Topic Tuesday! Freezing Food Etiquette

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Our topic Tuesday today is going to be on “Freezing Food Etiquette”! Something that can save you a lot of money, allow you to stockpile certain foods such as CHEESE, and make it so you’re not constantly throwing things out because you forgot about them in your fridge!

There is a list below of specific foods and how long they will last in the freezer:

Times are based on a freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or colder. Storing and eating frozen foods past these deadlines isn’t dangerous, but flavors and textures will begin to deteriorate.

  • Chicken or turkey pieces, uncooked: nine months
  • Fruit pies, unbaked: eight months
  • Fruit: 6 to 12 months
  • Steaks, uncooked: 6 to 12 months
  • Butter: 6 to 9 months
  • Lean fish: six months
  • Roasts, uncooked: 4 to 12 months
  • Chicken or turkey, cooked: 4 to 6 months
  • Chops, uncooked: 4 to 6 months
  • Shellfish, uncooked: 3 to 6 months
  • Hamburger: 3 to 4 months
  • Bread and cake: three months
  • Cookies, baked or dough: three months
  • Meat casseroles, cooked: three months
  • Fatty fish: 2 to 3 months
  • Soups and stews: 2 to 3 months
  • Ice cream and sorbet: two months
  • Ham, cooked: 1 to 2 months
  • Bacon: one month

Now, the question is….how long DO YOU find food lasts in the freezer? What are YOUR tips and how do you do it? ALSO, please tell us how you defrost or use these items when they are frozen. Sometimes I find that I freeze a bunch of stuff and then when it comes to using it, I’m not sure what to do next!

Also, one reader asked me, How do you freeze cheese and can you? What are your thoughts on this?

Thanks, Real Simple for the list above

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  1. Nickey says

    I have a food saver food vacuum system and I LOVE it, you can leave stuff in the freezer longer, and with the cheese I always freeze cheese and never have a problem with it! Block cheese does tend to crumble more after its been frozen though but since most of the time i shred my block cheese its no big deal in this house lol

  2. Gina says

    YAY!!!! So glad you are doing this. I always buy meat in bulk or the family packs, which is usually cheper, and use my FoodSaver to freeze in meal size portions. I want to start freezing cheese, veggies and etc. Can’t wait to read everyones tips. Thanks so much for doing this topic :)

  3. says

    I know not a lot of people have these but I use my FoodSaver all the time for vacuum sealing food. It makes frozen stuff last atleast twice as long than just putting it in a ziploc bag. Also, if you’re going to freeze raw meat: When I don’t use my FoodSaver, I always double bag my frozen meat b/c it helps keep it from getting freezer burn. I know the big Ziploc bags can get expensive if you’re using a lot of them so I use a store brand bag (great value for me) first and then use a Ziploc bag as my outer bag so I can re-use it later.

    • Raining Hot Coupons says

      Thank you Mandie….did you email me about a giveaway a little bit ago? If so, please email me again….I cannot find your email :( Thanks!! =)

  4. says

    I forgot :) Cheese: I re-portion the cheese as to what we would use in a week and freeze that. The sliced cheese I just throw in the foodsaver bag in the freezer. As long as you let it thaw in the fridge, you really dont need to separate it. Veggies: I blanch them just a little before freezing. I cried when my big freezer broke a couple months ago but I quickly added a new one to our house. Those things come in handy

  5. Jennifer Kiss Hunter says

    Wow! I need to get a FoodSaver!! Anyone know of any good deals on where to buy one? Also can you recommend which model?

    • Raining Hot Coupons says

      Hi Jennifer, I just added an update on the post at the top, there is a FoodSaver that is normally $129.99 and when you add it to your cart it ends up being 50% off so only $65! =) Hope that helps…

    • Stephanie says

      I bought my Rival vacuum sealer from I used some of the credits I earned from swagbucks and it was the daily deal of the day by woot. Spent $24.99 out of pocket for it back in the end of January and it works great.

