Timeline for freezing foods:
Bacon: 1 to 2 months
Breads: 2 to 3 months
Casseroles: 2 to 3 months
Cooked beef and pork: 2 to 3 months
Cooked poultry: 4 months
Cookie dough: 3 months
Fruit: 8 to 12 months
Frozen dinners: 3 to 4 months
Hot dogs: 1 to 2 months
Lunch meats: 1 to 2 months
Sausage: 1 to 2 months
Soups and stews: 2 to 3 months
Uncooked chicken (parts): 9 months
Uncooked chicken (whole): 1 year
Uncooked steaks, chops, or roasts: 4 to 12 months
Uncooked ground meat: 3 to 4 months
Vegetables: 8 to 12 months
Tips for freezing foods:
- Put foods in the freezer as soon as possible after you purchase them or get them from your garden. It preserves the quality and will be better when you defrost.
- Make sure you label the foods you plan to freeze so you know how long they have been in the freezer.
- Don't thaw foods on the kitchen counter. It is a breeding ground for bacteria. Place in the refrigerator, in a cold water bath, or in the microwave.
- If you freeze in glass containers, make sure it is tempered so it doesn't break.
- You can freeze most foods but, should stay away from freezing eggs. The shell can crack and let in bacteria. - You can freeze mayonnaise, cream sauces, and lettuce, but their quality will not be the same after you thaw them.
- Cool cooked foods down before freezing so they freeze faster, which helps preserve quality.
- You can freeze meat in its original packaging, but if you want to store it for long periods of time, add an additional layer of packaging, such as plastic wrap or bags.
Foods that you shouldn't freeze, and do not thaw well:
Cabbage, celery, cress, cucumbers, endive, lettuce, parsley, radishes
Irish potatoes, baked or boiled
Cooked macaroni, spaghetti or rice
Icings made from egg whites
Cream or custard fillings
Mayonnaise or salad dressing
How to freeze fresh produce:
A tip to freezing fresh fruit is to spread out the cleaned, dried, and prepared (cut up) pieces of fruit on cookie sheets and place in freezer. Once the individual pieces of fruit are frozen, you can combine and put in freezer bags. Some people prefer to pack fruits in sugar or sugar syrup to help preserve texture and flavor.
Vegetables usually need to be blanched (boiled or steamed for a short time) before freezing if you want to maintain flavor, color, and texture. Blanching times vary depending on the vegetable.