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.can you freeze cantaloupes

Image used under Creative Commons from Kabsik Park

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.

How to Freeze Cantaloupes?

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. Below is the step by step guide on how can you freeze cantaloupes:

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.

Packing the Cantaloupes for Freezing

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 slimy.

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.

How to Defrost Frozen Cantaloupes?

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.

Summary

Freezing does change the flavor, color, and texture of the melons, but frozen melons still taste excellent in salads and smoothies as mentioned. Now that you know how can you freeze cantaloupes, you’ll never see these summer fruit go to waste! Just freeze the cantaloupes and enjoy it any time of the day.

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

A couple of things to consider before freezing spaghetti squash. 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. Below is our guide on how can you freeze spaghetti squash:

How to Freeze Spaghetti Squash?

Preparing the 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 freeze 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.

Packing the Spaghetti Squash for Freezing

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 lose 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.

Summary

Always use freshly cooked spaghetti squash for freezing purposes. Now that you know how can you freeze spaghetti squash, try this method to 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.

Whipped cream

Image used under Creative Commons from rick

How to Freeze 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. Below is the guide on how can you freeze whipped cream:

Making the Whipped Cream

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 it 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 homemade whipped cream is ready to serve or can be kept cold in the refrigerator for a couple of days or you can freeze it!

Preparing the Whipped Cream for Freezing

Use a few kitchen basics to help prepare your whipped cream for freezing; a metal cookie sheet, a rubber bowl scraper, 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 scraper 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.

Flash-Freezing the Whipped Cream

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.

Freezing the Whipped Cream

Remove the whipped cream dollops individually and place in an airtight food storage container. You should actually be able to just peel the dollops off the waxed paper. Gently use a spatula, if needed.

How to Defrost Frozen Whipped Cream?

Defrosting frozen whipped cream is so easy. 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.

Summary

With this guide, you learn to make your own whipped cream from scratch as well as proper storage. Now that you know how can you freeze whipped cream, you can maximize leftover cream for later. Use your leftovers to top your favorite desserts!

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Jalapenos?

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.

How to Freeze Jalapenos?

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. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze jalapenos:

Freezing Fresh Jalapenos

The best way to freeze jalapenos is by harvesting them fresh during picking season. Start by 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. You can also add jalapenos on 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.

Jalapenos

Image used under Creative Commons from woodleywonderworks

Freezing 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 spoilage or contamination with bacteria. It is never wise to open a can of jalapenos, use some and store the rest in 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.

Freezing Store-Bought Jalapenos

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.

Freezing Bottled Jalapenos

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.

How to Defrost Frozen Jalapenos?

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.

Canned and bottled jalapenos could be thawed the same way, just transfer the product from the freezer to the fridge. Leave the jalapenos to thaw for several hours to overnight. Once the jalapenos are thawed completely, they are ready to use.

Summary

With all that being said, again if you love fresh crisp jalapeno peppers as 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. Now that you know how can you freeze jalapenos, go ahead and preserve them using this method. This way, they can be enjoyed throughout the year in all kinds of tasteful dishes.

Vegetables

Can You Freeze Broccoli?

Have you ever bought frozen broccoli florets? If not, I’m sure you’ve seen them in the nearest grocery store. So you already know you can freeze broccoli and it freezes well. Now that you have too much broccoli on hand, you’re searching for ways to store it.

Freezing is the first thing that comes to mind because it gives you an easy way out. The veggies won’t spoil and you don’t need to decide how or where to use them. Just freeze the vegetables and it’s out of your mind until it’s needed. I know I have done that quite a few times and I’m sure you did too. So, if freezing broccoli is what you decided to do, let’s dive into the specifics.

Broccoli florets after drying

How to Freeze Broccoli?

There are at least a few ways you can freeze broccoli and in this article, we will go through the most popular ones. Each way has its own benefits. It’s up to you to choose the one that will work best for your needs.

