Month: March 2013

Salads

Can you freeze potato salad?

Can you freeze potato salad? That’s a question quite a few people ask themselves. Is there anything one can do to store a potato salad for more than typical 3 to 5 days? Freezing it seems to be the first thing that comes to mind. Once can certainly freeze potato salad, but will it be edible after thawing? Unfortunately, potato salad doesn’t freeze well. If you’d like to prepare a potato-based dish and freeze it, I suggest you check out mashed potatoes. Mashed potatoes freeze much better than potato salad. A potato salad is made of quite a few ingredients, and some of them (like mayo, boiled eggs or potatoes) don’t freeze particularly well. If you’ll combine few ingredients that don’t freeze well, chances are the outcome won’t freeze well as well. That’s the case with potato salad.

If you wish, you can try freezing potato salad, but in most cases you won’t be satisfied with the results you’ll get at all. Potatoes will get soggy and the mayo will separate. If you really want to do that, make sure you’ll freeze the salad in an airtight container (make sure you leave some head space) or in a freezer bag. Don’t forget to seal it tightly. and don’t store it in the freezer for too long, as it doesn’t help with keeping the consistency of the salad anywhere near its original texture.

Corned beef on rye
(credit: jeffreyw)

Fruit

Can you Freeze Watermelon?

I you’ve ever wondered “hmm, can you freeze watermelon?“, you’re in the right place to find the answer. Watermelons, similarly to other fruit, once cut, won’t stay fresh in the fridge for a long time. That’s why people think about freezing watermelons, so they can use them a couple of weeks or even months later. That’s also the case if one would like to use this fruit when watermelon is not in season. Is that even possible and does it really make sense to freeze watermelon? Read on if you would like to know answers to those questions.

Freezing watermelon – important information

The first thing you need to know is that watermelon can be frozen, but it will become mushy when thawed. If you’ll decide to freeze this fruit, you need to be aware of that.

Is this a reason one should not freeze watermelons? It depends. If you would like to freeze it and thaw a couple of weeks down the road to eat it raw, it’s not a good idea. You won’t be satisfied with the texture of thawed watermelon. But, if you would like to use it as an ingredient in a prepared dish or drink (smoothie, sorbet), freezing isn’t a bad idea. Like many fruit, freezing and thawing changes the texture of watermelon, but it can be successfully used in a prepared dish or drink.

Slices of Watermelon

(credit: Pink Sherbet Photography)

How to freeze watermelon

Freezing a watermelon requires some work. First off, you need to cut off the rind. Just to let you know, freezing a whole watermelon isn’t a good idea, believe me. Besides, it would take like half of your freezer. Next thing to do is to cut the watermelon into pieces. The size is up to you – some people tend to cut it into dice, others prefer thin slices. Now it’s time for the not-so-fun activity – removing the seeds. If you plan to get the frozen watermelon out of the freezer and add it right to a sorbet recipe, make sure you remove all of them. Please note that it’s easier to remove seeds from a sliced watermelon than from one cut in cubes or balls.

Ok, you’ve got a cut watermelon without the rind and seeds. Not it’s time for freezing it. Take a baking sheet and place the slices or cubes on it. Consider lining the baking sheet with parchment paper beforehand. Now put the baking sheet into the freezer for a few hours, so the pieces of watermelon will freeze. Once done, take the baking sheet out of the freezer and transfer frozen pieces into a freezer bag. Remove all air from the bag, seal it tightly and put the bag back into the freezer. Don’t forget to label it before doing that. Now you can keep it in the freezer for at least a couple of months. Don’t freeze watermelon for more than 10-12 months due to quality reasons.

Summary
As you should know by now, freezing and thawing a watermelon changes its texture. Because of that, frozen and thawed watermelon works best only in prepared dishes and drinks. If you would like to enjoy a piece of fresh watermelon when it’s not in season, not much you can do. Freezing for that purpose won’t give you the taste you’re looking for.

Dairy

Can you freeze ricotta cheese?

Can you freeze ricotta cheese? That’s the question quite a few people are struggling with. This article will give you all the answers you need. If you’ve got some leftover ricotta or you’ve simply bought too much of it, it’s a natural thing to look for a way to use it right away or find a way to store it for an extended period of time. When it comes to ricotta cheese, freezing is a pretty good way of storing this dairy product for a period of time longer than it would normally do. Unfortunately, it isn’t a perfect way – sometimes freezing ricotta isn’t a good option. If you would like to know more about freezing ricotta cheese, read on.

