How Long Can You Store Fresh Food

This is part of a series on How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

Revised July 30, 2020 – Originally published June 4, 2020 Deborah Esplin

Food Dates? What do they mean?

Most foods that you buy in the grocery store will have a packed date, a manufacture date, an expiry date or a best before date. What are these different kinds of dates and what do they mean?

Food platter
Platter of food. 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Expiry Dates

Expiry dates are dates where food safety is no longer guaranteed or where there is a risk of severe quality deterioration after the date.

Expiry dates are usually short and are for refrigerated foods that can not be safely stored at room temperature or they may become dangerous. For foods that have an expiry date, it is important not to go past that date.

This date will be marked on the package if you buy the food in a grocery store. If you buy the food at a food service location or from a caterer, there may not be a date and you can use the dates below to guide you.

Best Before Dates

Best Before Dates are used to provide time frames after which the quality or the nutritional content of the food decreases. Best before dates are usually longer and can be on refrigerated or shelf-stable foods. Usually, there is not a food safety risk if you go a day or two past this date.

Manufacture / Packed on Date

Some foods have a manufacturing or packed on date. Fresh meat, fish and seafood should have both pack and expiry dates. As these foods have a very short shelf life in the refrigerator, both dates are required to give the consumer a good idea of how long the food is safe for.

However, foods like deli meats, bacon, and frozen smoked salmon are not required to have pack date, as their shelf life is longer.

Date rules

In Canada, all foods that are sold in retail packaging, and that have a date less than 90 days must have the date on the food. Foods that have dates longer than 90 days do not have to have the date on the package, however, most manufacturers now put dates on their packages. If your food has a date on from the manufacturer, you can use this date as a guide for how long to keep the food and use it.

Both expiry and best before dates are valid only for food that has not been opened. Once the food has been opened, the dates are generally shorter and are also dependent on good storage practices. The table below lists storage dates for common foods once they are open.

Long storage dates 

Some foods have very long best before dates. For example, nuts, crackers, and canned goods can have dates of one year or more.

For some foods, like canned goods, it is important to respect the date. These foods can be dangerous and cause food poisoning.

But for dry goods like nuts, crackers, grains, seeds, and cereals, as examples, there will not usually be a food safety risk if you use these foods after the date. The date is more an indicator of the quality of the food. These foods may go rancid, or the texture and taste may change so that they are no longer palatable. Use your senses and your judgment in deciding whether to use these kinds of foods after their date.

The date of any food applies only as long as the food is not open or is properly wrapped and stored.

Medium storage dates

Some foods, like dairy products and eggs, have medium storage dates. Because dairy products are made from pasteurized milk, there is usually not a food safety risk to consuming milk, yogurt, or cheese for a short time after their date has passed. It is more a question of quality.

With milk, it will go sour and you will notice the bad smell or the lumps. With yogurt and cheese, they may be an unpleasant odour and/or mold growth.

Definitely do not use dairy products after the date if there are visible signs that they are no longer good. However, if it is only a day to a few days after the date and there are no signs of spoilage, it is generally okay to use these foods. Use your sense to make sure there are no signs of spoilage.

What temperature should your fridge be at?

The government of Canada recommends that your fridge be kept between 0 and 4 C. In the US, the temperature range is 32 to 40 F. Do you know your fridge temperature?

You can get a thermometer and keep it in your fridge to make sure. This way you can have your fridge as warm as it safe so that your produce doesn’t freeze, and you can find out the warmest part of your fridge so that you organize yours with the most temperature-sensitive items in the coldest areas. This Rubbermaid thermometer from Amazon is sturdy, reliable and not expensive. I highly recommend this model.

