How Long Can I Freeze Food?

Lots of people wonder how long can you store food items. When I first started to stockpile and saw the savings piling up, and my freezer filling up I wondered the same thing. I mean, I did not want to go through the coupon cutting, list making and store shopping to get the great deals, if the food I got was only going to spoil in the freezer. So I did some research. I gathered most of my information right from the source..the USDA and their Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS). I figure if its good enough for the USDA its good enough for me!

What Food Can You Freeze?

You can freeze almost any food. Some exceptions are canned food or eggs in shells. However, once the food (such as a ham) is out of the can, or the eggs out of the shell, you can freeze them.

Being able to freeze food and being pleased with the quality after defrosting are two different things. Some foods simply don't freeze well. Examples are mayonnaise, cream sauce and lettuce. Raw meat and poultry maintain their quality longer than cooked meats because moisture is lost during cooking.
Freshness and quality at the time of freezing affect the condition of frozen foods. So freeze items you won't use quickly sooner rather than later.

To Re-Wrap Or Not To Re-Wrap...That Is The Question

Proper packaging helps maintain quality and prevent "freezer burn." Freezer burn does not make food unsafe, just dry in spots. It's safe to cut freezer-burned portions away before or after cooking the food. It is safe to freeze meat or poultry directly in its supermarket wrapping but this type of wrap is permeable to air. Unless you will be using the food within a month, you will need to re-wrap these packages with another air tight method. Air is the culprit that causes freezer burn.

Tips For Properly Freezing/Re-Freezing Your Food:

  • Never stack packages to be frozen. Lay them out on different shelves until frozen, and then stack them.
  • Freeze food as fast as possible to maintain its quality.
  • Once food is thawed, it is safe to refreeze it without cooking, although there may be a loss of quality due to the moisture lost through defrosting.
  • If previously cooked foods are thawed in the refrigerator, you can refreeze the unused portion safely.
  • Previously frozen meat, poultry or fish can be refrozen if it has been handled properly.
  • Frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. Freezer storage is for quality only.

How Long Can I Freeze Food?
* chart and information gathered from www.fsis.usda.gov



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