Freezing ricotta cheese – important information

The first thing you need to now is that freezing ricotta cheese changes its texture. This dairy product will separate a little and become watery once thawed, that’s for sure. Is this big of a problem? As always, it depends. First thing you should know is that you can try to fix this by using a mixer or a larger spoon. That will help a little, but often you’ll have to drain the product anyway, because it will still be too watery.

Homemade ricotta cheese
(credit: Shockingly Tasty)

As I have mentioned. the texture of thawed ricotta is altered (even after stirring it and draining). That’s something you need to take into account when freezing ricotta. Because of that, you probably won’t find this cheese as tasty and appealing as it was before freezing. That’s why it’s not recommended to use thawed ricotta in dishes in which it’s the main component of the dish. If ricotta is just one of many components, it will work well and in many cases you won’t be able to tell the difference. Same thing with cooked or baked dishes (like lasagna) – if ricotta is just a part of such a dish, you can use thawed ricotta and the dish will be fine.

One more thing worth knowing – many people suggest preparing the dish with ricotta cheese and freezing it instead of freezing the cheese itself. If you have only as much ricotta as you would use in a single dish, I suggest you really should consider cooking that dish and freezing it. The results you’ll get in many cases will be definitely better. If you have a larger potion of ricotta and can’t (or don’t want to) use it in a dish that can be frozen, you always can freeze just the cheese. To do that, read the guidelines below.

How to freeze ricotta cheese

If the cheese is still in its original package, you just need to seal it tightly and put it into the freezer. If would like to keep it in the freezer for more than a month, consider putting the sealed package into a freezer bag.

Instead of freezing ricotta in its original package, you can portion it and pack separately. This way you’ll be able to easily thaw only as much ricotta as you need at a time. First off, transfer each portion into its plastic bag and seal tightly (remember to squeeze out all the air), then you should put those plastic bags into freezer bags (you can put a few plastic bags into one freezer bag) or airtight containers. This way the cheese will be protected from the cold.

When it comes to thawing, if you’re using ricotta in a cooked dish, you can add it frozen. If not, thaw in the fridge. If the texture isn’t right, consider following my suggestions mentioned earlier. It’s suggested to not freeze ricotta for more than 3 months, for quality purpose.

Summary
As you should know by now, ricotta cheese can be frozen, but freezing it changes its texture. If you’d like to use it in a cooked dish or any other in which ricotta cheese is just one of many components, it’ll be fine and in most cases you won’t even notice the cheese was frozen. Freezing it for dishes in which it’s the main component isn’t a good idea – you probably won’t be satisfied with the dish due to the mentioned change in texture.

Bread & Baked Goods

Can you freeze pumpkin pie?

Would you like to know the answer to the question “can you freeze pumpkin pie?”?. If so, this article is for you. Pumpkin pie is one of the pies popular during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. People who would like to know the answer to the main question often would love to bake it in advance, so they can take care of their other duties, or they’ve simply made too much of it and would like to store some of it for a longer period of time, like a couple of weeks. If you’re one of those people, you should know that pumpkin pie can be frozen. Read on to get to know how to do it.

Freezing pumpkin pie – important information

Pumpkin pie is a custard pie, therefore most people think that it doesn’t freeze well. Truth be told, some people freeze pumpkin pie on a regular basis and are pleased with the results they get, while others have tried it once or twice and will never do it again. That’s why I can’t tell you “yeah, you can freeze pumpkin pie and it’ll be great once thawed”. Unfortunately, in this case you need to experiment with freezing pumpkin pie on your own. I just can give you some tips and best practises, but you’re the one who needs to apply them and figure out if you’re satisfied with what you’ll get.

Pumpkin pie
(credit: freshtopia)

How to freeze pumpkin pie

To get the best results, you should follow the rules outlined below. Of course that doesn’t guarantee you’ll be delighted with your frozen and thawed pumpkin pie. When freezing for the first time, I suggest you follow these rules pretty strictly. If the frozen and thawed pumpkin pie will be only “so-so”, consider altering a little some of these guidelines or adding some of your own.

  • Once the pumpkin pie is baked, cool it down thoroughly. This part is very important and often overlooked. The pie needs to be completely cool, or even chilled before freezing, so it won’t have much water to release in form of steam.
  • Cover the pie with two layers of wrapping material. Choosing plastic wrap for the first layer is a good idea. For the second layer you can choose aluminum foil, or simply put the pie into a freezer bag. Two layers should provide enough isolation from cold.
  • Put the pie into the freezer. If you’re concerned that something might damage the pie in the freezer, put it into an airtight container. For best quality, pumpkin pie shouldn’t be frozen for more than 1-2 months.

