1. Rotate your inventory
Fresh or frozen, all foods are best used as soon as possible. Be sure to use oldest items first to keep your inventory fresh.
2. Early birds
Once fruits and vegetables have been picked, their enzymes start converting sugars into starches. It’s worth the extra effort to blanch and freeze fresh produce the day you buy it.
3. Thaw slowly
The best way to thaw frozen foods is in the refrigerator overnight.
Forget to do that? Immerse frozen foods in their containers in cold water, changing the water until the foods reach room temperature.
Soups, sauces, and stews can be heated slowly, covered, until they come to a boil. Remember to stir often.
4. Label it
Once frozen, it’s often hard to tell what that rock-solid container holds. Labeling packages with the contents and the date helps identify them. It also helps you keep your freezer stock properly rotated.
5. Let it cool
If you’re freezing hot food, be sure to let it cool before you pop it in the freezer. Otherwise, it will raise the temps in the freezer, and the food will not freeze uniformly.
“The Food Lab: How to Preserve Fresh Spring and Summer Produce” by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, www.seriouseats.com, 5/20/13
“New Year’s Freezer Guide: What to Buy” by Allison Fishman, www.saveur.com, 1/22/10
Personal communication: Chef Michael Brown, 1/14
“Smart Tips for Stocking Your Freezer” by Tracey Seaman and Tanya Wenman Steel, www.epicurious.com, 2008
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