  6. Kathy says

    I cant wait till we get a deep freezer so I can freeze more stuff. We have a side by side fridge and there is no room in it for even a few things from costco. Looks like I need a foodsaver. Im hoping to make some of my own baby food with this baby and I guess should freeze some of it. Any advice on that?
    I always seperate things into smaller packages before sticking them in the freezer, like meat and bread. I hate heating up frozen bread, but found if I seperate it and take out one bag and let it defrost on the counter in the bag, it turns out just fine.

    • Kristen says

      I made my own baby food and would put it in ice cube trays and pull it out as soon as it was frozen and throw it in ziploc bags. (I didn’t do enough at a time to justify food saver bags… I only did about a week or two at a time’s worth.) Then I’d grab a cube or two of whatever I’d frozen (depending on her size) and heat it to serve. It worked great till she got to the stage of wanting the same things we had and doing more textures. I really wanted a magic bullet but could never afford one…. that new baby one looks fantastic though!

      • Kathy says

        Thanks. I had a magic bullet and it wasnt that great. Atleast for me. I only used it to grind coffee. Then the base broke and I just got rid of all the accessories for it. My friend just bought me a blender that has a blender attachment and a food processor attachement for my baby shower (next week). I hoping this will work well for that purpose. So I can puree stuff (also to hide some foods in other foods so my 3 yr old will eat better. haha), and hopefully to vary the textures of foods for my next son. I doubt I would do enough to justify foodsaver bags either. We usually get ziplock at costco and freeze things in that.
        Were there any foods that defrosted or heated up wierd?

        • Dawn says

          I did the same thing as Kristen.
          I had a small food processor and would use that then pour everything into ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap & freeze. Once frozen I popped the cubes into ziploc freezer bags & wrote on the front the date & what it was. I remember some fruits would thaw pretty runny so if I wanted to thicken anything up I would just add a little rice cereal to it. I saved a ton of money doing this & it’s super easy! I used a website as a guideline for freezing times & everything but I can’t for the life of me remember the site, I’ll check at home to see if I still have the papers & let you know if I find it.

      • ERIN says

        Hey ladies! Im not sure if this helps but I would take veggies that I was gonna cook that night make them early in the am with a cheap lil food processor that was like $7 at wal-mart and thats what both my kids ate! i would take can or real fruit and do the same thing that way I would take enough out to last 2 day and they were happy! I would take rice ceral (as they needed it ) and mix it with fruit in the am and that was breakfest! I would also grind up are food if we were having spaghetti for say they would eat that to I would add water to make the sause not so strong! Hope this Helps! Oh Hey its waaaaay cheaper to =)

  7. Stephanie says

    I began freezing my gallons of milk since there is just 2 of us in our household and we don’t go thru it that fast (buying it on sale so I am not spending $3-4/gallon of milk). I leave it in the plastic container (I pour less than a cup out just to be safe and it doesn’t explode in my freezer) and let it thaw out in the fridge when we are ready to use it. That way I don’t end up throwing a lot of it away like I would leaving it in the fridge. You need to give it a good shake after you thaw it because it does tend to separate.

  8. Elizabeth says

    For cheese I always shred some of it and cube some of it before freezing. Otherwise it tends to crumble! I always buy bread a month at a time & freeze it. Just pull it straight from the freezer & let it thaw on the counter, never have had any issues with it.

  9. Stephanie says

    Also I like to wrap my meat up with the Reynolds Freezer paper and then vacuum seal it. It tends to last a lot longer this way and get less freezer burn on the meat. I write with a sharpie on the top of the vacuumed sealed package the date I did this so I know how long the meat has been in the freezer and try to use that meat that has been in there longer first.

  10. Beth says

    Thanks!!!! He is buying me a chest freezer as I have so much frozen stuff and he knows more will come. I buy milk 6 G’s at a time since I get it free so I’d love to know how to freeze it instead of buying 10-40 condensed milk cans (WIC) on top of the 2G’s of milk. So glad cheese was mentioned. I always buy it but it molds before we use it all. I’m going to have to start freezing it.

