Month: April 2015

Fruit

Can You Freeze Cantaloupe

Cantaloupes grow in gardens where the climate is warm and tropical. But what if one would like to enjoy them throughout the year? Can you freeze cantaloupes?

During harvesting, several people collect bountiful amounts of them and preserve them with the freezing method so they can enjoy the tasty melon throughout the year since finding them fresh and appetizing in autumn and winter months is extremely difficult. However, you should never freeze cantaloupes you have bought on sale in bulk because you do not know the exact amount of time they have been plucked from their vines. When freezing cantaloupe melons it is always best to freeze them as fresh as possible. This will help make sure the melons contain a truly sweet and desirable melon flavor.

Sliced Cantaloupes

Image used under Creative Commons from Kabsik Park

 

Harvesting the Right Cantaloupes to Freeze

When harvesting time comes around it is best not to water you melons the week you plan to harvest them. This will help the natural sugars in the cantaloupes to become concentrated as well as keep the flesh nice and firm, instead of soft and watery. Once you are ready to harvest your melons, make sure you pick ones that have no rot and are firm to touch. You never want to try freezing a melon that is too soft because it does not freeze well and has the ability to breed bacteria.

Preparing the Cantaloupes for Freezing

When you have harvested the amounts of cantaloupes you desire to freeze make sure you rinse them well under cool water to wash any dirt, debris and bacteria away. After, cut the melons in half and scoop the seeds out of the center of them. Then, remove the rinds away from the flesh carefully.

Next, you can cut the yellowy orange flesh of the melons into bite size chunks. After, you will place the chunks into freezer containers and sprinkle a bit of sugar over the top of them. The sugar will help preserve their gorgeous color and satisfyingly sweet melon flavor.

After, you will place the lids onto the counters and place them melon chunks into the freezer to preserve for up to a year. Storing them in the freezer any longer than that will change the color of their flesh as well as their flavor. Freezing the melons in general does change their texture a bit to a slightly mushier one that can sometimes be a bit slimly.

This means you should not expect your melons to have the same fresh firm texture they did have before freezing. Frozen cantaloupes taste the best in smoothies or for making melon sorbets, ice creams and fruit salads.

Defrosting the Cantaloupe Chunks

When you want to defrost your cantaloupe chunks you simply remove a container from the freezer and along them to defrost in the refrigerator for up to 6 to 8 hours. After, you can try to eat them as they are from the container or use them in beverages and food dishes, which is usually best.

However, if you are simply using the melon chunks in smoothies there is no need to defrost the fruit. Instead, just stick them right into the blender and make your smoothie. The frozen melons will make your smoothie ice cold and delicious.

End Notes to Keep in Mind with Freezing Cantaloupe

In general, if you love the fresh firm texture and flavor of cantaloupes is always best to eat them as they are during their harvesting season. Freezing them is a great method for preserving extra melons on hand, but freezing does change the flavor, color and texture of the melons, but frozen melons still taste excellent in salads and smoothies as mentioned.

Dish

Can You Freeze Baked Beans

Can you freeze baked beans? A homemade pot of baked beans brings comforting goodness to the tummy and satisfying flavor to the mouth. Also, there are usually leftovers. Tons of leftovers. Thankfully, freezing baked beans to eat them later is an option.

Can You Freeze Baked Beans?

You can freeze pretty much any food. The real question here is whether freezing baked beans makes sense. Fortunately, if you go about the freezing process the right way, the results should be good enough. In other words yes, you can freeze baked beans to use them later on. So if you ever see a sale or are able to get a decent deal on baked beans, don’t hesitate and stock up.

How to Freeze Baked Beans?

When it comes to homemade baked beans, it’s best to freeze them the same day they were made. This way they will retain their flavor and freshness. Plus you will be sure they are safe to eat, that is they didn’t start to go bad yet.