Preparing the Broccoli

Broccoli prep is the same no matter which freezing method you will choose. If there are tiny worms in the florets, we need to get rid of them first. Fill a large bowl with water and add a teaspoon of salt. Next, chuck the broccoli into the water and leave it there for about half an hour. That should help kill the bugs. After 30 minutes, rinse the veggie under running water. The vegetables should be worm-free now.

The rest of the preparation process is the same no matter if it’s storebought or fresh broccoli harvested from the garden. Place the veggie onto a cutting board and cut it into florets (bite-sized broccoli trees). If you want to use the stalks too (they’re perfectly fine to eat!), cut them into smaller fries-like pieces.

After cutting, wash the pieces under running water to remove leftover dirt. Some people prefer washing before cutting, but I find it much easier (and faster!) to wash after cutting.

Now that the broccoli is prepped, it’s time to choose how to freeze it. If you have no idea how the veggie will be used in the future, just go with the first option – freezing blanched broccoli.

This method is straightforward and the results are the same if you buy frozen broccoli. Freezing cooked or roasted broccoli is a great option if you want to prep the vegetables quickly for eating. Since the vegetables are already cooked, you won’t need to wait until they soften. Just make sure the brocs are warm enough to your liking and that’s it.

Freezing Blanched Broccoli

We start off by blanching broccoli. This process helps with retaining the taste and texture of the veggie after freezing. It’s by no means necessary but helps you get better results. After blanching and drying, we flash freeze the florets and stalk pieces. This is optional. This way, they won’t freeze together. The last part of the process is transferring the frozen veggies into a freezer bag. Put the veggies back into the freezer. This freezing method is perfect if you want to store broccoli for the long term.

Here’s the step by step process for blanching broccoli:

  1. Boil a pot of water. Once the water boils, throw in the broccoli for 2 to 3 minutes (depending on the size of the florets).
    Blanching broccoli in boiling water
  2. Prepare a bowl of iced water for the ice bath.
  3. After those 2 to 3 minutes, strain the water and immediately transfer the veggie into the ice bath.
    Draining broccoli after blanching
  4. Leave broccoli in the cold water for 5 to 10 minutes then strain the water.
    Broccoli in ice bath

Now it’s time to freeze the broccoli:

  1. Make sure broccoli is dried thoroughly. A dishcloth and a few paper towels should do the trick. If you’re not in a hurry, leave the veggie for about 30 minutes on a dishcloth after drying. This helps the water evaporate. Take a paper towel and pat each floret dry to make sure there are no wet spots. Again, drying is really important.
    Draining broccoli using a colander
    Drying broccoli with dish cloth and paper towels
  2. (Optional) Take a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. Then lay the broccoli pieces flat onto the cookie sheet. Make sure the pieces don’t touch one another if possible. Place the cookie sheet into the freezer for an hour. Take the broccoli from the freezer.
  3. Transfer the veggie into a freezer bag or container. Label it with a name and a date and chuck it into the freezer.
    Chucking broccoli into freezer bags

Freezing Cooked, Steamed, or Roasted Broccoli

Freezing broccoli this way is perfect if you want to have frozen broccoli ready to eat in no time. Since the brocs are already pre-cooked, they just need to be warmed up. no need to wait until the vegetable softens. A few minutes on a frying pan or in a microwave and the brocs are ready. This method is perfect if you plan to eat the frozen broccoli within a month. It’s not recommended if you are planning to store the brocs for the long term.

