I am a real beginner with a real beginner’s question. How do I keep food in the freezer, meaning how is it wrapped and how long can it keep?
–Ralph in Chicago
Nobody tells us these things, so don’t feel like you’ve missed something. Basically air is the enemy of frozen foods. Pack everything airtight and you’re OK.
Use freezer paper which has plastic on one side (it comes in rolls in boxes like plastic wrap). Wrap with the plastic side touching the food, press all the air out and seal with tape. Always label the package with the date and what’s in it.
Produce usually keeps 1 year; poultry and meat, 6 months; breads, cakes, ice cream, stocks, and sauces keep 6 months; fish, three months; and cooked dishes, 3 months.
The one book I keep as a freezer reference (and the recipes are really well thought-out, too) is by Dana Jacobi. It is Cook and Freeze.
See also: Getting to know your freezer