    What about homemade soups? How do you ladies store them and how long can it be frozen for? I love to make homemade chili and veggi soup as it is cheap to make and so good for you. I just haven’t found how to store it yet other than to freeze it in the Chinese takeout soup containers but they don’t last to long like that.

    Going to redownload that program so I can get that foodsaver. I’ve been looking for one for months but reading reviews made me not get one. I just got 6 OM hotdogs for $1.50 each so I need a foodsaver as I got those for my daughters 1st birthday party in Sept. I also use Angle Food Ministries (my mom ordered for us) as it’s cheaper food that is already packaged to freeze in separate portions for cheap! She got us 8-8oz steaks for $25 and they are good steaks. Just another way for us to save money as it is open to everyone, not just low income.
    ***Which saver does everyone else here have?

    • Sarah says

      Beth, how do you get free milk? My boyfriend goes through so much milk, so we buy 2 gallons a week, so it can get pretty expensive.

      • Beth says

        I’m not sure so I had to ask here. I think I read above that someone pours a little milk out and then freezes it in the carton in 1/2G size.

  11. says

    with blocks of cheese, after u freeze them let them sit out on the counter until it isn’t even cold anymore, before u put it in the fridge or cut into it…if it still crumbles, then it just means u didnt let it sit long enough…Always works for me

  12. Stephanie says

    I also freeze my eggs (not in the shell). I crack them in a bowl, whip them all together and then pour them into a ice cube tray (1 egg is about 1 cube). I cover it with plastic wrap so it stays covered. This way I can take out 1-2 eggs out at a time to cook-bake with without having to go to the store every week or 2 to get new eggs. They taste just as fresh as as from the fridge.

    • samantha says

      I do this too but I dont whick them together. I just crack each egg into the ice cube tray. That way if nomeone wants sunny side up tada just grab an egg and pop it on the skillet. I do them frozen and works really well for me.

      • Angela Rider says

        so do you just put the eggs in the pan and cook them or do you thaw them first before using them in the pan or before baking?

  13. Julie says

    I make big batches of taco meat and portion out in freezer bags or Food Saver (with all that free McCormick seasoning!) I do the same w/ all the FREE marinades and BBQ sauce- mix a big batch, portion out meat and there you go! Thaw in fridge and throw on Foreman Grill. Dinner is SO fast that way!

  14. Raining Hot Coupons says

    I am loving all of your ideas….I really like the egg idea especially since prices seem to be going up on eggs.

    I will definitely be trying out some of these! Thank you. =)

  15. Cassie Wade says

    When I make chili or meat spagetti sauce we never finish it all and I only use 1 jar of sauce and about 1/2 lb of ground beef, so instead of throwing it out I put it in a lock tight tupper ware and put it into the freezer, then when we need a quick meal all I have to do is cook the pasta and put the sauce into the microwave!

  16. Lili from Texas says

    Thanks for the egg idea Stephanie! What kinda of wrap do you use and about how long do the eggs last in the freezer that way?

  17. kate h says

    Apples! When they are in season and cheap (pick your own even) you can freeze them but CUT THEM FIRST into slices. Then they are ready for all great apple recipes, pies, jam, dumpling etc. It is to dangerous to cut them frozen and a pain if you need them quick.
    Also, frozen apples are great horse treats! they love them. Even a whole apple that is frozen you can just smash on the ground with your boot and they will eat them up! nice and cool in the summer : )

  18. Elaine Small says

    I love ALL the ideas you have. Thank you so much. Who woulda thunk??LOL I have been going to the fruit/vegee stands and stockpiling fresh produce to freeze. I use an oliso frisper and haven’t had any problems with it. I fill each bag with enough to feed or use for 2 people.
    I have never tried the bread, cheese and eggs but it is a wonderful idea. Once again thank you for the ideas. Sure will save me time, money and trouble to have these handy in my freezer!!

