The freezer does so much more than just make ice. It is a great tool when it comes to planning ahead and preparing meals in advance, which is incredibly helpful on those busy days. However, while it does help you plan ahead and also help keep foods at their peak before they spoil, there are foods that are not good choices for freezing. Keeping the wrong foods in the freezer can lead to inedible meals and even health risks. Here are 16 foods you should never put in your freezer.
Milk, unfortunately, is one of those items that shouldn’t be placed in your freezer. The milk can separate into chunks and can have watery parts when thawed. While it is safe to consume, it’s not exactly the best consistency for your coffee or cereals.
Since potatoes have a high water content, after they are stored in a freezer, you can be left with a mushy and soft potato. Who wants that? Instead, if you’re cooking a meal with these delicious veggies and are hoping to freeze the leftovers, you can go for it! The texture change of cooking the potato can help with freezing.
14. Fried Foods
Too bad for those mozzarella sticks you love so much! Foods that are fried can lose all their tasty texture, as the crunch can disappear if you were to put the leftover in the freezer. If you’re making a batch of home-cooked chicken nuggets and plan to store them in the freezer, you should consider skipping the fryer and instead try to bake the meal in the oven first.
13. Eggs in Their Shell
If you’re looking for a way to keep eggs in their shells longer, you should definitely avoid the use of a freezer. The water inside the egg expands when frozen, which can cause the outer shell to crack and become susceptible to bacteria. If you want to freeze eggs, then be sure to first take them out of their shell, beat them until fully blended and store them in an airtight container.
12. Soft Cheese
Storing soft cheese in your freezer will produce similar results as storing milk. When it comes time to eat them, you’ll be eating watery lumps, which can often ruin the texture of foods like cream cheese, sour cream, and ricotta.Related: 23 Frozen Foods You Should Never Buy
11. Raw Veggies and Fruits
Many vegetables and fruits are known to have high amounts of water, such as celery, cucumbers, salad greens, and watermelons, all of which will not be able to survive in the freezer because of the water inside them. Instead, you will see that they quickly form crystals.
10. Crumb-Topped Meals or Desserts
Let’s say you’ve cooked a delicious macaroni and cheese meal that’s perfectly topped with crispy crumble and you have leftovers. While you might be inclined to stash it in the freezer, you shouldn’t, as the meal will meet the same fate as fried foods. When crumb-topped meals and desserts are exposed to cold temperatures in the freezer, you’ll be left with a soggy, soft mush of a meal.
9. Previously Defrosted Meat
If you pulled steaks out of the freezer to cook for dinner, but unfortunately (as tends to happen to most of us) never get to cook them, avoid tossing them back into the freezer. Frozen and thawed foods can attract harmful bacteria faster than meat that hasn’t been in the freezer. It is best to instead cook the meat fully and then eat it or put it back in the freezer.Related: Choose These 10 Fresh Foods Over Frozen to Uplift Your Health
There is absolutely nothing dangerous about freezing a tub of yogurt before it reaches its expiration date. It in no way affects the healthy live and active cultures. However, the damage happens when it’s thawed. After being thawed, the yogurt loses its creaminess and becomes grainy.
Although you won’t get sick from eating thawed out leftover pasta, you will probably not enjoy it, as the pasta will likely get mushy when you remove it from the freezer. You might have better luck with noodles that are cooked al dente.
Since you probably don’t want mushy pasta, it is likely you won’t want mushy rice either. Which is why cooked rice should never be kept in the freezer. It isn’t dangerous to eat, but it will lose its taste and texture.
You should resist the temptation of stocking up on mayo, even though your grocery store is having a killer sale, because freezing these extra jars will do no one any favors. When mayo thaws after being frozen, it will separate and take on a clumpy texture.
Leftover gravy is a very problematic thing to have in your kitchen. Although it tastes delicious, it’s only able to last at the very most two days in your fridge. To complicate matters, cream and milk-based gravies won’t hold up nicely in the freezer, as they’ll separate and turn lumpy when thawed.
Frosting that is egg white-based is not meant to be kept in the freezer, as it will lose its fluffiness and start to “weep,” also known as emitting liquid, once it thaws. The same should be applied to meringue, which is also derives from egg whites.
There are cooks who believe freezing extra garlic before the cloves start sprouting is okay, stating that one should coat whole cloves or pureed, peeled cloves in a neutral-flavored oil before freezing. However, the National Center for Home Food Preservation warns against this, as garlic tends to get too strong and bitter once it’s frozen.
There are also certain spices that you should avoid tossing into the freezer. Onion and paprika can have an altered flavor, celery seasoning will get stronger, and curry can develop a musty off-flavor, per the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Similar to garlic, green pepper, cloves, and imitation vanilla can become strong and bitter when frozen.Related: 4 Mistakes When Cooking Frozen Vegetables