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Articles for Cooking >> FREEZING

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Freezing Prepared Foods

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Packaging Materials:

Materials used for packaging foods for freezing should keep the air out and the moisture in so select containers that are moisture - vapor resistant or the food will dry out.

Waxed papers, household aluminum foil and cartons for cottage cheese and ice cream are not suitable, because they are not moisture-vapor-resistant.

Select a size that will hold enough vegetable or fruit for a meal for your family.

Select containers that pack easily into a little space.

Consider cost of containers and if they are reuseable, or not. If they are reuseable, a high initail cost may be justified.

Rigid containers are made of aluminum, glass, plastic, tin or heavily waxed cardboard. They can be used for vegetables, fruits, cooked foods or liquids.

Non-Rigid containers - as sheets and bags of cellophane, heavy aluminum foil, plastic film, polyethylene or laminated paper are used for foods that are firm but irregulary shaped, like poultry, meat, and baked goods.

Bags are generally used inside cartons as moisture resistant liners.

There is no economy in using poor quality packaging materials.

Fill packages carefully, allowing for the necessary head space for the particular kind of food. Force or draw out as much air as possible, seal tightly, label, freeze immediately and store at 0~ F or lower.

Foods should be frozen in amounts which will ordinarily be eaten in one meal. To treat light colored fruits to prevent darkening, use ascorbic acid. When freezing fruit in sugar syrup, add 1/2 teaspoon ascorbic acid for each quart syrup. When freezing fruit in dry sugar, sprinkle ascorbic acid dissolved in water over fruit before adding sugar. Use 1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid in 1/4 cup cold water to each quart of fruit.

Freezing prepared foods may not save time. It may allow time to be used to better advantage.

General Information:

Prepare the dish as if it were to be served right away, but do not cook quite done. Reheating for serving will finish the cooking.

Cheese or crumb toppings are best added when the food is reheated for serving.

Pastry crumbs frozen unbaked are more tender, and flaky and have a fresher flavor than those baked and then frozen.

Cool the cooked food quickly. Pour out in shallow pans or place the uncovered pan of food in iced or very cold water; change uater to keep it cold. As soon as the food is cool - 60~ F or less, pack promptly into moisture-vapor-resistant containers or packaging material. Pack tightly to force out as much air as possible.

To have the food in desired amounts for serving and for quicker defrosting, separate servings with 2 pieces freezer paper.

Since many main dishes are semi-liquid it is desirable to pack them in rigid containers. Foods frozen in containers with wide-mouthed openings do not have to be thawed completely to remove from container.

Some main dishes may be frozen in th containers in which they were baked.

Freezer weight foil (.0015 gauge) may be used to line the baking dish or pan. After the main dish is frozen (unwrapped) in this container, remove from the baking dish and package. The food may be reheated by slipping it and the foil into the baking pan.

Allow headspace for freezing liquid and semi-liquid foods. Seal, label, freeze quickly and store at 0~ F or lower.

Most precooked, frozen, main dishes are reheated either in the oven or on top of the range. Reheating in the oven takes little attention and usually preserves the texture of the food better. Reheating on top of the range in a double boiler or a saucepan is faster. When using a double boiler, start with warm, not hot, water in the lower pan so the food won't stick. Food reheated over direct heat needs to be stirred. This stirring may give a less desirable texture.

f partial thawing is necessary, before the food can be removed from the package, place in lukewarm water for a few minutes. Complete thawing should be done in the refrigerator. If it takes more than 3 or 4 hours, thawing at room temperature may cause dangerous spoilage.

It is best not to freeze meat pies and turnovers unbaked. You can use any good meat loaf recipe for freezing. Just make enough for several meals instead of one and freeze the extra loaves.

Nuts are likely to discolor and become bitter when frozen in a salad mixture.









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