Here’s the step by step process of freezing pre-cooked broccoli (choose one of the options):

  1. [Option A] Cooking the broccoli. Boil a pot of water with a pinch of salt and chuck the broccoli. Keep the pot on simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes until the veggie softens slightly. The brocs do not need to soften all the way because you will be reheating it. Aim to undercook the brocs. Once broccoli softens, strain the water.
  2. [Option B] Steam the broccoli. Bring a pot of water to a boil and steam the broccoli for 20 to 25 minutes until it softens. Just like you would do if you were cooking it, aim to “under-steam” it.
  3. [Option C] Roast the broccoli. This is my favorite method! It works beautifully if you’re preparing broccoli as part of your meal prep routine. Preheat the oven to 420 degrees F (or 220 degrees C). Take a cookie sheet, line it with aluminum foil and lay the broccoli florets onto it. Now it’s time to coat them. The easiest option is to spray the broccoli with olive oil. I mix olive oil with balsamic vinegar 1:1 and spray the broccoli with that. A tablespoon of a coating of your choice is more than enough for a large cookie sheet of broccoli. Once the oven is preheated, transfer the cookie sheet into it. Roast the veggie for 30 to 35 minutes. After about 30 minutes check if the veggie is soft enough. Try piercing the brocs with a fork. If they’re not ready,  leave it in the oven for another 3-5 minutes.
  4. Cool and dry the broccoli thoroughly. No matter which option of pre-cooking you have chosen, give the vegetable time to cool completely. Remove any excess water the veggie. For starters, lay the broccoli flat and let it sit in room temperature for at least an hour to let it cool off. Once it’s cool, check if all the moisture has evaporated. If you can spot some wet spots, use paper towels or a dish cloth to get rid of those. Cold and dry broccoli is ready for freezing.
  5. Transfer the broccoli into freezing bags or containers. Label them with name and a date and chuck them into the freezer. To make defrosting more convenient, divide the veggies into several servings. Put each serving into its own container. This way when you need the frozen broccoli, you just take the bag from the freezer without measuring anything.

How to Defrost Frozen Broccoli

The way to defrost broccoli depends on how you plan to use it. If the veggie will go into a soup, stew, or something similar, the easiest way to go is to throw it in frozen. If you want to fry the brocs as part of a stir-fry or a casserole, defrost the vegetables in the fridge. If you forgot to put it into the refrigerator the night before, leave the vegetables to thaw at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours. Please note that defrosted vegetables (and pretty much any other product out there) shouldn’t be re-frozen.

Tips and Tricks for Freezing Broccoli

Cutting broccoli florets into smaller ones is messy. Instead of cutting them all the way with a knife, cut them halfway from the bottom (stem). Then, tear apart with your hands. This way there’s little to no mess involved.

Splitting broccoli floret into two

Splitting broccoli floret into two

Dish

Can You Freeze Spaghetti?

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

How to Freeze Spaghetti?

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

Cooking the Pasta for Freezing

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.

Packing the Spaghetti for Freezing

Place sauce and meatballs in Tupperware 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. You can also use quart-size resealable plastic storage bags or Pyrex bowls with covers.

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

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.

FAQs: Freezing Spaghetti

Can you freeze cooked spaghetti?

We don’t recommend freezing the spaghetti because once thawed, the dish could turn soggy. Still, you can freeze the spaghetti if only to avoid waste. If you are making the spaghetti from scratch, we highly recommend storing the spaghetti noodles and the spaghetti sauce in different containers. This will help extend the quality of both components. You can always combine both components once you are ready to serve.

Just prepare the spaghetti noodles and the spaghetti sauce as you normally would. Cook the noodles al dente, never all the way through. Remember, you will reheat the noodles later on and the added heat could turn cooked spaghetti noodles into a mush! Strain the liquids and set aside.

Now the most important step, drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil into the al dente spaghetti noodles. The oil will prevent the noodles from sticking together. You can season the noodles at this point but you can also do this once you are ready to reheat the spaghetti. Leave the spaghetti noodles to cool completely before packing them for freezing.

Prepare a large freezer-safe resealable plastic bag or several smaller freezer bags and pour the cooked spaghetti noodles in the bag. Squeeze out as much air as you can then seal. Write the storage date then stick flat in the freezer. We recommend dividing the spaghetti noodles into manageable portions so thawing and reheating the noodles are much easier.

