews, meat balls and tomato
sauce, meat loaves, etc.) use only top quality ingredients. Cook the meat
and vegetables until barely tender to avoid over-cooking when re-heating.
Use a small amount of fat to avoid rancidity. Omit potatoes, macaroni,
and spaghetti until ready to serve, or the product will be slightly mushy.
In rice dishes, use the "converted" rice rather than the quick cooking or
regular rice. Cook rice just until the hard center disappears.
Put in rigid containers which can be sealed air-tight. Put just enough
for one meal in each container, and do not re-freeze. Food must be cooled
quickly and put into freezer immediately.
Whenever possible, heat combination dishes quickly from the solidly
frozen state in a double boiler or casserole.
For more information on and recipes for combination main dishes, get
a copy of Home and Garden Bulletin No. 40, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture,
Freezing Combination Main Dishes, from your County Home Demonstra-
Uncooked butter and confectioner's sugar frosting, or cooked candy
type frosting-like fudge or penuche, is recommended for freezing. Soft
frostings, boiled icings, and custard fillings cannot be frozen successfully.
Fruit pies are the most successful frozen. Custard cream pies become
curdled, lumpy, or watery, and are not recommended for freezing. Me-
ringue should not be frozen, for it toughens and sticks to the wrapping.
Pie frozen unbaked has a fresher flavor and crisper crust, but pies are
equally as good, in most cases, if baked and cooled before freezing.
Special precautions should be taken to avoid soggy under-crust. Roll
very thin and brush with melted fat or unbeaten egg white before adding
filling. The under-crust may be frozen before adding the filling. Freeze
pies, then wrap. A paper plate inverted over the top protects the pie.
Then wrap in heavy paper. Do not leave pies in freezer longer than three
Do not cut steam vents in top of uncooked crusts until after they are
taken from the freezer for baking.
Pumpkin, squash, mince or sweet potato fillings take less space than
the pies. Freeze in rigid containers. Thaw just enough to spread in the
I Frozen fruit salads are the best kind to freeze. Use only fruits that
Freeze well. Nuts sometimes darken and become bitter. Mayonnaise,
- .- salad dressing, or gelatin can be frozen more successfully if cream cheese
or whipped cream is added to the mixture.
Avoid the use of apples and grapes in fruit salads. Some cut fruit
may need the addition of sugar or sugar syrup to keep the fresh flavor
- Salads may be frozen in ice trays or in individual molds. Use within
Four to six weeks. Serve frozen fruit salads while still partially frozen.
Raw vegetables in salads lose their crispness, flavor and color in the
I freezing process.
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Sandwiches may be successfully frozen if the filling is meat, fish,
cheese, cooked egg yolk or peanut butter. Mayonnaise or jelly used in
sandwiches tend to make the bread soggy.
Day-old bread is best for sandwiches. Spread bread with soft (not
melted) butter to prevent sogginess.
Wrap in moisture-vapor-proof paper if they are to be kept frozen longer
than one week. Double thicknesses of household wax paper give adequate
protection for one week. Do not store the sandwiches longer than three
months in the freezer.
When freezing sandwiches, keep them away from side walls or bottom
of the freezer. This is contrary to the freezing procedure for most foods.
This contact causes large ice crystals to form in the bread, which causes
sogginess when thawed.
COOPERATIVE EXTENSION WORK IN AGRICULTURE AND HOME ECONOMICS
(Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914)
Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida
Florida State University and United States Department of Agriculture, Cooperating
M. O. Watkia, Director