Recommended Storage Times For Fresh Food in the Refrigerator

Days    Food

1           Shellfish

2           Ground meat, Raw sausage

3           Egg substitute-open, Milk-open, Yogurt-open, Soups, Chicken-whole & pieces

4           Beef, veal, pork, lamb, Fish-lean & fatty, Ham, Deli meat, Cooked meals, Cooked poultry & fish

5           Lunch meat-open, Beans, Hummus-open

7           Soft cheese, lettuce, Bacon, Hot dogs-open, Sausage-cooked, Harc-boiled eggs

10        Egg substitute-not open

14         Vegetables, Lunch meat-not open, Hot Dogs-not open

21         Butter-open, Semi-soft cheese, Eggs, Spinach

56         Butter-closed salted/unsalted

152      Cheese-firm & processed

303      Hard cheese

Recommendations from the Government of Canada.

Fresh foods that need to be refrigerated to maintain their safety and quality are foods where you should generally respect the dates above or the date on the unopened package.

For any kind of meat, fish, or shellfish food, absolutely respect the dates. These foods can become unsafe very fast, especially if they are raw. Even stored in the refrigerator they do not stay safe for long.

Check out my companion video on this topic:

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

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Comments are welcome. I would love to know what you think.

 


 

Tips and Do’s And Don’ts On Thawing Your Food

This is part of a series on How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

There are best, good, and bad ways to thaw foods. Here are the tips.

Revised July 30, 2020 – Originally published June 1, 2020 Deborah Esplin

Cupcakes
Cupcakes on a tray.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Thawing Do’s & Don’ts

There are different ways to thaw your food and some are better and safer than others. Here we look at the options and the best ways to thaw your raw or cooked foods.

Thawing in the Refrigerator

The number one best way to thaw all frozen food is in the refrigerator. This way, the food stays cold while it thaws, and there is no risk of bacterial growth while it is thawing. Most foods will thaw in 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator. However, a large turkey or container of soup or stew may take 3 or more days.

The trick is that you have to plan in order to pull food out of the freezer for it to have enough time to thaw in the refrigerator. It may happen sometimes, as it happens with me, that you don’t always plan far enough in advance and it is panic time. 3 PM and, ‘What am I making for dinner?’ Help. You may end up thawing the food you want to cook a couple of hours before you need to start the meal prep. This is where the other thawing methods come into the picture.

Thawing Under Running Cool Water

The second best way to thaw is to put your food under cool, running water, or in a bowl of cool water. You do not want to use hot water because it could cook raw food and cause containers to crack or break. Cool water will thaw food just as fast.

Run the cool water for a minute or so, then let the food sit for a couple of minutes, then run cool water again. Because you need to keep applying the cool water, but you don’t want to run the water from your tap non-stop for 10 or minutes, putting the food in a bowl to thaw is best. This method is just as safe as thawing in the fridge as long as you cook the food as soon as it is thawed or you put it back into the refrigerator. Also, this method is fast. Most foods will be thawed in thirty to forty-five minutes.

This method works for most items, except the really big, bulky ones like a turkey. There you are stuck. If you do not pull it out in time to thaw in the refrigerator, you should change your meal plan, because there is no other safe way to thaw big, bulky items.

Thawing in the Microwave

This is the third-best way to thaw food, but using the microwave is tricky, especially for raw foods. They tend to cook during the thawing process in the microwave. I have a defrost cycle on my microwave, but I find that it is still too strong. I will defrost for a couple of minutes, then give the food a five-minute rest, then repeat the process.

Thawing cooked food is less tricky in the microwave and generally works well, as long as the food is in a type of container that can go in the microwave. For example, glass or frozen meals that state the food can be put in the microwave. But, if I buy soup in a plastic container, as an example, and need to thaw it fast, it is not good to put the single-use container into the microwave. It was not made for that purpose. In that case, I would thaw the soup under running water. Make sure that any container you put in the microwave does not contain metal and is intended for use in microwaves.

There are two goals when thawing food: 1-keep it cool so bacteria do not grow (food safety); 2-defrost slowly so the edges of the food do not cook or burn (food quality).