As for the sauce, you want to make sure that it has cooled down completely before freezing. Once the sauce has cooled completely, just pour it in an airtight container. Cover the container with cling wrap then secure the airtight lid. Write the storage date then stick in the freezer.

Can you freeze cooked spaghetti noodles?

Sure, you can freeze cooked spaghetti noodles as well as leftover spaghetti noodles. One thing to keep in mind, however, is the doneness of the noodles before freezing. If you are making spaghetti ahead of time, you have to cook the noodles al dente or only halfway through doneness. This way, the spaghetti noodles won’t turn to mush once they are thawed and reheated. Also, don’t forget to drizzle olive oil and then toss the noodles so they won’t clump together as they cool.

As for leftover spaghetti noodles, there is no choice but to freeze them as is if you did not prepare them yourself. Just check if you need to add more olive oil to the cooked noodles before packing them for freezing. Then, you can either divide the batch into manageable portions or pack the entire batch of cooked spaghetti noodles for freezing.

Can you freeze cooked spaghetti with sauce?

If you are making the spaghetti at home, we highly recommend storing the sauce and the noodles in separate containers. However, you can also freeze cooked spaghetti with sauce and this goes if you are making the spaghetti yourself or you are dealing with leftovers.

We’ve already outlined the packing instructions above for reference. But don’t forget a few things before packing the cooked spaghetti with sauce.

Let the dish cool completely before packing to extend the spaghetti’s storage life. If you are pressed for time, you can speed up the cooked pasta’s cooling process by running it over cold water in a  colander. Divide the dish into manageable portions so defrosting and reheating the spaghetti noodles and the sauce becomes effortless.

Can you freeze cooked spaghetti with meat sauce?

You certainly can. Meat is not as temperature sensitive as other meat sauce ingredients so freezing the meat sauce should be fine. Just make sure you are using an airtight container so the frost won’t affect the flavor or texture of the meat and noodles. And again, if you are making the spaghetti ahead of time, consider storing the meat and the noodles in separate containers.

How to Defrost Frozen 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.

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.

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.

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 to thaw by lunchtime. Then, reheat in the microwave.

Summary

Freezing spaghetti is one of the best ways to maximize leftovers or whip up make-ahead meals. Now that you know how can you freeze spaghetti, go ahead and try it today. Freezing is 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 an 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. Below is our guide on how can you freeze grapes:

can you freeze grapes

Image used under Creative Commons from Jeena Paradies

How to Freeze Grapes?

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. The ways to prepare and consume frozen grapes are endless – from juice to grape jelly or jam, to raisins and even wine.

Freezing Fresh Grapes

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

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 on 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.

Freezing Grape Jellies and Jams

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.

Freezing Grape Juice or Puree

For chilling juice drinks and puree, 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.

How to Defrost Frozen Grapes?

Defrosting frozen grapes is so easy. Just transfer the container from the freezer to the fridge. Let thaw for several hours to overnight. The thawing method applies to all grape preparations, fresh, pureed, grape juice, and jams.

It is important to thaw the grapes slowly so their natural flavors and textures are retained. Although freezing and thawing grapes does detract somewhat from their color, flavor, and texture, but not by much.

Summary

Now that you know how can you freeze grapes, there is no stopping you from extending the fruit’s shelf life and create yummy treats!

In addition to eating them plain as a frozen snack, frozen grapes can be used in a variety of ways. You can use them as a replacement for ice cubes in a punch or blend with soy milk and a banana for a healthy smoothie.

You can also freeze grapes and use it for a fruit compote or add to a wine sangria. You can make kid-friendly treats or use thawed in recipes calling for fresh grapes, such as jams, jellies, and juice drinks.

Fruit

Can You Freeze Strawberries?

Fresh strawberries are in season for only a few weeks every year. While I usually eat as many strawberries as I can when they are in season, it’s great to have them at other times of the year too. Can you freeze strawberries? Fresh strawberries in grocery freezers is a common sight so the answer to the question “can you freeze strawberries?” is a definite yes.