Thawing pumpkin pie

First thing to do is to remove all the wrappers. It might not be possible right after pulling the pie from the freezer, so you should put the pie into the fridge and remove the wrappers as soon as you can do it pretty easily. The pie should be stored in the fridge for 4-8 hours (e.g. overnight) to thaw thoroughly. Resist the temptation of thawing it in room temperature – the texture of the pie will be negatively affected and you don’t want that to happen. If the pie right from the fridge is too cold, you can warm it up a little using a microwave. Just don’t put it in the microwave for a few minutes all at once. Break it down into few sessions of heating and resting.

Summary
As you probably know, pumpkin pie can be frozen, but not everyone will be satisfied with the results they’ll get. That’s why if you really need to know if you can freeze this pie, give it a try and see what happens. If you’ll follow the guidelines I outlined above, it’s possible you’ll be happy with the results you’ll get.

Fruit

Can you Freeze Cucumbers?

Can you freeze cucumbers? Most of the people would answer no to this question, but that’s not entirely true. There are a few ways to freeze cucumbers, but you need to know that they require work (some of them quite a lot). And you won’t necessarily be happy with the results you’ll get. Truth be told, cucumbers consist mostly of water and should be enjoyed fresh (as most other veggies).

Freezing Cucumbers

A whole cucumber definitely won’t freeze well, but like other veggies, there are other options. Basically, there are two possibilities. The first one is to slice the cucumber and preserve it in brine or vinegar. The other one is to use those cucumbers in a recipe that allows to freeze the dish once it’s ready. Of course none of the options guarantees that the results will be satisfactory

Salad with cucumber

(credit: Laurel Fan)

Freezing Cucumbers in Brine

Start off by washing and peeling the cucumbers. Once done, you should slice them thinly (you can use a food processor if you wish). Not it’s time to prepare the brine. Here’s a recipe from ThirtyFun.com:

In a large bowl, mix 2 quarts of cucumbers with chopped onions and 2 tablespoons of salt. Let stand for 2 hours. Rinse well with cold water, drain and return to clean bowl. Add 2/3 cup of oil, 2/3 cup vinegar, 2/3 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of celery seed. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Once you got the brine ready, transfer sliced cucumbers into plastic containers or glass jars and cover them with brine. Please remember to leave some headspace, because the contents of the jar or container will expand. Close those jars or containers tightly and put into the freezer and keep it there at least a week before defreezing. Thaw in refrigerator.

For more pieces of information about this way of freezing cucumbers, visit ThirtyFun.com. As you can see, it definitely takes time and hassle to do that, so you need to be sure it’s worth spending the time and money on freezing cucumbers this way. If you’ll decide to try it, try freezing only a small amount for the first time to find out if you’re satisfied with the results.

Freezer pickles

There are quite a few freezer pickles recipes on the Internet, so I will link only a few. Using cucumbers in freezer pickles is probably the best way to freeze cucumbers and thus extend their shelf life.

Recipes:
Crisp Cucumber Freezer Pickles
Freezer Cucumber Pickles Recipe
SWEET FREEZER PICKLES

Summary
There are at least a few ways to freeze cucumbers. They all require work and don’t guarantee you’ll be satisfied with the results you get. If you wish, you might experiment with freezing cucumbers, but they are definitely better when eaten fresh.

Condiments

Can You Freeze Guacamole?

Can you freeze guacamole? That’s a question many fans of this avocado-based sauce might need the answer to. Is there a possibility to make a larger amount of guacamole and freeze it for later? Or, when you have too many ripe avocados and you would like to use some of them in guacamole and put the sauce into the freezer?

Good news is, you can freeze guacamole (you can buy frozen guacamole, so why wouldn’t you be able to freeze it yourself?). If you want to freeze it only because you have too many ripe avocados, I suggest you freeze those avocados instead. If you really need to freeze guacamole (e.g. you’ve already made it and there’s quite a lot of it left), you can do it. Read on to get to know the most important things about freezing guacamole.

Freezing Guacamole – Most Important Facts

As I have mentioned above, you can freeze guacamole. The question that’s more important is: “would it be tasty after thawing?“.

Unfortunately, if you’d spend some time and read some food forums and websites, you’d find out that each person has their own thoughts on this topic. Some people don’t mind frozen and thawed guacamole (in fact, they like it). Others say freezing guacamole is not worth the hassle because it won’t be good after thawing. That’s why freezing avocados instead of guacamole sauce itself is a good idea.

