Your freezer can be much more than a repository crammed full of the odds and ends and leftovers from your kitchen. Knowing what to freeze and how to freeze it will save you time and money.
Chris Kimball of Cook's Illustrated magazine says that, above all, there are two key things that will extend the life of your freezer's contents: keep the freezer as cold as possible and properly wrap food for storage. Beyond that, it helps to know something about the freezer itself and how to best utilize the space available.
Frozen poultry and meat should be defrosted in the refrigerator, never out on the counter, for safety. Microorganisms can start growing in frozen meat left on a counter to thaw in as little as 2 hours. But refrigerator thawing means you have to plan ahead. Here are approximate defrosting times for common foods:
|Thin steaks, chops, chicken breasts||8 to 12 hours|
|Thick steaks, chops, bone-in chicken parts||24 hours|
|One pound ground beef, casseroles||24 hours|
|Whole chickens, turkeys, roasts||5 hours per pound|