Freezing

I have tested everything I recommend freezing, and there is obviously some quality loss when you bring it back.  For any item that this quality loss is largely noticeable, I will not recommend freezing it.  I find dough and dough products (cookie dough, pastries, bread) work alright in the freezer.  I am typically not a fan of freezing cooked meats.  There are exceptions. Meat-based stock does fine in the freezer.  Bizarrely, so does fried chicken.  

The single serving recipes on this site could easily be adapted to feed more than one person, but one of my frustrations as a single person is only seeing recipes that feed 4.  If I make those, I’m eating that for 4 meals, in a row if I don’t freeze it.  Bleh.  So freezing raw meat and defrosting as needed for single servings are necessarily the order of the day.  
 
If I didn’t have a job and was independently wealthy, I would shop every day and cook every meal.  But freezing is a necessary compromise for $10. 
 

Freezing procedure

  • Wait until the item is room temp (or colder, i.e. meat you just brought home from the grocery store.)
  • Freeze in the quantities you are going to cook. When I get home from the store, I portion meat into the desired servings, wrap each serving in wax paper so that it doesn’t get stuck together,  put the servings in a large freezer bag, date it, and freeze it.  I clean and reuse the bags if they’re not punctured. Recycling makes me sleep easier at night.
  • Drying the surface helps to cut down on freezer burn. Alton Brown, my favorite celebrity chef, did an entire show on freezing.  Brilliant.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1X2BvpX_U8 **

Defrosting Meat

If I do not have a day to let it defost in the fridge, I defrost it in cold water in the sink (in a plastic bag unless you like flavorless waterlogged meat).  I use a large stainless steel bowl filled with cold water, and I keep the cold water running into the bowl for convection.  I don’t pay for water.  If you do, cold standing water is fine.  It just takes a little longer. 
 
For obvious reasons, smaller cuts of meat defrost quicker than larger cuts.  Another benefit to portioning at the beginning.  And being single.
 

Oven/Toaster Oven vs. Microwave

I always use the oven/toaster oven to reheat if I can.  I understand that microwaves are sometimes a necessary evil.  I have one.  If I use it once a week, it’s lucky.  Sometimes I use it to time things just so it feels useful.
 
 

***By the way, I don’t just pirate his show.  I have bought all his books, and was sorely tempted by the dinosaur headed spray bottle (no longer available) on his website.  I also watch his show when it’s chock full of commercials on the food network.  I just use youtube to refresh my memory when needed.  When he visits, if I’m available, I will stand in line to hear him talk.  Yeah, I’m that geeked out.  Don’t feel the need to follow that lead.

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