Guacamole

(credit: stu_spivack)

There are, however, some facts about freezing guacamole, that are worth knowing. First thing is, the quality of the guacamole sauce after thawing depends heavily on its ingredients. Some of the recipes call for tomatoes, garlic, or even yogurt. That’s likely why some people are satisfied with frozen and thawed guacamole, while others aren’t. What’s sure is that ingredients such as tomatoes or chopped pepper make the sauce more watery after thawing.

Because of the reasons I outlined above, you won’t know if freezing guacamole works for you until you give it a try. Prepare it using your favorite recipe, freeze it, thaw it and taste it. Then you’ll be certain if freezing this avocado-based sauce works for you.

You don’t have to make a big deal out of it. Next time when preparing this sauce, prepare a little more than you need and freeze the rest for a couple of weeks. That’s the best way to find out if you’re satisfied with frozen and thawed guacamole. If you won’t be happy with the outcome, you can always try changing the recipe. Next time around try removing an ingredient or reducing its amount and see what you get.

How to Freeze Guacamole

This part is pretty easy. Transfer the sauce into a freezer bag, squeeze all air from it and seal the bag tightly. You can add some lime or lemon juice on the top of the sauce right before freezing it to aid with the process.

When choosing the amount of guacamole in a single freezer bag, consider freezing a portion needed for one dish per bag. This way you’ll always be able to thaw only as much sauce as you need at a time. Don’t forget to put the date and other pieces of information you might need in the future on the label. Once done, put the bag (or bags) into the freezer. You can store it there for quite a long time, but it’s not recommended to freeze guacamole for more than 4-6 months. After that time its quality will deteriorate a bit fater and that’s bad news.

Summary
As you know by now, you can freeze guacamole sauce, but not everyone will find the outcome tasty. Or even acceptable. Unfortunately, the only way to know is to experiment on your own. Do a couple of test freezingz and you will know if it is for you in no time.

Dish

Can you freeze mashed potatoes?

If you’ve ever wondered “can you freeze mashed potatoes?”, you’re in the right place to find out the answer. In short, you can freeze mashed potatoes and they do freeze pretty well. Quite on the contrary to whole baked or boiled potatoes. Because of that, if you’d like to cook a large batch of mashed potatoes and use it for a number of meals, you’re free to do that. Freeze the leftovers of the first meal and use whenever needed. If you’d like to know how to freeze mashed potatoes, please read on.

Mashed potatoes

(credit:turoczy)

How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes

  • Prepare mashed potatoes using your favorite recipe. That’s up to you how you like this dish, so cook it however you most like it.
  • Cool the prepared meal thoroughly. If you’d like to cool it quicker, consider putting it in a slightly cooler place (e.g. the pantry).
  • Method 1 (less work needed). This method is simple – you need to transfer mashed potatoes into freezer bags, release all air in the bag and seal it. Yyou might want to use zip-lock bags, that’s probably the easiest way to do this. If you decide on using small freezer bags, preferably portion-sized ones, that’s even better. This way you’ll be able to easily thaw and reheat as much mashed potatoes as you need at a time. Instead of freezer bags you can use airtight containers. If that’s the case remember the container should be almost full (the more air in it, the worse the freezer burn).
  • Method 2 (a little more work). First thing you need to do is to line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, using a large scoop, measure even portions of mashed potatoes and transfer them onto the baking sheet. Put the baking sheet into the freezer for at least a couple of hours (e.g. overnight). Make sure the portions are frozen thoroughly before getting them from the freezer. Now you need to transfer those frozen balls of mashed potatoes into a freezer bag and put it back into the freezer. Freezing mashed potatoes in small portions allows you to thaw only as much of it as you need.

Thawing and Reheating Frozen Mashed Potatoes

You can thaw and reheat frozen mashed potatoes in a microwave or an oven. If you wish, you can thaw it a little before heating by putting it into the fridge for a couple of hours. When heating, use about 50% of the power of your device and don’t forget to stir the dish from time to time. When using a microwave, microwave it for a minute, stir it, microwave for a minute, and so on. Heat it until it’s ready.

Things worth remembering

  • Label each bag of mashed potatoes properly. Remember to put there the name of the dish, its amount and the date.
  • Add a little sour cream (if thawed mashed potatoes are too watery) when heating. That will help achieve proper texture when the dish is ready.
  • Even though you can store mashed potatoes in the freezer for a long time, be careful. Keeping it in there for longer than 6 to 8 months isn’t recommended due to quality reasons.

Summary
As you should know by now, you can freeze mashed potatoes and it’s pretty easy to do that. Make sure to freeze it in small portions, so you will be able to thaw only as much as you need at a time.