  19. jill says

    I love some of the ideas above! Here’s some of my different things I freeze:
    Yogurt- since there’s lots of sales on yogurt right now its great to stock up. They keep for about 6 months before they start degrading. All you have to do is uncover them & thaw in the microwave for about 30 seconds and you have a great froyo. Also, I have small snack sized ziploc bags full of fresh herbs that I’ve bought that keep for about a year. And another frugal freezer thing I do is when ibuy pizza sauce, or have leftovers fron chopped veggies (like I only used 1/2 an onion or needed just streipas of a pepper) I dice the rest of the veggies and split up the rest of the jar of pizza sauce into individual servings & pop those into the freezer in ziploc bags. They are great for grabbing in a pinch. Also, frozen grapes make wondeful summer snacks.

    • ERIN says

      Jennifer I was gonna ask the samething… I cant ever find anything and by time I do my hands are frozen so I dont bother! lol this shoud be the next topic…. lol

  20. Sheryl says

    My grandmother always says you can freeze anything! :)

    I usually stock up on shredded cheese (or chunk cheese that I then shred at home), tortillas, lunch meat, raw meats and bread since we go through those things fast and freeze all of them. My husband and I like two different pasta sauces, so I will use half jars of each and freeze the other half in the original jars. As long as I don’t wait more than 3-4 weeks to use it, there are no issues.

    I love the Ball plastic canning containers for freezer jam. They come in several sizes and shapes and the lids screw on. They can be washed in the dishwasher and reused, plus they are cheaper than most of the other plastic stuff out there. They work great for anything liquid, especially soups. I just let the soup cool completely before putting the lid on tight and stick them in the freezer.

    Now, if only I could get my freezer organized!

  21. Elizabeth says

    frozen apple slices, or grapes, juice boxes, and yogurt (especialy the tubes are perfect for packing in school lunches especially for field trip day. by lunch they are thawed but cool.

  22. Angie says

    I think I am going to ask for a foodsaver for Christmas….lol
    My MIL loves to buy me stuff for the kitchen.

  23. Emily says

    For those of you who have the Rival Vacuume sealer vs the Food Saver — What do bags cost?? Are they more expensive for one of these than the other? Let us know!!

  24. ERIN says

    I have read on a bread website that if you put your bread in a frezzer bag take it out of the plastic it comes in and freeze it then when ready whip it out and de-thaw it! takes jsut like you bought it in the store! My husband says all the time…” No dont freeze the bread, its gross when it comes out” so I tryed this trick and he never knew the diffrence-neither did the kids =D momma won that one =)

  25. Dawn R. Milford says

    As for the vacuum sealer I use the wal-mart brand and they work just as good for me as the expensive ones.

    I also make meat substitutes and vac seal then freeze them. I do a beef, chicken and sausage substitute and they work just fine after thawing.

    And a little tip for those who do not have a sealer but are thinking about getting one check your local thrift stores, I got mine for $5 plus a roll of bags. It works great, I do not know what I did without it, can seal fresh veggies and then cook them in the bag like the expensive boil-in bags you buy in the store.

  26. Ashley says

    For those of you that don’t have a foodsaver and you want something that works just as well ziploc has a set of bags + pump that work just as well. While waiting for a good deal on a foodsaver type product to come up my mom bought herself and me one and I’m happy with the results. Yes it takes more then the push of a button but it is way cheaper and does the exact same thing. Even the bags come in different sizes and all you do is use the pump to get all the air out. It’s great for literally everything!

    As far as cheese goes, we buy the big block cheese for pizzas and tacos and freeze them in the package since (in a household of 8) a block of cheese usually goes in one night! When we buy bulk deli cheese we seperate it into our ziploc bags, and freeze them till we need.

  27. Ronda says

    I have always utilized the freezer for meats, cheese, and butter. This year, I tried freezing individual yogurt cups for the first time, since they were on sale really cheap and I didn’t want them to go bad. They’re actually quite good frozen! I also freeze bread, but haven’t perfected a method for doing so just yet. It always seems to get hard, and I’m extremely picky when it comes to eating bread – it has to be just so! I managed to get in on the 75% off FoodSaver last week, and got the $129.99 V3250 for $43.50 after S&H and tax, so am really looking forward to getting it and putting it to good use!

