Keeping Foods Fresh

Learn how to keep foods at their peak quality and how to best freeze them.

by Jyl Steinback

  • Freeze foods at peak quality; they will taste better than foods frozen after several days of refrigeration.
  • Immediately freeze foods you don't plan to use within 1 to 2 days.
  • Slightly undercook prepared foods; they will finish cooking when reheated.
  • Most casseroles can be prepared and refrigerated up to 24 hours in advance. Add 15 to 20 minutes to cooking time if casseroles are chilled.
  • To test egg freshness: Immerse egg into a pan of salted, cool water. If the egg sinks, it's fresh; if it rises to the surface, throw it away.
  • Most canned foods, when properly stored at normal room temperatures, will stay good for several years.
    • Low-acid canned goods, including canned meat/poultry; soups and stews (without tomato base); pasta products; vegetables: 2 to 5 years
    • High-acid canned goods, including tomato products, fruits and foods in vinegar-based sauce or dressing: 12 to 18 months
    • Canned meat and poultry: 2 to 5 years

Best Freezing Supplies

  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic wrap, plastic freezer bags and vacuum-packed FoodSaver bags
  • Food-grade plastic containers made of moisture-and vapor-resistant material
  • Freezer-to-microwave or freezer-to-oven containers in a variety of sizes:
    • Quart containers hold 4 to 6 servings.
    • Pint containers hold 2 to 3 servings.
  • Select containers with wide top openings so food can be easily removed without thawing.
  • Foods can be frozen in supermarket wrappings if they are used within a month or two. For longer storage, overwrap packages with moisture-and vapor-resistant materials.
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