If you have leftover canned baked beans, the sooner you freeze them, the better. Remember to never freeze unopened cans of baked beans. The canning process does a great job of preserving the beans. But once you’ve opened the can and got some leftovers, feel free freeze them.

Baked beans

Image used under Creative Commons from Stevesworldofphotos

Before packaging the beans make sure they are cold. That means if you’ve just made them, leave the leftovers on the counter until they cool down. You can speed up the process by putting them into the pantry or giving a cold bath. The last one makes sense if you really want to go through the whole freezing thing quickly and be done with it.

Okay, you have cold baked beans, now it’s packaging time. You can use freezer-safe containers or jars, or freezer bags. Choose whatever makes more sense. Bags will usually take less space in the freezer. If you’re short on space, they’re the obvious choice. Also, bags allow you to divide your baked beans into many portions. If you decide to go with freezer bags, consider how much beans you will need for future meals and pack accordingly. You can always pack half or third of a bag and squeeze out the remaining air so the bag takes as little space as possible. Speaking of space, if you use jars or containers, make sure they end up being almost full. Just an inch of head space so the beans won’t blow them up when the liquid expands.

Next step is to label the containers or bags. Make sure you put the name and date on them for future reference. That’s especially important if you have a lot of food in the freezer so it’s not an issue finding those baked beans when needed.

One thing that we didn’t cover is how long those beans can be stored in the freezer. The scientifically accurate answer is: indefinitely. As long as the temperature in the freezer is at 0 or below, nothing bad will happen to frozen baked beans. The real question is how long it does make sense to keep them in the freezer. There’s no good answer to this question. Frozen products tend to slowly deteriorate in taste and texture. So the sooner you thaw and eat them, the better. Generally speaking, baked beans should be fine in taste for up to six months in the freezer. Don’t expect them to be exactly as good as they were fresh though.

Remember, the longer you stored the baked beans before freezing, the shorter their shelf life once you thaw them. Freezing won’t magically make your food fresh and better.

How to Defrost and Reheat Baked Beans?

When it comes to baked beans, thawing overnight in the fridge is the way to go. Alternatively, you can toss the container or bag into cold water. In that case thawing should take 4 to 8 hours, so if you do it in the morning, beans should be ready to reheat for dinner.

Thawing in a saucepan on the stovetop or in a microwave are your tools of last resort. If using either of those, make sure to add some water and pay attention so your food won’t dry out completely. The results of thawing this way are less than optimal so use them only if you have to.

Once thawed, reheating on the stovetop on medium or low heat is the way to go. It shouldn’t take longer than 10 minutes, depending on how much beans are there. Serve them as they are or as a side dish.

Important thing to note is that you should continue playing with the cooking, thawing, and reheating process until you master it. For example, if the beans are too dry after reheating, you can try adding some water next time. If you’re freezing your homemade baked beans, play with the recipe so they are more of less moist after cooking and see how that affects freezing and thawing.

One last note, never thaw and reheat food more than once. That means when you take something from the freezer and thaw it, you either eat it or toss it out. Freezing multiple times can cause food poisoning and you don’t want to experience that.

Summary
Freezing baked beans is safe and an effective method for preserving your baked beans to eat later when you are ready.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Spaghetti Squash?

Can you freeze spaghetti squash? One of the most popular winter squashes found useful for replacing spaghetti is spaghetti squash. We often freeze spaghetti, but what about spaghetti squash?

Spaghetti squash has its name because when you bake it the texture of it changes and separates into spaghetti like strands when you go to scoop it out. The strands are similar in size to spaghetti strands, but do have a mushier texture that pasta.

The spaghetti squash is excellent at absorbing the flavor of any pasta sauce and seasonings you pair it with. That helps give it the similar flavor of a bowl of homemade pasta topped with sauce. It’s a healthier option than pasta to eat too. Because of that, people ask if they can stock up on the squash and freeze it. No matter if it’s on sale at the grocery store, or harvested from the garden, the answer to that question is yes.

