Storing food in your freezer
Freezing and storing foods at temperatures -18°C (-0.4°F) or colder helps retain the physical quality and nutritional value of foods. Low temperatures inhibit the growth of bacteria, moulds and yeasts, thereby restricting chemical and physical reactions to extend the food’s storage life.
General fresh frozen food care
Successful freezing depend on the foods’ quality, packaging and proportions. We recommend freezing foods fast to maintain moisture content and to prevent the formation of large ice crystals.
For best results:
- Only select foods of high quality and freshness.
- Ensure foods are packaged in suitable packaging material before freezing.
- Ensure foods freeze as quickly as possible and in small quantities. Do not attempt to freeze more than 1 kg of meat per 25 litres (26 qt) of freezer storage volume.
- Freezing in smaller quantities helps retain the nutrient qualities and appearance of the food as best as possible.
- When freezing many foods at once, we recommended activating the ‘Fast Freeze’ function 2 hours beforehand.
- Ensure fresh food to be frozen does not come into contact with already frozen foods. This will cause frozen foods to start defrosting.
- When freezing foods containing liquids or semi-solids ensure there is a 20 – 50 mm (13⁄16 – 2”) head space to allow the foods to expand as they freeze.
- Keep door openings to a minimum and do not open unnecessarily.
- Ensure all air is removed from food packaging. This will avoid large formation of ice crystals and prevent freezer-burn on foods. The formation of small ice crystals is normal.
- Ensure hot foods and drinks are not placed directly into the freezer. Hot containers may damage shelves and walls of the refrigerator, increase energy consumption and cause already frozen foods to defrost.
- Ensure there is a constant turnover of foods. User older items of food first and do not exceed the recommended storage times. See table below.
- Ensure partially or fully defrosted foods are never re-frozen. Defrosted foods can only be refrozen after it has been cooked.
Recommended freezer storage times for freshly frozen foods
These times should not be exceeded.
|Months||Type of food stored|
|1||Bacon, casseroles, milk|
|2||Bread, ice cream, sausages, pies, prepared shellfish, oily fish|
|3||Non-oily fish, shellfish, pizza, scones and muffins|
|4||Ham, baked goods, beef and lamb chops, poultry pieces|
|6||Butter, blanched vegetables, whole eggs and yolks, cooked crayfish, raw minced meats|
|12||Dried fruits or fruit in syrups, egg whites, raw beet, whole chicken, raw lamb, fruit cakes|
Precooked foods and leftovers
- Ensure cooked food are stored in suitable covered containers and away from raw frozen foods.
- Not all foods are suitable for freezing; some separate on defrosting such as cooked egg whites, custards and cream fillings, meringue toppings, milk porridges, gelatine or jelly-like dishes and salad dressings.
Red meats, poultry and game
- We recommend selecting lean meats as opposed to fatty meats. These have a lower fat content, freeze much better and can be stored longer.
- When packaging meats (chops, steaks, cutlets) separate with sheets of plastic freezer film, then package all together. This prevents the meats forming into a solid block on freezing.
- Ensure stuffing is removed from poultry prior to freezing. Whole poultry or poultry pieces should only be stuffed right before cooking. Preparation in advance may result in food poisoning.
Fish and seafood
- Ensure whole fish are rinsed inside and out with cold running water to remove loose scales and dirt, then dried and packaged before storing in the freezer.
- Seal the whole fish or fillets well to prevent transfer of odours and flavours to other foods.
- Choose high quality, mature, and ready to eat fruits. Only select fruit varieties recommended for freezing.
- Avoid purchasing unripe or over-ripe fruits.
- Most packaged fruits can be stored for 8 – 12 months.
- Fruits packed in syrup are ideal for desserts, while fruits packed without sugar are better used for cooking.
- Not all vegetables are suitable for freezing eg lettuce, radishes, and onions. Only select mature and ready-to-eat vegetables recommended for freezing.
- Ensure vegetables are sorted and damaged parts are discarded.
- We recommend blanching vegetables before freezing. This technique inhibits vegetable enzymes and helps preserve the colour, flavour and nutritional value of the vegetables without chemical or physical damages.
- To blanch, boil vegetables in boiling water for 2 – 4 minutes, remove and cool quickly in ice- cold water. Drain well then package.
- Do not season blanched vegetables before freezing, only lightly season after cooking. Ifseasoned beforehand the flavour can intensify on freezing more than what is expected.
- We recommended cooling carbonated beverages only when the ‘Bottle Chill’ function is active.
- Do not store carbonated drinks without this function in the freezer, failure to remove beverages could lead to freezing liquid and the likelihood of bottle/can explosion.
Ice cubes (for non-Ice & Water models)
- Ensure ice trays are only filled 3⁄4 of the way. This allows enough room for water to expand on freezing.
- Left over gravy can be made into gravy cubes for next cooking use. To make, fill ice trays 3⁄4 of the way with is sufficiently cooled gravy mixture then freeze.