8 Mistakes You’re Making When It Comes to Your Freezer
Your freezer is a magical place. It’s a place for pints of ice cream (to devour while binge-watching whatever is new on Netflix); for giant ice cubes (to make adult cocktails); and, most importantly, for nourishing meals (to sustain you when you think your only option is takeout).
Obviously, you don’t have to be a wizard in order to take care of this magical place. But you — and your freezer! — will be better off if you know to avoid these common mistakes.
1. You’re letting your freezer get too warm.
Warm is the opposite of what you’re freezer wants to be — but things can heat up if you don’t set the freezer to the right temp or open and close your freezer too often. Make sure you set your freezer to the lowest possible setting. (Can’t find the dial? Look in the fridge!) And have a quick think before you open the freezer: Are you going for the frozen peas? You know where they are — grab ’em and close that door behind you!
2. You’re keeping your freezer too full — or too empty.
Your freezer is like Goldilocks. It wants to be not too full, not too empty, but filled just right. Basically if your freezer is too empty, it has to work harder to keep all your food frozen; if it’s too full, the air won’t circulate properly, which can overtax the condenser and also make it harder to keep all your food frozen.
3. You’re not wrapping your food correctly.
When it comes to wrapping up leftovers, there are two common mistakes people make: You can fail to get all the air out of your zip-top bags, which translates to freezer burn, or you can fill your containers too much without leaving room for the food to expand. You can guess where that leads.
4. You’re not pre-freezing your fruit.
Do you freeze your fresh fruit so that you can have a delicious smoothie in the morning? Are you freezing your fruit on a tray before putting it in bags? Do it, so that it doesn’t get all clumped up and hard to use.
5. You’re waiting too long to freeze your food.
Repeat after us: I will not wait until my food is almost spoiled to put it in the freezer. A good rule of thumb? Freeze your extra ground beef right after you get home from the store, and your extra muffins right after they’ve cooled.
6. You’re not labeling your food.
Here’s the thing about putting food in the freezer: You know what it is when you put it in there. A week (or a month) later? Not so much. That’s why you need to label your food. Use masking tape and a Sharpie to write what it is and when you put it in there. Food will last a long time in there, but it won’t last forever!
7. You’re not storing nuts, seeds, and flours in the freezer.
Certain items that you think of as pantry items — including nuts, seeds, and flours — are actually freezer items. That’s because they contain oil, which means they can go rancid if they sit around at room temperature.
8. You’re storing your ice cream in the freezer door.
Your freezer door is the warmest part, which means you might want to use that spot to store things like the aforementioned pantry items, instead of, say, ice cream. Otherwise, you might end up with ice cream that gets melty and has a weird texture. Such a bummer!