The Wrong Way To Thaw Food

The worst and most dangerous way to thaw food is by leaving it on the counter. The outside of the food thaws and bacteria can start to grow while the inside is still frozen. If there are a lot of bacteria, the food can become dangerous to eat, even after cooking. Do not thaw food this way. Please. The other three methods work fine and water thawing is fast.

The best way to avoid thawing raw food in a hurry just before dinner is to plan ahead and have cooked meals ready in your freezer. Then you can pull out the raw food for the next evening’s meal and pull out a ready-cooked meal for the immediate evening.

Thawing Your Food Tips Summary

    1. Time frames for thawing food.
    2. The best method for thawing: in the fridge.
    3. The second best method for thawing: running under cool water.
    4. Last method: using the microwave with tips for doing that.
    5. Warning about not leaving food on the counter to thaw.
    6. Put thawed food back in the fridge, if you won’t cook it right away.

Check out my companion video on this topic:

Here is a link to the next blog post in the series: How Long Can You Store Fresh Food.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Comments are welcome. I would love to know what you think.


 

How Long Can You Store Frozen Food

This is part of a series on How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

Freezing Foods Do’s & Don’ts

Do you know the best temperature for keeping frozen food and how to freeze foods?

Revised July 30, 2020 – Originally published May 28, 2020 Deborah Esplin

Milk
Milk in a cup.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclaimer in the legal page for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Freezer Temperature

The government of Canada recommends that you keep your freezer at -18 C or colder. You can put a small thermometer in your freezer to monitor the temperature. I have a couple of thermometers that I use in my fridge and freezer. This model of a thermometer, from Rubbermaid, is convenient, sturdy, not expensive, and readily available from Amazon.

Your food safety and quality will be best when your freezer is consistently as cold as it needs to be. By having a thermometer in your freezer, you can make sure that you are keeping the freezer cold enough.  If there is a power failure, you can use the thermometer to monitor if your freezer is getting too warm.

The thermometer should be placed in the warmest part of the freezer. With a chest freezer, this would normally be near the top. With an upright freezer, it may vary depending on the model of the freezer. Often it is close to the door but whether the top or bottom of the freezer is colder depends on the model. By experimenting with the thermometer position, you can figure the warmest part of your freezer and then keep it there.

When you freeze food, you stop bacteria growth and you preserve quality. But, freezing does not kill most bacteria, so if the food was unsafe or had a lot of bacteria in it, it will leave the freezer with the same bacteria. Those bacteria will start to grow as the food warms up. Freeze foods when they are fresh and safe.

Most foods freeze well, and their quality is maintained in the freezer. However, over time the quality does decrease. That is why there are recommended storage times for how long various foods should stay in the freezer. The rate of quality decrease does partially depend on the type of freezer. Upright freezers are known to have freezer burn issues faster than chest freezers. Take these storage recommendations from the government as a minimum time and then see what results you get in your own freezer. Possibly you can exceed these recommendations.

In my chest freezer, food stays of good quality for longer than these recommendations from the government. As long as your freezer stays at -18 C or colder, the food will remain as safe as it was when it was frozen.

These are quality recommendations, not food safety recommendations. In the table below are the recommended storage times for maximum quality from the government of Canada. You may be surprised.

Government of Canada Recommended Freezer Storage Times

Weeks    Food
4             Bacon-raw & cooked

6             Milk

8             Yogurt, Cheese semi-soft

12           Tomatoes,  Fatty fish, e.g. Salmon,  Hot Dogs-open or not,  Lunchmeat- open or not, Sausage-raw or cooked, Semi-firm cheese, Processed cheeses, Butter unsalted,  Veal, Ham, Ground  meat,  Eggs, Deli meats

16           Cooked dishes, Meals, Shellfish,  Chicken pieces-raw,  Cooked chicken, Lean fish, Cooked fish

26           Pork

36           Lamb

52           Egg substitutes, Butter salted, Cheese hard,  Vegetables, Beef, Whole chicken,  Hummus

After looking at the list above you may wonder? 