The most important thing you need to know, and you already know it if you’ve ever bought frozen strawberries, is that freezing changes the texture of this fruit. The strawberries after defrosting are somewhat mushy, so they work much better in recipes as opposed to eating the fruit on its own. In other words, if you want to just eat strawberries, enjoy them when in season. But if a smoothie or a baking project is what you have in mind, then, by all means, go with frozen and thawed berries.

Having said that, let’s go through ways of freezing and defrosting strawberries.

Oatmeal with strawberries and yogurt

Oatmeal with thawed strawberries

How to Freeze Whole Strawberries?

This is the most popular method of freezing strawberries. You will end up with similar results to what you get when you buy frozen strawberries.

  1. Prep. Wash the strawberries thoroughly and remove the hulls. Basically, prepare the strawberries the same way you would if you were preparing them for eating.
  2. Pat them dry. I usually leave the berries on dish towels covered with paper towels for half an hour. Wet strawberries will leave red stains, so make sure that they lay on layer or two of paper towels, not directly on the dish towels. After about half an hour, pat the strawberries dry with paper towels. Essentially, you want to get rid of as much moisture as you can prior to freezing.
    Drying strawberries
  3. (Recommended) Prefreezing. Transfer the berries onto a cookie sheet and lay them in a single layer in a way they don’t touch one another. Put the sheet into the freezer and leave it there until the strawberries are frozen solid (an hour should do).
    Strawberries on cookie sheet

    Strawberries on cookie sheet, ready for pre-freezing

    Frozen strawberries on cookie sheet

    Pre-frozen strawberries

  4. Transfer the strawberries into freezer bags. Remove as much air from the bags as possible. Label the bags if needed.
    Frozen strawberries in freezer bag
  5. Throw the freezer bags into the freezer.

The pre-freezing process makes it a bit difficult to freeze a big batch, as there’s usually not that much space in the freezer where you can put the cookie sheet. But it’s totally worth it because the berries won’t freeze in a clump. Also, you will be able to scoop as many strawberries as you need at a time this way. If you will skip pre-freezing, the strawberries will freeze in a clump and you have to thaw the whole bag.

How to Defrost Frozen Strawberries?

Thawed strawberries

  • In the fridge. Transfer the frozen strawberries from the freezer into the fridge. After a few hours the berries will be defrosted and ready to use. The easiest way to make sure they are defrosted when needed is to thaw them overnight, i.e. put into the fridge the night before they are needed.
  • In a cold bath. Prepare a pot of cold water and throw the freezer bag into the pot. This method will thaw the strawberries faster than at room temperature.
  • At room temperature. This method is not recommended because room temperature is the best temperature for the bacteria to grow. Nevertheless, if you’re going to use all the strawberries you defrost right away (i.e. after an hour or two after taking them out of the freezer), this method should do. I do it all the time and never had any issues, but maybe that’s just pure luck.
Dough & Batter

Can You Freeze Pizza Dough?

Pizza dough is one of the most versatile things you can keep in your freezer. Can you freeze pizza dough? 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 the sauce to crust, almost 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 fundraiser, it helps to have plenty of dough on hand.  And that’s why we freeze pizza dough. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze pizza dough:

How to Freeze Pizza Dough?

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

Making the Dough

Use your usual tried and true recipe for the 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 cookbooks and online, too.

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.

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 the addition of sauce and toppings.

Packing the Dough for Freezing

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 cornmeal, and place each into a separate Ziploc bag. (Some people prefer lightly oiling the dough.)

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

How to Defrost Frozen 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.

Summary

Can you freeze pizza dough? Of course, you can! And when you do, you’ll have frozen dough on hand. You can enjoy pizza at home more frequently. Also, the price of at-home versus pizza parlor price makes your prep time well worth it.