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The New York Times guide to freezing any type of food

Illustration for article titled The iNew York Times/i guide to freezing any type of food
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Are you currently assessing your countertop stockpile, wondering what has to get used up most urgently? Melissa Clark to the rescue, as always. The New York Times food columnist has provided home cooks with this handy guide, a must-read for anyone wondering which grocery items can survive a trip through cold storage without looking (or tasting) a little worse for wear.

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As we’ve already discussed, not all frozen foods are created equal. But with Clark’s pointers, you can preserve all kinds of stuff you might never have considered before, such as bread, baked goods, dairy products, and herbs. Before getting started, the Times offers this sage advice: “Look at what you’ve got. Is that unlabeled container chocolate sauce or black bean soup? Thaw it and use it, or throw it out to make room for the new.” As someone who froze some banana slices for a smoothie I never made 13 months ago, this advice hits home. (Another no-brainer: Do I really need my ice cream maker’s freezer bowl taking up precious space right now?)

No matter what you decide to freeze, the biggest consideration is how to minimize the item’s exposure to air over time, which will cause freezer burn and degrade the food’s quality. Read the whole guide here, and swell with pride from your newfound “waste not, want not” mentality.

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

Just a little PSA: yes, your freezer works more efficiently when it’s full but be careful not to put so much in that you block the air vents (don’t go full Tetris). If the airflow is too restricted at best your fridge and freezer may go into protective shutdown mode until the vents are unblocked, at worst you blow-out your compressor motor and lose the fridge and everything in it.