Why would unsalted butter have a much shorter recommended storage time than salted butter? Salt is a preservative, so the salt in the butter helps retard mold growth and rancidity.

Why do some meats have longer or shorter recommended storage times? It depends on the amount of fat in the meat, the packaging, and the type of meat. Ground meat always has a shorter storage time than whole cuts because it is more processed and there is more risk of bacteria being introduced into the meat during the grinding process.

Why does bacon have such a short storage recommendation? Salted meats do not store well in the freezer for long because the salt causes taste changes.

Reminders on how to prepare food for freezing

Because the storage time frames vary so much between different types of food, that is another reason why it is important to date and identify your food. As well, there storage time frames assume that you have wrapped your food very or put it into air-tight containers. If air can get at the food, it will cause freezer burn and your storage time frames could be much shorter than this.

How Long Can You Store Frozen FoodTips Summary

    1. Keep your freezer at -18 C or colder.
    2. Invest in a freezer thermometer.
    3. Generally, follow the recommended storage times, but monitor the quality of what you pull out of the freezer if it has been in there longer than recommended.
    4. As long as your freezer stays cold enough, these storage times relate to food quality, not food safety.
    5. Consult the list of foods with their recommended storage time.
    6. Wrap your food very well or use air-tight containers to preserve quality and prevent freezer burn.

Check out my companion video on this topic:

Here is a link to the next video in the series: Tips and Do’s And Don’ts On Thawing Your Food.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Comments are welcome. I would love to know what you think.


What You Need To Freeze Foods

Frozen cherries

This is part of a series on How to Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

Tips on what you need to freeze food and prevent freezer burn.

Revised  July 30, 2020 – Originally published May 23, 2020 Deborah Esplin

Frozen cherries
Frozen cherry ice cubes.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

What You Will Need  /  Freezer

Freezers come in two types: chest and upright. Each type has advantages and disadvantages.

Chest freezers are less expensive, more energy-efficient, generally stay colder throughout the entire space, offer more space per cubic foot of storage, are easier for storing bulky items, and keep food frozen longer in a power failure. Plus foods in a chest freezer are less prone to freezer burn.

However, chest freezers are harder to keep organized, take a bit more space on the floor, and may need to be defrosted from time to time. I’ve had my chest freezer for 11 years and for the last nine years it has been at our present home and I have not needed to defrost it.

Upright freezers look like your refrigerator. They have a big door, shelves and you can see everything inside so they are easier to keep organized than a chest freezer. They also do not require defrosting and they have a small footprint on the floor.

However, upright freezers are more expensive than chest freezers to buy, tend to have warmer and colder zones so they do not keep your food as consistently cold as a chest freezer. Plus, they warm up faster in a power failure and use more electricity for the automatic defrost mechanism. The auto defrost mechanism also promotes more freezer burn.

Whichever, type you choose, they are both reliable appliances that last for years and are one of the most useful things you can buy. With a freezer, you can store all of the food that you bought on sale or in a larger format and all of the meals you cook so that you save money, cut your food waste, and have what you need on hand. If you have read the previous blogs or have seen the videos on YouTube, you will have purchased more food as part of the shopping strategy in the blog post, How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill. If you read the other two blogs you will know what foods do not freeze well and the many foods that you can freeze. All of these tips will help you save money on your groceries and cut your food waste.

What You Will Need / Food Containers

Reusable storage containers, BPA-free, do cost a little money, but they are safe, airtight, washable, and last for years. This set from Rubbermaid is easy-to-use, easy-to-wash, and stackable. They are not the least expensive, but you get a set of 21 containers and I love them.

Check out this blog post to understand why PBA-free matters.

I also like the storage containers that have the lids that snap down on four sides as they are completely leak-proof. You can buy them made out of glass or plastic. Either one is good. Here is an example of glass leak-proof containers available from Amazon.