Red Curry Squash Spaghettini

Image used under Creative Commons from Jameson Fink

How to Freeze Spaghetti Squash?

Before you can freeze spaghetti squash, you must first cook the squashes you have on hand. Make sure the squash is fresh, firm and ripe before cooking it and trying to fresh it. After, you must rinse the squash down with cool water to wash any debris, dirt and bacteria away.

Next, slice the squash into halves and place them in a deep casserole dish with a bit of olive oil drizzled over them. After, you need to bake the squash in a 400-degree oven for about an hour or until fork tender. Then, you will remove the cooked squash from the oven and allow it to cool for about an hour. Once it is cool, you can fork it out of its skin into a bowl until you have an entire bowl full of spaghetti squash strands.

Then, you can take the spaghetti squash and scoop it into freezer containers. place the lids on tightly and freeze the squash for up to a year this way. Don’t leave spaghetti squash frozen longer than a year because the color, flavor and texture of it will change drastically.

How to Defrost Spaghetti Squash?

The best way to defrost spaghetti squash is to take a container of it from the freezer and allow it to defrost in the refrigerator for about 12 hours. After, you can toss the spaghetti squash into a medium saucepan with your favorite pasta sauce and heat it up for about 5 minutes on medium heat. Cooking it for longer will turn to mush and loose its spaghetti like structure and texture. Serve it up as a delicious healthy meal that will provide your body with fiber, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and enzymes.

End Thoughts to Keep in Mind
Always use firm and fresh spaghetti squash from the grocery store or from the garden. Make sure it’s washed well and cooked properly before freezing it so it holds its true flavor, texture and color.

Never freeze cooked spaghetti squash leftovers that have been in the refrigerator for a few days. It increases your chances of receiving food poisoning when you go to defrost it and eat it. Always use freshly cooked spaghetti squash for freezing purposes. Freezing will preserve the delicious squash so you can always have it on hand.

Dairy

Can You Freeze Whipped Cream

“Whipped Cream,” just the mention of it brings to mind visions of luscious desserts. BUT, what if you can’t eat it all, “Can you freeze whipped cream?” The answer to the creamy question is, “YES,” you can freeze it.

Real whipped cream is NOT what spews out of the cans you find in the dairy aisle at your local grocery mart. Care in preparing the whipped cream topping is important as it will affect how your topping looks, tastes and, yes, how it freezes. You have to use a good quality heavy cream to make whipped cream that will set to become firm for freezing. Trying to use a cream with less than 30% of fat or substituting half and half is simply not going to work.

A basic recipe for whipped cream is to use one cup of the heavy cream to three to four tablespoons of confectioner’s sugar (white powdered sugar) and, finally, one teaspoon of vanilla. The heavy cream needs to be really cold and the mixing bowl it’s prepared in needs to be really cold, as well. You’ll need to whisk or beat the heavy cream in the cold mixing bowl until it becomes fluffy and light, then you can add the sugar and vanilla. Now, your fresh home made whipped cream is ready to serve or can be kept cold in the refrigerator for a couple of days … or you can freeze it!

Whipped cream

Image used under Creative Commons from rick

How to freeze and thaw whipped cream ?

A few suggestions or points of information about whipped cream are good to know, so you’ll understand how wonderfully delicate whipped cream is and the care needed in freezing it and thawing it.

