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Freezer Tips

Filed Under:
Publication Number: P3606
View as PDF: P3606.pdf

Helping Mississippians live happier, healthier lives! 

Selection and Storage

Fruits and Vegetables

  • Freeze from fresh:
    • When buying in bulk
    • When growing your own
  • When buying frozen:
    • Choose vegetables without sauces or seasonings
    • Choose fruits without added sugar or syrup

Meats, Poultry, and Seafood

  • Freeze from fresh:
    • When buying in bulk
    • When processing your own
  • When buying frozen:
    • Choose lean
    • Avoid sauces or seasonings

Leftover Dishes

  • Cook once, then freeze for multiple meals.
  • Divide into small portions.
  • Store in shallow containers or plastic bags with air removed.
  • Label and date.

Safety

Temperature

  • Keep freezer temperature at 0ºF or below.

Tips

  • Keep the freezer door open only as long or often as necessary.
  • Return food items that need to remain frozen to the freezer as quickly as possible.
  • Do not overcrowd your freezer. Open space and circulating cold air are needed for food to properly freeze.
  • Place foods you plan to freeze in small containers so they will freeze faster.

Thaw Food Safely

  • Refrigerator
    • Slow method
    • Move from freezer to refrigerator to thaw
  • Cold water
    • Faster method
    • Place in a leak-proof bag and immerse in cold water
    • Change water every 30 minutes until done thawing
    • Cook immediately once thawed
  • Microwave
    • Quick method
    • Cook immediately once thawed

Storage Times

Food Item

Months

Bacon and sausage

1–2

Butter

12

Casseroles

2–3

Cheese

2–3

Egg white or egg substitutes

12

Fish, cooked

1

Fish, fresh

3–6

Frozen dinners and entrees

3–4

Fruits

2–3

Gravy, meat or poultry

2–3

Ham, hotdogs, and lunchmeats

1–2

Ice cream

2–3

Meat, uncooked roasts

4–12

Meat, uncooked steaks or chops

4–12

Meat, uncooked ground

3–4

Meat, cooked

2–3

Poultry, uncooked whole

12

Poultry, uncooked parts

9

Poultry, uncooked giblets

3–4

Poultry, cooked

4

Soups and stews

2–3

Vegetables

8–12

Wild game, uncooked

8–12

Do Not Freeze

Freezing can cause changes in flavor, texture, and appearance. Some foods do not freeze well at all.

Do not freeze these:

  • Lettuce or salad greens
  • Mayonnaise
  • Cream sauces
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cream cheese
  • Sour cream
  • Hard cooked or shelled eggs

For More Information

fsis.usda.gov

food.unl.edu

Publication 3606 (POD-05-21)

By Samantha Willcutt, Regional Registered Dietitian, Extension Northeast Region; and Carly Terp, Extension Associate, Office of Nutrition Education.

Department: Nutrition Education
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Authors

Portrait of Ms. Samantha Ann Willcutt
Regional Registered Dietitian
Nutrition

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