Glass containers are a little pricier than plastic ones. Plastic containers, BPA-free, are just as safe. They come in several types. Both the ones with the lock lids and the push-down lids can be good at keeping liquids from leaking. The containers with the screw-on lids are fine too, but they are not always 100% leak-proof, however, they are usually the least expensive and are fine for most foods.

You can also use clean, dry metal coffee cans. They are a temporary substitute for purchased, reusable containers as long as they are not rusty. Unfortunately, the plastic lids do not last that long, at which point the container is useless for food. However, while you build up your inventory of storage containers they will do.

Do not reuse single-use food containers, like the yogurt and margarine tubs from the store. These containers are not meant to be reused. The plastic has not been created to withstand multiple uses, washing, heating, and cooling. The plastic breaks down over time allowing chemicals to leak into your food.

What You Will Need / Disposable Plastic Options

You can also use disposable plastic bags and plastic wrap. Plastic wrap is generally not enough to protect your food from freezer burn unless it is very thick. Most plastic wrap you find in your grocery store is not thick enough to be used alone to wrap your food for the freezer. However, plastic wrap with a ziplock bag is enough. By putting the food in the plastic wrap first, you keep the ziplock bag clean so that you can reuse it.

What You Will Need / Reusable Food Storage Bags

There is a newcomer to the ziplock bag arena; silicone food storage bags. They are reusable, washable in the dishwasher, freezable, safe for food, and have a long life-span. You can also put these bags in the microwave oven, regular oven, toaster oven, and steamer. These bags will cut or stop your use of disposable plastic bags. However, they do cost more money than a roll of plastic wrap, but over the long-run, they will save you money and cut the amount of plastic that goes to landfill. I have just bought my first set and so far, I am impressed. The top plastic bar that closes the bag can be a bit hard to pull off when the bag is cold, but they go in the dishwasher and really keep food fresh. Here is a link to one of the options on Amazon for silicone food storage bags.

Another tip for cutting plastic is to reuse disposable plastic bags. If my disposable plastic bags are still clean, I reuse them. Once they are dirty, I use them to clean-up after my dog. I even keep my bread bags to use for cleanup. That is my way of saving money and cutting how much plastic goes to landfill.

Identify Your Packages

Label and date your packages and containers before they go into the freezer. Once they are frozen, it will be very hard to figure out what is inside and after a while, you will not remember.

I have sheets of printer label paper and a marker in my kitchen. I use that to identify all my reusable containers. I use the marker to write directly on disposable plastic. My research shows that you can also write on the silicone bags and wipe it off after. Make your life easier in the long run and put the name of the food, the year and the month on the containers/packages before you freeze them.

What You Need To Freeze Food Tips Summary

    1. Choose the freezer that is best for you.
    2. Invest in reusable, washable containers that will cut your use of disposable plastic.
    3. If you use metal cans and tins, make sure they do not have rust.
    4. Invest in silicone bags that will cut your use of disposable plastic.
    5. Wrap your food well or put it into an airtight container to reduce freezer burn and food waste.
    6. Label and date everything before it goes in the freezer.

Check out my video on this topic:

Here is the link to the next blog post in the series: How Long Can You Store Frozen Food.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Comments are welcome. I would love to know what you think.


 

You Can Freeze Almost Any Food

Part of a series on How You Can Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

What foods can you freeze? There are many foods that you can freeze without any problems like texture changes or water leakage. Freezing is a good way to preserve food freshness and safety. Here is a list of the foods that you can freeze and tips for freezing foods.

Revised Aug. 10, 2020 – Originally published May 23, 2020 Deborah Esplin

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Most cheeses can be frozen
Hard cheeses can be frozen.

Foods That You Can Freeze

In the previous blog, we looked at what you can’t freeze; which is a really shortlist. Now for the long list of foods that you can freeze.