  28. says

    I have my kids hooked on smoothies! I buy the fruit that has been discounted because it’s sell-by date is almost up (brown bananas, strawberries, peaches, even carrots :). As soon as it’s home, I chop it up, spread it on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, drizzle with honey & freeze. After frozen solid, I separate the fruit into single servings in ziploc bags (about 1 cup per bag). When the kids want an easy breakfast or an after school snack, I or they can just get a bag out of the freezer and dump into the blender with a little milk or juice and voila! An easy, healthy snack :)

    • Diane says

      Berries have been on sale for $1.79 – $1.99 per container. Strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. That is an incredible price so I stocked up as much as I was able and froze them by putting them on a cookie sheet and then into gallon zip lock bags. That way we don’t use so many little bags. It saves money. I don’t use honey on the fruit. I peel and freeze bananas when they are just a little overripe and very sweet. Then I use them for smoothies or banana bread. And of course I take the tops off the strawberries and cut them in half. For smoothies we take plain yogurt (sometimes I make my own which is much better than the store bought kind), a frozen banana, and a couple handfuls of blueberries or some other berries. Sometimes we add a little milk or OJ to thin it if necessary. It is like a milkshake. Very smooth, thick and delish! Especially with a thick yogurt like greek. If you need to add sweetener you can but the banana is enough for us.

  29. Suzie says

    In January, I started using recipes from the Frozen Assets cookbook by Deborah Hough. Basically, you do all your main cooking for the month on one day, then freeze it all in meal portions. I love it! With our crazy work/school schedule, I never spend more than half an hour preparing dinner. My husband gets paid once a month as a teacher, so it really helps us keep our grocery budget balanced and we can use bulk meats to cook this way. We’ve been spending around $200 less on groceries this way, too.

    For soups and stews, let them cool off. Ladle it into a freezer bag and squeeze the air out, then put that bag in another freezer bag. You lay them flat in the freezer till they’re frozen, then you can stand them up like pizza boxes. I do the same thing with chicken fajitas. You can quick defrost in the microwave in about 10 minutes or slow thaw in the fridge for 24 hrs. Noodles tend to dissolve into the soup when defrosted, so I don’t put them in the actual soup until I’m reheating it.

    Bread works better individually wrapped. I just use the off-brand plastic wrap, like Saran wrap.I buy the case of French bread from Sam’s, then seperate & wrap before sticking in the freezer. They can go straight in the oven frozen and taste perfect.

  30. Judy says

    I wanted to share that I found a free tool to keep your freezer inventory. I downloaded ShopperLite for IPHONE4. It lets me build shopping lists and it searches for the best prices in my area circulars to help me find the cheapest purchase to stack my coupons on, it also has manufacturer and local coupons (ie walgreens) that you can show to the cashier to scan. Haven’ tried that yet but will soon.
    I use it to keep my freezer inventory and can put a date purchased/frozen on the notes on the items entry.
    Hope this helps someone.

  31. Jill Ivie says

    I have found to cut out freezer burn with having to buy an expensive sealer is to use “press and seal”. I rap what ever I am going to free in the press and seal, then put it in a freezer bag and write the date on the freezer bay.

  32. Michele says

    Has anyone tried to freeze egg yolks? I want to make Meringue Cookies but don’t know what to do with the leftover yolks.

    • Jill says

      I’ve frozen eggs before and they turned out great. I froze the yolks and whites together, but you can separate them if you like. Just separate, beat them and put into ice trays and freeze. Once solid, I transfer them to freezer bags. Two cubes equals one egg. Not sure how long they will last in there though. I used mine up pretty quickly.

  33. amy says

    Rachel ray freezes what ever part of her eggs she doesn’t use. Just make sure to note how many eggs it was.

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