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Foods That Do Not Freeze Well

Date: May 1989 (Revised April 1995)

Source: NDSU Extension Service Nutrition Specialists

Because of their texture or composition, some food products do not freeze well. While freezing will keep them from spoiling or becoming unsafe to eat, their quality after freezing and thawing may not be acceptable.

Fruits or vegetables with a high water content or a delicate cell structure do not freeze well. These include lettuce, tomatoes, watermelon, citrus fruit sections and cucumbers. You can freeze some of these foods, like tomatoes, for use in cooked dishes, but they are not like fresh tomatoes when you thaw them.

Sauces and gravies thickened with flour or cornstarch frequently separate and break down when frozen. Modified starches used in commercial frozen foods are not generally available in retail stores. For best results, freeze the stock for gravy unthickened and add thickener when you reheat it.

Cooked egg whites tend to get rubbery when you freeze them. If you want to freeze a mixture containing cooked egg white, be sure it is finely chopped. The same advice is true for celery.

Mayonnaise will break down when it is frozen. Use salad dressing instead of mayonnaise when you make sandwiches or salad mixtures for freezing.

Cakes frosted with butter frosting freeze well, but cooked frostings or fluffy egg-white frostings do not freeze well.

Well-done pastas may be too soft after reheating. If you want to freeze macaroni, spaghetti, or foods containing these, undercook the pasta. Cooked chunks of potatoes become soggy or gritty, but mashed potatoes or twice-baked potatoes freeze well.

You can freeze most natural cheeses with good results, but they may crumble more when you thaw them. Yogurt and cultured sour cream will break down and separate.

If you have further questions, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service.

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