  • Use a few kitchen basics to help prepare your whipped cream for freezing; a metal cookie sheet, a rubber bowl scrapper, possibly a spatula, wax paper or a thin plastic prep board.
  • Line your cookie sheet with the waxed paper or lay the plastic prep board directly on the cookie sheet. The metal cookie sheet is going to get colder than the plastic board and you’re going to need the “cold” to help set your whipped cream.
  • Scoop serving sized dollops of whipped cream with your rubber scrapper onto the cookie sheet with waxed paper or prep board. Use a knife or the scrapper to form little swirls and peaks, as this is how your dollops will look after freezing. Don’t put the dollops of whipped cream directly on the cookie sheet as the whipped cream will stick or be very difficult to remove.
  • Put the entire cookie sheet in the refrigerator for at least thirty minutes so that the dollops of whipped cream become really cold and firm to the touch.
  • Remove the whipped cream dollops individually and place in an air tight food storage container. You should actually be able to just peel the dollops off the waxed paper. Gently use a spatula, if needed.
  • Store your whipped cream dollops in the freezer.
  • Thaw just one single dollop of your whipped cream or the entire container by placing the frozen whipped cream in the refrigerator for about thirty minutes. Each individual dollop is ready to be gently placed directly on top of the dessert of your choice.

So there you have it, you CAN freeze whipped cream and you know how to make it AND freeze it. Better still, you’re ready next time you need that something extra on top of your dessert, those perfect little dollops are just waiting for you in the freezer.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Jalapenos

Freezing jalapenos to have them year round sounds really great, especially if you’re into hot and spicy Mexican and Spanish dishes, homemade salsas and mini-stuff pepper appetizers. Picking them fresh during harvesting season and preserving them with the freezing method is an excellent way to make sure you have them year round to use in all kinds of dishes.

What is the proper way of freezing fresh jalapenos?

The best way to freeze jalapenos is by harvesting them fresh during picking season, rinsing them off with cool water, slicing the tops off of them and slicing them up into little round circles. After, you take the slices, pack them into freezer bags, and store them away in the freezer until you are ready to use them up. Frozen jalapenos stay fresh this way for up to 2 years.

However, they do change in texture, but will retain their flavor. Their texture slightly softens when you freeze them. This means frozen jalapenos are only good for making salsas, adding flavor to casserole dishes, chilies and soups, adding onto the top of nachos or for burger toppings. If you love the fresh crisp texture of jalapenos, there is no sense in freezing them. Instead, it is best to use them up as they are.

Now, if you want to defrost your freshly frozen jalapenos all you need to do is simply take a bag from the freezer and allow them to defrost in your refrigerator for about an hour or two. You can even place the bag of frozen peppers in a bowl of cool water for about 30 minutes to defrost. However, if you are just using them to make baked nachos or tossing them into chilies and casserole dishes simply grab out what you need from the freezer and toss them on or into the dish frozen. The cooking process will make them tender and hot.

Jalapenos

Image used under Creative Commons from woodleywonderworks

Can you freeze leftover canned jalapenos?

If you open up a can of jalapenos and know you are not going to use them all, you can place the leftovers into freezer containers and freeze them for up to 3 months this way. However, you must freeze them right after you open the can and not later on in order to prevent spoiling or contamination with bacteria. It is never wise to open a can of jalapenos, use some and store the rest is the refrigerator for a day or two and then decide to freeze the rest because this will just give you food poisoning when you go to eat them up.

Can you freeze store bought jalapenos from the produce section?

If there are freshly harvested jalapenos in your local grocery store or farm stand, you can grab a bunch and freeze them the same way you would freshly harvested jalapenos from a garden. However, you will want to wash them well to remove any pesticides, chemicals and bacteria from them.

Can you freeze leftover jalapenos from a jar?

If you have leftover jalapenos from a jar you just open you can pour the leftover jalapenos from the jar along with their liquid directly into a freezer container and freeze the peppers this way for up to 6 months. When you want to defrost them, simply place the container in the refrigerator and allow them to defrost for a day. After, you can use them for whatever dish you desire.

End Thoughts to Keep in Mind

With all that being said, again if you love fresh crisp jalapeno peppers as they it is never wise to freeze them and always best too just enjoy them while they are in season. Otherwise, harvest as much as you can while they are fresh in the summertime and preserve them with the freezing method so they can be enjoyed throughout the year in all kinds of tasteful dishes.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Broccoli?

