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Freezing foods takes meal-prepping for your diet program to the next level and will save you time, money, and food waste.  Read on for more how-to’s on freezing food.

What Not to Freeze: There are certain foods that do not retain their quality when frozen.  Raw eggs in the shell should not be frozen, because they would crack and leave a huge mess in the freezer.  Unfortunately, hard boiled eggs turn very rubbery after freezing.  Vegetables high in water content should not be frozen.  Lettuce, cucumbers, and radishes will become mushy and not very appetizing after time in the freezer.  Diet program approved soft herbs, such as chives and parsley, are not good to freeze if you are planning to use them as garnishes but will work if you only plan on incorporating them into dishes as flavoring.  Freezing yogurt and egg-based products are also bad ideas, as yogurt gets watery and separates while egg-based products (such as mayonnaise) will curdle.

Freezer Capacity: A general rule of thumb is to never store more than 2 or 3 pounds of food per cubic foot of freezer capacity at one time.  It is always good to check your freezer temperature monthly.

Organization: Always place the newest food either in the back or the bottom of your freezer while moving the older ones towards the front and top for easy access.  Do not forget to label your foods before you freeze them.  Be sure to document what exactly you are freezing and the date you are freezing it.   

From Freezer to Table: When it is time to enjoy dinner, be sure to begin thawing foods at lower temperatures then gradually increasing the temperature.  This goes for meals that do not have to be completely thawed before cooking.  Some of these meals include stews, casseroles, and cooked meats.  Note: You should never cook frozen, raw poultry or large cuts of meat without thawing those foods first.

Vegetable Tips: For optimal taste, color, and texture (and to eliminate that gross post-freezing brown color), consider blanching before freezing.  Times vary per vegetable, so be sure to do a Google search first.  However, this quick, extra step will make a difference after defrosting, and it will cut back on cooking time later.

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