Bean pastes                          Beans, cooked                             Bread

Bread dough                         Breadcrumbs                               Burritos

Butter                                      Cakes, without icing                   Casseroles

Cheese curds                       Cheeses, hard                              Coffee, ground/beans

Canned goods, out of can                                                          Condiments

Cookie dough                       Cookies, without cream         Cottage Cheese

Doughnuts, unglazed         Fish, raw/cooked                       Flours/Grains

Goat’s cheese                       Granola                                            Herbs, Spices

Honey                                       Hummus                                         Jams, Jellies

Juices                                        Lentils, Legumes, raw/cooked

Meals, cooked                          Meats, raw/cooked            Milk, Buttermilk

Muffins                                        Nut butters                              Nuts

Oils                                                 Pancakes                                 Pasta, cooked in sauce

Pastries, without cream      Pastry sheets, raw               Peanut butter

Pies, cooked                               Pie shells                                   Pizza, raw/cooked

Quiches, cooked                     Quick breads                            Rice, Grains, raw/cooked

Sandwiches, with nut butters                                                  Scones

Sauces, with flour/cornstarch                                                 Seafood, raw/cooked

Seeds                                           Soups                                          Stews

Stocks                                           Tea                                               Tomato paste

Vegetables, blanched                                                                  Yogurt

Whipped cream sweetened

Most Foods Can Be Frozen But A Few Go Through Texture Changes

There are a few foods that can be frozen but they go through texture changes. Read my blog post on this topic, Foods Not To Freeze It’s A Short List, for more information on those foods like eggs and soft cheeses.  Also, you can freeze salad greens, but they will go mushy, so you will only want to use them in cooked foods or smoothies.

Tips For Freezing Liquids

Liquids, like juice, milk, and sauces, expand when they freeze. If they don’t have space at the top of the container, they need to be removed from their container, and put in a bottle for freezing. If you can’t see how much space there is at the top, it is better to remove the liquid from the original packaging. Most milks and juices do not have enough space at the top to allow for expansion upon freezing.

I like to use these bottles for freezing liquids. They are available from Amazon, are not expensive, are BPA-free and can be put in the dishwasher. The Nalgene 32 oz water bottle is great for larger amounts and the 24 oz Rubbermaid bottle is food for smaller amounts.

It is not a good idea to put any food packed in glass into the freezer. Glass will become even more brittle during freezing and is prone to breaking. The only exception would be glass storage containers that are made to go in the freezer.

Other foods, like hummus, deli and sliced meats, and cheese can be frozen in their original packaging. Eggs need to be shelled and put in a container before freezing. Canned foods need to be removed from the can before freezing.

Tips For Freezing Vegetables

Blanching vegetables before freezing means they will have a firmer texture upon thawing. Blanched vegetables do not become as soggy in the freezing process. They will still be somewhat softer than if they had not been frozen, but without blanching, vegetables go completely soft when they are frozen.

Why Freeze All These Foods?

You can buy in bulk, which saves money. You can keep foods fresher longer and you can freeze foods that might spoil before you can use then. Freezing foods saves you money and cuts your food waste.

Some of the foods listed above are shelf-stable foods like oil, coffee, flour, bread. Why would you want to freeze these foods? Freezing will prolong their shelf life and not affect the quality of the food. That way you can buy a 20 kg bag of flour or larger packs of bread, as examples, which will save you money and you can keep the food fresh in the freezer.

Freeze Foods When They Are Still Good

Freezing foods does not kill any bacteria in the food. Freezing just stops the bacteria from growing. That is why it is important to freeze foods when they are still of good quality and safe so that they come out of the freezer still in good quality and safe.

Food that has gone bad should not be frozen. It will still be bad when it comes out of the freezer.

Preparing Food For The Freezer

When you freeze foods, wrap them tightly with good quality flexible plastic wrap or use freezer bags or put them in airtight containers. Protecting your foods from freezer burn is important to keep their quality. Freezer burn is a fancy name for foods drying out and losing their quality over time in the freezer.