Fresh broccoli harvested from the garden in abundant amounts can easily be preserved for months ahead by simply freezing it. However, there are essential steps you must take in order to freezer broccoli properly in order to retain its fresh summery taste.

Harvest Crisp Damage Free Broccoli from the Garden

The best type of broccoli to freeze is fresh crisp broccoli harvested from the garden without any rotting. Freezing broccoli with any sort of rot damage can cause spoilage of the vegetable quickly and cause bacteria to grow, which can cause food poisoning in you once you defrost the vegetable and eat it.

Kill the Insects on the Broccoli

Once you have harvested fresh crisp healthy broccoli from the garden you must kill the insects on them, which are typically tiny little green worms. You do this by filling up a large bowl with water and adding in about a teaspoon of sea salt. Then, you place the broccoli into the salty water for a good 30 minutes to help kill the insects, which will eventually fall to the bottom of the salty water bowl. After, take the broccoli out of the salty water and lay it flat on a sheet of paper towel to dry off a bit.

Chop up the Broccoli

Next, it is time to place the broccoli onto a cutting board and chop it up into little bite size broccoli trees. However, do not cut too much of the stem off because this is essential for holding the little broccoli crowns together during the blanching, freezing and cooking process.

Broccoli florets

Image used under Creative Commons from Mike Licht

Blanch the Broccoli

Once your broccoli is all chopped up, it is time to place it into a boiling pot of water for a minute to blanch it. Do not blanch the broccoli for more than a minute because you will end up cooking it, which will make it no good to freeze.

Chill It

After the blanching step, it is time to strain the water from the broccoli and place the broccoli immediately into a bowl of icy water to stop the blanching process. You will leave the broccoli in the ice-cold water for at least 5 minutes. Next, you will remove the broccoli from the icy cold bath into a strainer and allow the extra water to drip off them.

Time to Begin the Freezing Process

Next, you will take your broccoli and lay it flat out onto a cookie sheet lined with wax paper. Then, you will place the broccoli into the freezer this way to freezer for about an hour. This will prevent the broccoli chunks from sticking together when you go to store them in freezer bags or containers.

Storing the Broccoli Away

Once the broccoli is frozen on the cookie sheets, you can remove it from the freezer and place the chopped up frozen broccoli into freezer bags or containers and place them back into the freezer to keep fresh for about a year this way.

Defrosting the Broccoli

Anytime you want to eat up the frost broccoli you simply skip the defrosting step and simply place them into a vegetable steamer and steam them up until they are fork tender. After, you can serve them up with a cheese sauce, fresh herbs and spices, butter or simply eat them as they are.

End Notes to Keep in Mind

Freezing broccoli will change the texture and water content it contains so you will not be able to defrost it and eat it raw. The only way you will not notice the texture change is by steaming the previously frozen broccoli up and eating it up afterwards. You can also toss it into soups, stews, pot pies, casserole dishes and still have the broccoli taste just fine. It is just not tasty raw served on a platter with vegetable dips or dressings.

Dish

Can You Freeze Spaghetti

If you ever thought about freezing leftovers after a good spaghetti dinner, I have good news for you. You can freeze spaghetti easily just as many people do on a regular basis.

For taste, economy, and wide appeal, there’s nothing like a spaghetti dinner. With or without meatballs, spaghetti and sauce are great for a big family dinner, lunch for the kids, and even for a quick snack for the avid pasta lover.

The best of cooks will admit, however, that they often misjudge the amount of spaghetti they should cook for a meal. So much depends on package directions (which can be wrong about true serving size) or on grandma’s traditional plate of spaghetti and meatballs (which can be ‘way too much for even a football player to consume). This begs the question,” Can You Freeze Spaghetti?” in order to deal with the leftovers.

