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Flash Freezing

Every now and again I throw the terms “flash freezing” around. Sometimes it is in reference to saving that fresh produce until your cooking day, other times it is in reference to quickly freezing cooking day menu items to cool them down. Either way, I often get questions about how exactly you “flash freeze” items. Hence, this post.

The Term

It basically means that you cool the object down very quickly in order to quicken the freezing process. In our case we do it for two different types of products; produce and baked goods. Here is a little more about each.

Produce

When you purchase produce on sale and it is still several weeks from your cooking date, you can, in some instances, flash freeze those items. There are some produce items that just do not freeze well so make sure you check the list before you purchase. A few items that we have flash frozen:

Blueberries

When making baby food, we purchased some blueberries that were on sale several weeks before we were going to make the baby food. To flash freeze them we simply washed the blueberries, dried them a bit and then placed them on a cookie sheet, in a single layer. We placed them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until they were slightly hardened/frozen. We then immediately placed them in a freezer bag for storage.

Raspberries

raspberriesAgain, raspberries were on sale at a price that couldn’t be passed up. Following the same procedure as the blueberries, I washed them, dried them, put them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and when hardened, placed them in a freezer bag.

Mushrooms

I use flash freezing a lot with mushrooms. They seem to go on sale throughout the month and I sometimes even buy them whole, slice them in my food processor, and then proceed with flash freezing. I use the same method as outlined above.

Baked Items

You will see me use the term “flash freeze” when refering to items that are baked in the oven. When they have come out of the oven, if they are placed directly into a package or freezer bag they will produce moisture in the bag or stick together with the other items. In some cases, I don’t have the space or room to let them cool for an hour on my work surfaces, so I will “flash freeze” them.

In the case of baked items, you do much the same as the produce. You placed them in a single layer on a cooled cookie sheet or tray. (I will sometimes let them sit out in the open for 15-20 minutes before starting this process. I don’t want them to be too warm). You then place them in the freezer for 10-15 minutes or until they have cooled completely or are starting to harden from freezing. Then I remove them and place them in freezer bags for storage.

Cooking Day Preparation

Since I may have to flash freeze on my cooking days, I usually clear out a cookie sheet size area in my refrigerator freezer (close proximity to my cooking area) for this purpose. It helps in the cooking process and it saves my chest freezer from working too much overtime. After all, I add a lot of food to it in one day.

Resources

It might be helpful to have some resources available to review about flash freezing. Here are a few of my favorites:

41 Responses to “Flash Freezing”

  1. I just read an article about this a few weeks ago, and I love it. I had no idea how to do this!

    Although…maybe I shouldn’t say “I love it”…I have yet to try it!!

  2. SavvySuzie says:

    Great tips! I also flash freeze meats – specificially, I will cut chicken breasts into tenders and flash freeze so I have a bag of frozen tenders ready to go without having to wrap each piece. I also flash freeze cooked meatballs and fresh chops so I can bag them in meal-sized portions.

  3. Amy says:

    I used to flash freeze blueberries like you do. I thought they would clump together if I didn’t flash freeze them first. Then I tried washing, drying and adding the fresh blueberries directly to a gallon sized freezer bag. Funny thing is that I got exactly the same results with both methods. The blueberries freeze individually even when frozen all together in the gallon bag, so I can pour out a few and return the bag back to the freezer for another day. A baking sheet doesn’t hold many berries in a single layer, so dumping them all in the bag to freeze saves me extra work.

    Thanks for the tip on freezing fresh mushrooms. I’ve always wondered if it could be done. I usually just pick mine up the week I’m cooking and get stuck paying full price. I wish I had known this last week when Aldi had mushrooms on sale.

  4. Amy says:

    Thanks for the post! I was wondering what that was.

  5. Carolyn says:

    I have wanted to flash freeze tablespoons of chopped onions but can’t figure out how to do it without stinking up the freezer! Any hints?

    • tricia says:

      I’ve got nothing on preventing smells. Be sure to share if you find an answer.

    • pers says:

      Put the unpeeled onion in a baggie (or plastic container) in the freezer for 20 minutes or so before peeling and chopping it. It won’t eliminate the smell entirely but I’ve found it cuts it way down. That plus double bagging your chopped onions might eliminate it entirely.

    • Richie says:

      Baking soda or activated carbon works great on removing smells from even your freezer. Activated carbon works significantly better that baking soda though. I *think* they sell it in the fish section for use in fish tanks, but I’m positive you could find it online. Hope this helps.

    • foodie5951 says:

      I simply put chopped onions into a freezer bag and freeze. When I need some for cooking, I throw the bag onto the floor (with a big thrust downward) like I am sure you have seen many people do with a big bag of ice for their cooler in summer. The ice will break into useable pieces for cooking. I know this sounds funny, but it really works :))

    • Britani says:

      I put them in ice cube trays that have covers (typically used for making baby food) and freeze. Then break apart from the tray when frozen put in freezer bags. I haven’t had an issue with smelliness, but no guarentees!!

