Once your food is prepared, in order to get it ready for the freezer you will need to portion the food into your labeled bags. You will need to leave theses open until they cool, as below
Once cool, seal and flatten, making sure all the air is out the bag. I usually put these flattened meals in the fridge just to make sure they are a good temp before transferring to the freezer.
This makes them stackable and quicker to defrost.
Vacuum packing for the freezer
If you have chicken breasts, burgers or anything that is not in a sauce and therefore may have a chance of being freezer burnt, try to remove as much air as possible from the sealable freezer bag.
A great way to do this is flatten the bag and seal it leaving a small gap for a drinking straw. Then suck any excess air left in the bag out through the straw and seal the end of the bag.
How long can you freeze food?
Food can usually be frozen for 3 -6 months. Frozen food does not go off after this time it’s just it can start to get freezer burn and therefore dry out, but it is still safe to eat.
Always try if possible to defrost food slowly. The food standards agency says “The warmer the temperature, the busier the bacteria – so defrost food slowly, preferably overnight in the fridge. Cook within 24 hours”.
Occasionally I forget to take something out of the freezer the night before, my rule is unless its chicken I defrost either defrost it in the microwave on the defrost setting, or I use the cold-water method below:
Cold water method for defrosting food
Fill a container of your sink with Cold water, add the sealed freezer bag of frozen food to the water, as seen above. I use a large paper clip to keep it upright. It is important that the bag is sealed as you do not want the water touching the food as this can lead to contamination. Every 30 minutes change the water so that it remains cold. You will be so surprised at how quickly food defrosts in this way, especially if it’s a slim frozen flat meal.
If you have frozen minced beef in your freezer and you defrost it, as long as you have cooked it you can re-freeze it again. For example, defrost your minced beef, make it into a cooked Bolognese sauce, you can then refreeze the Bolognese sauce.