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Image used under Creative Commons from jshj

Freezing spaghetti

Cooks vary in their approach to freezing this most popular of pastas. One reliable way is to freeze sauce and meatballs separately from the spaghetti itself. Place sauce and meatballs in:

  • Tuppperware or other plastic storage containers (Be sure to oil the inside of these containers so that the tomato sauce does not stain the plastic bright orange.)
  • quart-size plastic storage bags (Zip-loc or other brand name)
  • Pyrex bowls with covers

Prepared in this way, your sauce and meatballs will last indefinitely, but of course, label the bags of containers with the date you place them in the freezer. Also, remove as much air as possible from the bags.

To freeze the spaghetti, most cooks recommend that you cook the pasta al dente or just until firm. If the spaghetti is too soft after cooking, and subsequently frozen, it may fall apart when thawed and reheated.

So, go with al dente. Then drain, cool and bag the pasta, or place in bowls or plastic containers. Some cooks recommended adding a bit of your favorite olive oil to the spaghetti as this helps prevent it sticking together in one big, congealed lump–edible, yes, but unattractive.

In addition, many people choose to combine their sauce, meatballs and spaghetti into one dish, and then put the finished product into separate containers and bags. Experiment with the different methods, and over time, you will discover what works best for you and your family.

Thawing spaghetti

When you decide to use your frozen spaghetti, there are a couple of ways you can go about it. Just keep in mind, as with thawing any frozen food, that slowly is best.

1. Take the appropriate portion of spaghetti, sauce and meatballs out of the freezer and transfer to the refrigerator. Give them at least a full day to thaw out completely.

2. For pasta and sauce stored in plastic zipper bags, running the bags under warm water or submerging them in a pot of cold water (just as you would thaw a Thanksgiving turkey) can speed up the process.

3. For single serving sizes of spaghetti and sauce, simply taking them to work or school in the morning and leaving them at room temperature will pretty much guarantee thawing by lunch time. Then, reheat in the microwave.

Good luck with freezing this excellent meal time standard. It can be a time saver and a great way to be frugal with your food budget.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Grapes

Grapes are a seasonal food, so sometimes you might find yourself with too many to use right away. Can you freeze grapes? Fortunately, you can and this article will give you all the information you need about freezing grapes.

Whether baked in a rich tart or featured in a savory supper, grapes add a delightful sweetness to any dish. Popular as a finger food with children all over the world, grapes have been cultivated and enjoyed for at least 8,000 years. Their portability, flavor, texture, variety, and endless array of jewel-like hues ranging from red to green to purple make grapes a delicious addition to almost any meal. Not only are these sweet globes tasty and versatile, they are also healthy — studies have indicated they are associated with the prevention of high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer and constipation.

While grapes are grown all over the world, making them generally available year round, there may be times when you find yourself with too many grapes to use immediately. When they are on sale at your local supermarket or available in bulk at your favorite warehouse club, it’s a good time to stock up. During summer months you may also be tempted by the offerings at your local farmers’ markets. While it is best to enjoy grapes fresh, when you find yourself with an over-abundance of the sweet treats, freezing them is a great option.

Grapes

Image used under Creative Commons from Jeena Paradies

The ways to prepare and consume frozen grapes are endless – from juice to grape jelly or jam, to raisins and even wine. Freezing grapes does detract somewhat from their color, flavor and texture, but not by much. In addition to eating them plain as a frozen snack, frozen grapes can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Use as a replacement for ice cubes in punch
  • Blend with soy milk and a banana for a healthy smoothie
  • Freeze with chunks of pineapple, cantaloupe and honeydew for a fruit compote
  • Add to a wine sangria
  • Thread onto skewers for a kid-friendly treat
  • Use thawed in recipes calling for fresh grapes, such as jams and jellies
  • Blend smooth, then freeze in ice cube trays to add to juice drinks

Selecting Grapes

Choose fully ripened grapes that are plump, free of wrinkles and blemishes and are tight to the touch. Look for fruit that are firmly attached to a healthy-looking stem and are a solid color. Red grapes are the sweetest, green are moderately sweet, and purple grapes are the least sweet. Pick fruit with a rich, deep color.