    • Dolly says:

      Have you tried it in an old ice cube tray and put the ice cube tray in a gallon or larger ziplock bag? I freeze the extra tomato paste from a larger container. When they are frozen I pop them out store in a ziplock and have cube size portions for other recipies.

  6. Donna says:

    I didn’t realize you could freeze raw mushrooms. Thanks!

  7. Jackie says:

    Can bell peppers be flash frozen?

  8. [...] also know people that cut them up and flash freeze them. Like the reader yesterday who commented: When I find bananas on sale, I too stock up. You can [...]

  9. [...] Flash freeze. Freeze in a gallon freezer bag. To
    serve, place frozen pancakes on a plate and microwave on high 40-50
    seconds. [...]

  10. [...] Cupcakes are done, place them on wire rack for cooling or transfer to a cool cookie sheet for flash freezing. Decrease oven temperature to 375 [...]

  11. [...] on the yogurt strip. Wrap the tortillas tightly from left to right. Place on a cookie sheet to flash freeze. When completely frozen through, place in a zippered freezer bag for [...]

  12. Laurie says:

    If you chop green onion, cilantro or some other herb, you can then put it in an empty water bottle in the freezer. When you need a little bit, you just shake some out and return the bottle to the freezer.

  13. Kathleen says:

    I tried flash-freezing strawberries last week. I washed and dried them, then sliced them and put them in a single layer on a cookie sheet. It worked, all right, but they were stuck to the sheet and it took quite a lot of work to get ‘em unstuck.

    Any suggestions? Should I try a light coat of vegetable oil on the cookie sheet?

    • Tricia says:

      I usually use foil or wax paper (parchment paper works too) under them and then I can just pull up the layer of foil and roll them off. I find that easier than just on the cookie sheet. The other thing you could do is put a warm wash cloth under the cookie sheet for a few minutes to help loosen the ice crystals holding the strawberries to the sheet so they will release.

  14. [...] on the yogurt strip. Wrap the tortillas tightly from left to right. Place on a cookie sheet to flash freeze. When completely frozen through, place in a zippered freezer bag for storage.To serve: Take out of [...]

  15. [...] in season, and Once A Month Mom says she has done this for mushrooms and baked goods too (read it here)… who [...]

  16. [...] as directed. After removing from oven, place muffins on a baking sheet and flash freeze. Place in a gallon freezer bag, label, and freeze. To Serve: Thaw. Microwave for 30 seconds, or [...]

  17. [...] as directed above.  Allow to cool, then flash freeze.  After flash freezing, place into a gallon freezer bag, label, and freeze.  To serve: reheat in [...]

  18. [...] a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool. Place scones, still on cooking sheet, in freezer and flash freeze. Place in a gallon freezer bag, label, and [...]

  19. [...] biscuits as directed above and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Flash freeze.  After freezing, place into a gallon freezer bag, label and freeze.  To serve: reheat in [...]

  20. [...] directions above. Flash freeze bread, so that peanut butter spread freezes and does not stick to tinfoil. Remove from freezer, [...]

  21. Heather says:

    This may be a dumb question, but you mentioned checking the list…. Is there a list of foods that can be flash-frozen? I’d really like to try this, but I’d like to know what I can/cannot flash freeze before I go stock up!!

  22. [...] solid or dry  items like breads, muffins, sandwiches, or ingredients like cooked rice, pasta, or flash frozen [...]

  23. [...] Flash freeze.  After freezing, place into gallon freezer bag.  Label and freeze.  To serve: reheat in microwave for 30 seconds. [...]

  24. [...] Shape into golf-ball size rolls and place on a greased baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap, and flash freeze until firm. Once frozen, transfer to freezer bags and return to freezer up to four [...]

  25. [...] pancakes as directed above.  After cooking, place pancakes on a baking sheet and flash freeze.  After pancakes are frozen, place in gallon freezer bags, label and freeze.  To serve: reheat in [...]

  26. [...] brown meatballs (do not bake). Place browned meatballs on parchment paper lined baking sheet and flash freeze. After frozen, divide among indicated number of gallon sized freezer storage bags. Label and [...]

  27. [...] as directed above. Flash Freeze. Divide between indicated number of gallon freezer storage bags. Label and freeze. TO SERVE: [...]

  28. [...] and bake as directed above, then flash freeze. Place in gallon freezer bags, label and freeze.  To serve: Serve at room temperature or reheat in [...]

  29. [...] per above directions then flash freeze. Divide among freezer bags, label and freeze. TO SERVE: Thaw. Reheat in microwave 30 seconds. [...]

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