By Sheela Prakash
It’s been said before that a stocked freezer is the best and easiest way to win in the kitchen. And that’s true—most of the time. But there are a handful (well, a couple of handfuls) of foods that get strange when frozen and then defrosted. Here are a few of them:
Soft cheeses such as ricotta, goat, or cream cheese tend to separate when frozen and thawed, which leads to strange textural changes. Hard cheeses like Parmesan and cheddar are usually a safe bet, but you’re still better off buying only what you need and storing it properly in the fridge.
2….and most dairy, for that matter.
Cream, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream, and custard all separate and curdle in the freezer.
3. Whole eggs.
Eggs can expand when frozen, causing the shell to crack and potentially let bacteria in—never a good thing. Cooked eggs and egg-based sauces like hollandaise, mayonnaise, and meringue are also poor freezer candidates. If you really have to freeze eggs, crack them, whisk them (or separate the whites and yolks) and store in an airtight container.
4. Fried foods.
The crispy, craggily, gloriously fried exterior of fried foods—that is, the best part—is lost when frozen and defrosted. Unless soggy is your thing, keep these suckers away from the cold.
It’s OK to freeze unopened, freshly-roasted bags of coffee for up to a month. But once you open the bag and start taking it in and out of the freezer, the coffee can get ruined. Thawing and refreezing yields condensation on the beans which causes them to absorb freezer smells.
6. Some Produce
Produce that has a high water content (cucumbers, watermelon, lettuce) gets limp and soggy when frozen and defrosted.
7. Fresh Herbs
Try to thaw a bunch of fresh herbs from frozen and you’ll be left with a brown, soggy mess. Instead, turn your herbs into compound butter or pesto, both of which freeze impeccably.
8. Cooked Pasta
Cooked pasta turns into a mushy puddle of gluten after it’s frozen. Avoid at all costs.
9. Sauces Thickened With Flour or Cornstarch
Thickened sauces like gravy and béchamel separate when frozen and thawed. Not a good look.
The texture of avocados changes when frozen, so you can kiss that silky interior goodbye. (But really, when have you ever had trouble using up a haul?) (Oh, wait, you have? You should probably read this.)
When was the last time you craved a soft, grainy potato? Exactly.
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