Saturday, July 24, 2010


One of my favorite cookbooks is The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook. Most of the recipes are pretty good because of their strict testing methods. From the preface:

"We begin every recipe project with a blind tasting of recipes from other cookbooks, then we develop our own approach, and we continue testing and tasting until we feel we have the best version. It's a group process. Everyone from a new test cook to the most senior editor has a voice. Then we take one final step: we use the wrong equipment or ingredients to see just how much abuse a recipe can take."

But the tried-and-true recipes aren't the only reason I love this cookbook. I also love it because it provides tons of tips, instructions and best brand recommendations--very important for an amateur like me!

Periodically (probably not as often as I should) I clean out my freezer and find stuff that looks like this.

So I was interested in Test Kitchen's section on freezing and defrosting. Here's the summary:
  • Four months is the limit for storing frozen food
  • To prevent freezer burn, wrap food tightly and wrap it twice
  • Leave expansion room for liquids
  • Cool food completely before freezing; otherwise, steam will create ice crystals that affect the texture of frozen foods
  • The best way to defrost is in the refrigerator, not at room temperature
  • Nuts stay fresh longer in the freezer, but can be chopped frozen just as easily as fresh
Maybe this is common knowledge to you veteran cooks out there, but much of it was new to me.


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Alyssa McPherson said...

I hope that by "clean out" your freezer you didn't mean throw away! Frozen meat doesn't spoil - it's frozen :) You can keep it for much longer than 4 months in the freezer. Thaw it out in the fridge and it will taste just fine (especially if you add it to chili, spaghetti sauce, etc.) you'll never know the difference.