Freezing Grapes

Grapes, even organic varieties, need to be washed before they are frozen. Remove the stems and wash in cool, clear water. Transfer the grapes to a salad spinner or place in a colander and allow to drain for several minutes. Lay the grapes on a layer of paper towels or a clean bath towel gently blot them dry with paper towels or a lint-free tea towel. Excess moisture will cause the grapes to cling together into one large frozen clump.

Once dry, arrange the grapes in a single layer on a lined cookie sheet or baking tray. Lining the cookie sheet with waxed paper, parchment paper or plastic wrap will make transferring the frozen grapes easier.

Place the cookie sheet in the freezer for an hour or two. Once the grapes are frozen solid, transfer them into a heavy plastic zip-lock freezer bag or container with a secure lid and return them to the freezer. To reduce the chance of freezer burn, use a vacuum sealer or place a drinking straw in the edge of the bag’s opening and suck the air out, removing the straw as you seal the bag quickly. Grapes stored in a freezer bag with the air removed will last longer than those stored in rigid storage containers due to oxidation from the air.

To freeze grapes for jams, jellies and other cooked recipes, puree the grapes before freezing. Place cleaned grapes in the blender in small batches and blend until smooth and any large pieces of skins are broken down. Transfer into freezer containers or Mason jars and place in the freezer.

For chilling juice drinks, lemonade or tea, puree the washed grapes and pour into ice cube trays and place in the freezer. When frozen solid, remove from the trays and place in zippered freezer bags.

For the best taste and quality, use the frozen grapes within nine to 12 months.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Strawberries

Can you freeze strawberries? The taste of fresh strawberries is pure delight, but we also love to enjoy them in winter months and freezing them is the easiest way to achieve that. It is best to pick fresh strawberries right from the patch during harvesting season and freeze some so you can enjoy the sweet and tart tangy flavors of them throughout the year.

Freezing Strawberries Whole

One of the ways you can freeze strawberries is whole. However, it is essential that you cut their leafy green tops off first. After, you can take the freshly picked whole strawberries, place them into a freezer bag, and store them away in the freezer this way for about 2 years. After about 2-years, the strawberries will lose some of their flavor and juicy plump texture.

Frozen whole strawberries are useful for making all kinds of delightful treats such as fruit smoothies and fruit salads. All you have to do is take the frozen berries from the freezer and toss them into smoothies and salads as they are. Blending the berries into smoothies will keep your healthy beverage of choice icy cold and if you do decide to toss them into a fruit salad frozen, they will defrost within an hour while keeping your fruit salad nicely chilled and full of juicy flavor.

Strawberries in containers

Image used under Creative Commons from Shubert Ciencia

However, if you simply want to eat some whole strawberries as they are all you have to do is remove a bag of them from the freezer and allow them to defrost in the refrigerator for about 4 to 6 hours. After, you can eat them up as they are or pour them into a bowl and sprinkle sugar upon them for a delightful strawberry treat. The berries will be slightly mushier and juicer in texture, but will still have their outstanding summery berry flavor.

Freezing Sliced Strawberries

Another popular way strawberries are froze is by slicing the tops of them and slicing them up into little round berry circles about a ¼ inch thick. The slices are than tossed into freezable containers and sprinkled with sugar to help add extra sweetness and help them preserve them a bit better. After, the sliced berries are frozen in the freezer where they will keep fresh this way for up to a year with ease.

When you are ready to use the slice strawberries simply take a container from the freezer and place it into the refrigerator where it will take about 6 to 12 hours to defrost. After, you can eat the strawberry slices as they are, pour them over pound cakes or angle cakes for a delightful strawberry dessert or mix them into fruit salads, yogurts or smoothies for a healthy tasting berry snack. You can even use the defrosted slices of berries to make a scrumptious strawberry pie.