Label And Date Your Foods

Label and date food packages before they go in the freezer unless they are in their original packaging from the store. It is easy to forget what’s inside and how long it’s been there. Plus once food is frozen, it is hard to see what it looks like. When you take items out of the freezer condensation starts and you can’t see through the packaging.

You Can Freeze Almost Any Food Tips Summary

    1. Freeze foods when they are still good and fresh. 
    2. Leave space at the top of containers with liquids.
    3. Wrap foods very well for freezing or use airtight containers.
    4. Label and date everything.
    5. Don’t freeze food that is bad unless it is going to waste.
    6. Blanching vegetables to reduce the mushiness after thawing.
    7. Raw vegetables/salad greens/raw fruits can be used in cooked meals and smoothies.
    8. Consult the list of foods you can freeze.
    9. By freezing foods helps you save money and cut your food waste.

Check out my companion video on this topic:

Here is a link to the next blog post in this series: What You Need To Freeze Foods.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Comments are welcome. I would love to know what you think.


 

Foods Not To Freeze It’s A Short List

Part of a series on How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

There are only a few foods that do not freeze well because they go through major or minor texture changes that affect the way they taste and reduces their use as a food or an ingredient.

raw vegetables
Raw vegetables may not freeze well.

Revised July 30, 2020 – Originally published May 21, 2020 Deborah Esplin

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Here we look at this shortlist of foods that do not freeze well. Plus, there are tips for how to use foods that don’t freeze well like fruits and vegetables.

Why Freeze Foods?

Why do you want to freeze foods? Freezing extends the shelf life of foods and protects foods from bacteria growth. It is a great way to have food on hand, ready-for-use, and of good quality.

In the previous Blog, Buying Strategies To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill , there are tips for how to save money on your food budget. Following these tips means that you will be buying more food and for the perishable foods, freezing is a good strategy to keep them fresh and safe.

In this time of the Pandemic 2020, COVID 19, getting groceries in the house can be a challenge. If you can buy in larger quantities, then you have foods on hand, even if the grocery store has run out, you save money and you reduce waste.

Foods Not To Freeze

These foods do not freeze well, because they go through major texture changes, that will affect their appearance, their taste, and their usefulness. However, it is a very shortlist.

Raw potatoes                                                        Freshly prepared salads

Sandwiches made with mayonnaise         Anything made with mayonnaise

Cooked egg whites                                            Frosting/icing made with raw egg whites

Home-made fried foods                                    Gelatin/Jello

Carbonated drinks                                                Hard-boiled eggs

Chocolate

Foods You Can Freeze With A Caveat – Texture Changes

These foods can be frozen and used, but their uses are limited slightly because they do go through small texture changes.

  • Raw vegetables/ salad greens
    • They go mushy, but they can be used in soups/cooked foods and smoothies
  • Raw fruits
    • They go mushy, but they can be used in pies/smoothies
  • Sour cream
    • Some separation occurs, but it can be used in soups/sauces
  • Fresh soft cheese
    • There will be some water separation
  • Heavy cream
    • Will not whip as well
  • Raw egg yolks
    • Texture hardens slightly
  • Raw eggs out of the shell
    • Fine for baking when a high rise is not needed
  • Meringue
    • Don’t let them absorb humidity while thawing

There isn’t much you can’t freeze. If you are going to freeze an uncooked meal, do note that it won’t work if the food contains ingredients that are on the ‘Do Not Freeze’ or ‘Freeze With A Caveat’ lists.

For example, you can freeze raw pizza, but if there are raw vegetables on it, especially ones with a high water content like tomatoes, the water will be released during freezing and make the pizza mushy. For raw pizza, raw vegetables should be added after freezing and thawing and just before cooking. Or you can use dried vegetables on the pizza before you freeze it.

Once the meal is cooked, you can freeze almost anything, with the exception of cooked egg whites and anything made with mayonnaise or whipped cream. Do not freeze canned foods, unless they are removed from the can.

