Flash freezing is a great way to preserve food. Here’s everything you need to know: why you flash freeze, what you might flash freeze, and how to flash freeze!
I briefly mentioned flash freezing in my recent Peach and Ginger Sorbet recipe. Someone asked me how and why I would flash freeze the peaches, so I thought it would be good to share this simple food preservation technique here.
What Is Flash Freezing?
Flash freezing is a technique where you freeze food in individual pieces so that you can use it easily in the future. Let’s look at why it can be so useful in the kitchen.
Why Flash Freeze?
First, when you put a bunch of food in a bag, as is, and freeze it, you often end up with a big chunk-o-food. Think about it. Chopped peaches into a bag, straight into the freezer? Chunk-o-peaches. Make some burgers and freeze them in a stack? Chunk-o-burgers. What a pain.
Flash freezing separates the food into individual pieces so that they freeze separately. Then, when you put them all in the same bag, they remain as individual pieces and can be separated easily.
Second, it’s great for portion control. Making cookies? You don’t have to bake the entire two dozen. Bake up six for your family, and flash freeze the rest of the dough in chunks to make the rest on another night. Or pull out a burger for lunch without having to thaw the whole stack.
Third, it’s a great way to extend the life of your food and decrease waste. If you have some strawberries that are on their last day, flash freeze them and throw them in a smoothie at a later date. End up with too many peppers in your CSA box? Flash freeze them and pull them out for a soup some other time. Flash freezing definitely decreases waste in your kitchen.
What Can I Flash Freeze?
There’s a huge list of foods that flash freeze well. Here are some of my favorites:
- Fruit, especially berries, peaches, nectarines, grapes, melon, mangoes, etc.
- Veggies, including peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
- Pre-made food, like burgers, muffins, meatballs, pancakes, biscuits, stuffed peppers, etc.
How Do I Flash Freeze?
If the food needs to be washed (like strawberries), wash them and dry them as well as possible so ice crystals won’t form.
If the food also needs to be chopped, like peaches, chop it.
Then lay everything out on a baking sheet so that none of the edges are touching. If you want, you can line the baking sheet with wax or parchment paper. I rarely do — I find that almost everything I flash freeze comes up easily with a spatula.
Put it in the freezer, making sure to keep the baking sheet flat so the food doesn’t slide around. Freeze for a few hours (two to three).
Once the food is frozen, remove from the baking sheet and put into a freezer bag for eating later! These peaches will be perfect for smoothies.
Remember that frozen food often doesn’t reconstitute perfectly. Frozen food is great for smoothies, soups, and casseroles. That kale you froze will not be good for a salad, but will be perfect in a smoothie, for example. Play around with it — you’ll be surprised by how many things can be frozen, and you’ll waste less food.
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