Freezing food is a great idea for families and is very suitable for a working woman’s lifestyle. This is especially important during the month of Ramadan. Frozen foods can reduce time spent in the kitchen, all it takes is some time to heat it up.
There are a few things to consider when freezing food:
● It is best to freeze food the same day it is cooked in 0˚ or less in order to preserve it shape, taste and color.
● Let the hot food cool down until the steam runs out or you can place the food in an ice bath to speed up the cooling process.
● Use proper sized kitchenware and freezer safe bags. Let out the air and seal the bags.
● Avoid using glass in the freezer because they break when frozen.
● Leave space on top of the food containers while the food freezes so it does not fall apart.
● Portion out the food in proper meal sizes based on the number of people eating instead of freezing it in one big portion. This is to avoid the bacteria buildup that happens from taking it out then refreezing the rest.
● Write the name of the food and the date it was frozen to keep it organized and help you later on.
● Make sure there is space between meals rather than having a piled mess. This will allow the cold air to get to the food for a faster freezing process.
Freezer safe foods and healthy ways to freeze them:
● Vegetables should be washed, cut and placed in boiling water with salt for five minutes then cooled. Once cooled, separate into bags used for vegetables such as broccoli and carrots.
● Fruits should be washed well and cut up then separated to be used for juices.
● Meat should be cleared from fat and most of the bones. Get rid of moisture for it to stay fresh.
● Big fish should be cut up into smaller manageable pieces and placed in water, which will later freeze into a block keeping the fish fresh and help eliminate the odor.
● Nut should be placed in bags in the freezer.
● Pasta and pastries should already be 100% cooked through. The sauce should be readily available in large quantities. Pastries such as samboosa should already contain its filing and be ready for cooking.
● Onions, garlic and parsley should be washed, dried and cut up to be placed in bags. You could also create cubes of onions and garlic.
Foods not suitable for freezing:
● Eggs whether boiled, fried, raw or was an essential ingredient in any sauce.
● Yogurts tend to separate when frozen.
● Creams of any sort change in structure when frozen.
● Crunchy vegetables get soggy and lose its color when frozen, especially cucumbers.
● Any crunchy foods become soggy when frozen.
How to defrost and refreeze properly:
● You can use a microwave or keep it in the fridge.
● You can refreeze food that has been defrosted in the fridge and has been out of the freezer for less than two days.
● You can also refreeze food that you have cooked after defrosting only in the fridge, the microwave may expose it to unwanted bacteria.