Freezing Strawberries in Jam or Jelly Form

Fresh harvested strawberries make wonderful jams and jellies, which can be frozen as well. Simply take your favorite jam or jelly recipe and make your jam or jelly with the fresh strawberries. Once the jam or jelly is ready, pour it into freezer jars about ¾ full and place lids tightly onto them. After, you can freeze your strawberry jams or jellies in the freezer for up to 2 years.

To defrost the jellies or jams simply place them in the refrigerator and they should be ready to use within 12 hours. Best of all, defrosted jams and jellies stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to six months. This is because the sugar in them preserves them well.

Image used under Creative Commons from Abigail Batchelder

End Notes to Keep in Mind

With all that being said, it is essential to know that freezing strawberries will slightly change their texture to a mushier and juicer kind, but they will still taste like summer strawberries when you go to defrost and eat them. However, if you love the firm plump texture of strawberries and desire them sliced up over leafy green salads or for making chocolate covered berries it is wise to use them up fresh. Trying to use previously frozen strawberries on leafy green salads or for making chocolate cover berries will just turn into a strawberry juicy mess. Otherwise, freeze as much fresh strawberries as you possible can during the harvesting season and enjoy the berries throughout the year.

Dish

Can You Freeze Pizza Dough

Pizza dough is one of the most versatile things you can keep in your freezer. If you’re wondering what’s the process of freezing pizza dough then this article is what you’re looking for. Read on!

Pizza is an Italian dish that’s become a real all-American favorite. From toppings to sauce to crust, most every restaurant and every family puts their own spin on the pie that’s great for dinner, party, lunch or even breakfast.

To get this favorite food ready relatively quickly and in reasonable quantity to cover a get together at the house, a church function or school fund raiser, it helps to have plenty of dough on hand.  And that’s why we freeze pizza dough.

How to freeze pizza dough.

The trick to successful freezing of pizza dough is really no trick at all, but rather depends on a few common sense steps:

  1. Use your usual tried and true recipe for dough. If this is your first time making it, don’t be intimidated. It’s easy as can be, and there are plenty of recipes out there in cook books and online, too.
  2. Decide how many dough balls you would like to freeze. Many cooks use recipes that make two 9 x 13″ cookie sheets worth of pizza. Others use recipes large enough for four 8″ round pizzas. Either way works well because you can use one dough ball for pizza that evening and freeze the other ones. For long term freezing, try to think how many times a month your family eats pizza and double or triple up on the recipe.
  3. After you have mixed the dough, let it proof or rise for at least 1 to 2 hours. Punch it down, and allow the dough you are using immediately to rise again before doing the final roll out and addition of sauce and toppings.
  4. Do not let the dough you are freezing to rise for the second time. Instead, prepare if for the freezer by shaping it into single-pie balls. Dust each ball with flour or corn meal, and place each into a separate Zip-loc bag. (Some people prefer lightly oiling the dough.)
  5. Place the bagged dough in the freezer. Storage time can be as long as 3 months, If stored for longer periods of time, you may find ice crystals on the dough.

Pizza dough

Image used under Creative Commons from sunny mama

Thawing and using pizza dough.

When the day comes to use the frozen dough, simply take the right number of dough balls from the freezer, remove from the plastic zipper bags and let them thaw on the kitchen counter at room temperature. Allow at least 2 hours for this. If you want to pull the dough out in the morning, letting it thaw while you are at work, place the dough in the refrigerator and then take it out for a 30 minute warm up when you get home.

Dust the dough with flour. For a nice thick crust, be sure to punch down the thawed dough and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Skip this step for a thinner crust. Roll out the crust, and add sauce and toppings.

Enjoy your pizza!

You will find that having frozen dough on hand will allow you to enjoy pizza at home more frequently. Also, the price of at-home versus pizza parlor price makes your prep time well worth it.