Foods Not Freeze Tips Summary

    1. Some foods have major texture changes after freezing and freezing is not advised.
    2. Some foods have minor texture changes and can be used in some applications.
    3. Shell eggs before freezing.

Check out my video on this topic:

Here is a link to the next topic in this blog series: You Can Freeze Almost Any Food.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Comments are welcome. I would love to know what you think.


 

Buying Strategies To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

Part of a series on How To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

Tips And Strategies To Save Money On Your Grocery Bill

Revised July 30, 2020 – Originally published May 19, 2020 Deborah Esplin

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my Affiliate Disclosure in the legal page link in the footer for further information. If not otherwise stated, all prices are intended in Canadian$.

Do you want to save money on your grocery bill and spend less on food? Here are tips and strategies to do just that. With these tips, you will save money, and you will go to the grocery store less often, which is positive during this time of the pandemic.

save money on your grocery bill
Shopping strategies to save money

Buy Food From A Wholesaler

If you have access to a grocery wholesaler, you will save even more money. Some wholesalers sell directly to individuals. You can look in your area to see if that is an option.
Here are some of the potential savings by buying larger quantities from a wholesale grocery.

    • 100 grams of goat cheese costs $9.99 from my local grocer
    • 1000 grams (1 kg) of goat cheese costs $49.99 from a wholesaler
      • By buying the larger format, you will save $50, which is a huge saving. And you can freeze goat’s cheese, plus many other foods. See the blog on You Can Freeze Almost Anything.

However, you may not be able to find the larger format of goat’s cheese unless you go to a wholesaler.

Buy Food In Bulk

Get your groceries from a bulk store or bulk section of your regular store. Prices are less and very often you can find items that are not available on the shelf.

Buy Food In Larger Formats 

There are huge savings to buying food in larger quantities. Just buying in larger quantities at your regular grocery or bulk store, you will save money. Discounts are offered or prices are lower for larger quantities and bulk items. Examples:

    • 2 loaf bread pack costs $4.99, 1 loaf of the same bread costs $4.49
      • For $0.50 more, you have 2 loaves of bread
    • 750 grams plain yogurt costs $3.99, 500 grams plain yogurt costs $4.99
      • For $1.00 more, you have 250 grams more yogurt
    • 1200g ground beef costs $10.00, 500g ground beef costs $7.00
      • For $3.00 more you get 700 grams more ground beef

Just with these examples, you save $13.29. Imagine if you apply this strategy across your entire grocery bill every time you go shopping.

Buy Groceries On Sale 

Another strategy is to buy items on sale and stock up when items are on sale. This is a good strategy, but during the pandemic, going to the grocery less often is a safer option. Before the pandemic, I would shop weekly and buy what was on sale. Over time, I built up a stockpile so that I didn’t need to buy much that wasn’t on sale. However, at this time, I am not following that strategy.

However, if you are already at the grocery store then is a good idea to stock up with items on sale. Especially for those that you use on a regular basis.

Buy Groceries In Multiple Quantities 

Often, foods have a reduced price if you buy multiple quantities. For foods that you use more often, that can be frozen, or have a long shelf life, this is a good strategy. You will save pennies to dollars at every purchase, and over time, you will save a significant amount of money.

With these tips, you will cut your food bill by 1/3 to 1/5 depending on the item and you will have what you need on hand. Plus, you will cut your trips to the grocery store. With the next two blog topics, we explore the foods you can’t and can freeze so that you can keep this food fresh and safe over a longer period of time.

 Save Money On Your Grocery Bill Tips Summary 

1. Buy from a wholesaler
2. Buy in bulk
3. Buy larger formats
4. Buy on sale
5. Buy multiple quantities

Check out my video on this subject:

Here is the link to the next blog in this series: Foods Not To Freeze A Short List.

Check out posts on other topics here: Blog Table of Contents.

Join my monthly newsletter to get new posts in your mailbox and access to the recipe cards and tip sheets.

Comments are welcome. I would love to know what you think.