Dear Lynne, 

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

Ralph,

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.

-Lynne

See also: Getting to know your freezer

Lynne Rossetto Kasper

Lynne Rossetto Kasper has won numerous awards as host of The Splendid Table, including two James Beard Foundation Awards (1998, 2008) for Best National Radio Show on Food, five Clarion Awards (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2014) from Women in Communication, and a Gracie Allen Award in 2000 for Best Syndicated Talk Show.