Freezer myths debunked: what can and can't be frozen?
Can you freeze cooked rice? You might be surprised!
25 Jun 2021
Did you know that the UK throws away 6.7 million tons of food every year? Not only is that terrible for the environment but it also works out at up to £400 per household. Ouch.
But there’s no need to throw away food when most people have a freezer in their house. But there are also a lot of myths out there about what you can and can’t freeze. And this puts people off increasing the shelf life of their food.
So, to encourage people to make more of their ice boxes, we’ve put together a myth busting guide about what you can and can’t freeze. And even if you consider yourself a regular Captain Birdseye, we bet you’ll find something on the list that surprises you!
What can I freeze?
The truth is that you can freeze almost anything. From chicken breasts to fish, from veg to ready meals. So, while we’re not going to list everything you can put in the freezer, here are some that you might not have thought possible…
Food close to its sell by date
While the best advice is “freeze on day of purchase” there’s no reason you can’t freeze things that might otherwise go in the bin. The freezing process hits the pause button. And while it won’t last in there forever, it will buy you some time while you organise that meal planner.
Loaves of bread
Ever see loads of delicious discounted loaves and bagels in the supermarket but know you’ll never get round to eating them? You can actually freeze entire loaves and then heat them back up in the oven for a super crusty finish!
Obvious, right? But wait. If you’re making the pasta to batch freeze, make sure it’s slightly undercooked. When you reheat it in the microwave it’ll come out perfectly cooked.
Storing frozen ground coffee works well and keeps its freshness. Just make sure it’s stored in an airtight freezer bag or solid Tupperware container – or the coffee will absorb other food smells in your freezer. Pizza-cino anyone?
Whether it’s passata or pesto, big batches of sauce can be portioned up into freezer bags or tupperware for later scarfing. Future you will be ever so grateful.
Dough can be temperamental at the best of times, so you’d think freezing would be out? You’d be surprised. As long as your dough has risen and is ready to be baked, it’s does just fine freezing. Then defrost and bake as usual.
If you’ve ever bought a herb plant from the supermarket only to use a bit and guilty watch it wilt, you’ll be relieved to hear that most common herbs are totally freezable. The best idea is to wash them, pat them dry and chop. Then they can go into labelled freezer bags. Alternatively, you can put your chopped herbs into ice cube trays with a little water. Voila! Instant herb cubes you can add straight to your sauces.
P.S. There are some other amazing things you can do with ice cube trays.
Surprising right? Lots of us assume that this a no-no but cooked rice is fine to freeze as long as you do it quickly after it’s been cooked.
Lemons and limes
Not only do these freeze well, but (if you cut them into wedges first) they’re something very special in a cold drink. That’s code for gin n tonic.
What can’t I freeze?
There’s only one real no-no. If you’ve defrosted food and reheated it, don’t freeze it again. This can get dangerous as you’re aiding the build up of harmful bacteria and potentially other nasties. It’s good to remember that freezing doesn’t kill bacteria. It just puts it into hibernation.
Otherwise it’s really more a case of shouldn’t. The truth is that you can freeze just about anything. But should you? Some food doesn’t defrost well, so it will lose its quality and won’t be very palatable.
If you go ahead and freeze lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, you’ll find they get really soggy when they’re defrosted. Well worth thinking about when you put lettuce in fajitas and then freeze them. You might not like what you bite in to!
While you can initially freeze veg, you’ll find it might disintegrate when being defrosted – especially if it has a high water content. If you’ve had a roast dinner microwave meal, you’ll know how slushy the broccoli can get!
Got leftover stir fry? Then it’s best to have it for lunch tomorrow. Trust us. Defrosted and reheated beansprouts? Yeesh!
It’s totally possible to freeze cream, but it can curdle while thawing out – so best avoided. This is definitely worth thinking about before you go ahead and freeze food with cream in the recipe – i.e. soup or desserts. The same goes for mayo.
While you can freeze eggs white just fine, egg yolks are unstable and will totally lose their yum factor. (Scientific term.)
These are likely to explode in your freezer so don’t even try!
Want to keep waste to a minimum? Find out more ways to keep food fresh.