Is your freezer packed but you don’t know what you can get rid of?
When it comes to our kitchens, some people are extremely organized while others are more laid back. However, there’s one area even the most calculated people often forget about: the freezer.
Why are we overlooking this part of the kitchen so much? Well, it’s probably because we imagine that everything we put in there can last a million years. However, you’d probably be surprised to know that even ice cubes give us some clues that we should toss them out!
If you’re curious to know more, let’s have a look at 10 surprising things we should throw away from our freezer as soon as possible.
Smelly ice cubes
Have you ever smelled an ice cube? Neither have I, but it might be time to do so!
If you keep ice cubes in your fridge for a longer time, they’ll start getting some of the smell and properties of the foods around them – but the smell isn’t the only strange thing here. Once you add those ice cubes to your beverage, it can be completely ruined.
Weird as it may seem at first, smelling ice cubes can be a beneficial habit that prevents any unwanted food accidents. Additionally, you can start using ice cube trays with lids because they protect each cube from food contact and strange smells. They’re also a great way to keep your freezer organized because they make storage so much easier.
Did you know that mixed veggies can be kept in the freezer for a maximum of three months? Unfortunately, I think we’ve all kept them longer than that – and while consuming them may not kill you, it won’t do any well either.
Also, once you’ve taken the veggies out of the freezer once, they can never go back in there. Re-frozen veggie mixes can have bacteria and other substances in them that will end up in future meals, potentially causing indigestion. Simply said, it’s just not worth the risk, right?
My favorite strategy, in this case, is to use a marker pen to write down the date I bought the veggie mix on each package. This way, I know exactly how long I can use them before tossing them out.
Stale coffee beans
Not everybody is storing ground coffee in the freezer – but if you are, know that you’re doing the right thing! This simple practice can keep coffee beans fresh for much longer than if you would’ve kept them at room temperature.
Keep them in the freezer for too long, though, and they’ll slowly (but surely!) start absorbing the moisture around them; with moisture can come smells and tastes from every ‘neighbor’ they have, including meat, veggies, and other stored ingredients.
Honestly, the best way to prevent this issue is to make sure you buy just enough coffee beans that you can consume them within a relatively short span of time.
Frozen meat is probably one of the biggest life-saving tricks for weekdays, especially for those with a busy lifestyle.
However, if meat such as chicken or turkey is starting to thaw, it means it’s already started to grow bacteria. Furthermore, if your freezer stops working due to a power outage, for instance, it can take very little until the meat starts to thaw.
Once again, the best thing you can do is to write down the date you add the meat to your freezer so you know exactly how long you can keep it.
Pastries with a creamy filling
You’ve worked so hard for that cheese danish, it would be a shame to just throw away the leftovers, right? Of course, storing them in the freezer is the most convenient option – but there are a few guidelines here as well.
Any product that contains cheese, creams, or sauces doesn’t resist that well in the fridge – at least not as well as mixed veggies or ice cubes, for example. For example, cheese danishes should be thrown away after a month.
However, the best thing you can do is to cook any pastry product right away and measure your ingredients thoroughly before mixing them.
Throwing food away is a major global issue and even big companies are making more efforts than ever to use leftovers in the best way they can to protect the environment and avoid waste. I completely agree with this practice and freezing leftovers is definitely beneficial, it just gets weird at one point.
Firstly, all of us tend to forget about them at some point; maybe we just can’t throw them away out of principle so we lie to ourselves that we’ll eat them later. If you open your freezer and don’t even remember what’s inside some of those containers, it’s definitely time to toss them out!
Old ice cream
Does ice cream ever get old?
If you’re an ice cream enthusiast like me, this product won’t get to last very long in the freezer anyway, so there’s no need to worry. However, there may be that one ice cream left at the bottom of the freezer that we simply forgot about – in which case, you must say goodbye to it.
As a rule of thumb, you should toss any tub of ice cream that’s older than four months. You can also extend the freshness of large ice cream tubs by dividing them into smaller containers so you avoid de-freezing the whole tub every time you want to grab a bite.
I’ve mentioned this trick many times in other nutrition posts here on Wellness Captain because it’s incredibly useful and can prevent food waste: start storing extra fresh bread in your freezer!
However, it’s equally important to note that even the freshest slices of bread only last for up to 6 months in the freezer. Although it won’t start to get fungus on it, the bread simply won’t be fresh anymore after 6 months – not to mention it can also get a weird smell depending on how you pack it.
In order to keep your bread fresh and good-smelling for months, you should wrap it in one or two layers of plastic wrap and then another layer of freezer paper.
Much like creams and cheeses, deli meat is another sensitive food that doesn’t last very long – even when stored in the freezer.
Yes, you can definitely freeze extra slices of deli meat just to have them at hand every time you need a quick sandwich; however, it won’t last more than two months in the freezer regardless of how you wrap and store it.
Don’t get me wrong, the deli meat won’t go bad after two months – but it just won’t taste as right as it did when it was fresh. As a pro tip, you should wrap deli meats tightly using plastic wrap and even store them in a plastic container for extra safety.
The term ‘freezer burn’ refers to an unfortunate, yet unavoidable phenomenon that happens especially with meat. Basically, if you keep any meat in the freezer for too long, it will lose its taste and moisture. Regardless of how you cook it, freezer-burned meat will have a dry texture that doesn’t exactly make you drool.
You can prevent freezer burn by sealing your meats tightly before throwing them in the freezer; even so, though, you shouldn’t keep them for too many months or else they’ll become completely useless.
Another great freezer hack would be to write down a list on your phone or notepad of every food you have inside your freezer and its ‘expiration’ date. This way, you’ll never forget what you have in there and you can enjoy each food or ingredient on time.
BONUS TIP: Old freezer meals
If these meals aren’t lifesavers, then I don’t know what are! Whether you’re meal prepping using foods you’ve cooked yourself or just purchasing extra ready-made freezer meals, this trick can turn any evening into a special treat for you and your loved ones.
However, you should take into account that every freezer meal must be eaten within the first three months. Although store-bought freezer meals contain preservatives and other substances made to make them last longer, you shouldn’t count on these ingredients either.
And if you are not sure what you could keep in the pantry, these are all the canned foods you should make sure to eliminate from your diet!