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What foods can I freeze?

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You can safely freeze anything as long as you can get it cold enough! But that is not what the consumer is usually asking when they want to know if you can freeze something. The real question is the quality of the product you will have when you freeze and then thaw a product. High water content produce like tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers don't freeze well because the thawed product is not acceptable. The other thing consumers are concerned about is the safety of freezing. If the product was safe for consumption when it was put into the freezer and did not thaw due to a freezer failure or suffer any other temperature abuse then it will be safe to use at any point in the future. The longer a food is frozen, the more changes it will have in flavor, texture and eating quality. Use of appropriate packaging materials will minimize changes. For best quality, freezer temperature should not fluctuate. Foods with a high fat content will become rancid and pick up flavors and odors of other foods if both are not packaged airtight. The suggested storage times you see in freezer charts are short and are chosen so that the food will still be of high quality.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, and Carolyn J. Lackey, Ph.D., R.D., L.D.N., Professor/Food and Nutrition Specialist, North Carolina State University (August 2004)

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