The Art of Freezing Leftovers

The freezer is a great tool to help you save leftover ingredients and stock up on food items. But, it can be a little difficult to know which items freeze well and which ones don’t. ONIE is giving you all the details on how to freeze leftovers, which ones freeze well, and give you some confidence in knowing which items you can freeze.  

Food Safety

There is a chart here that shows how long a certain food item can be stored in the fridge or freezer. A FAQ on freezing and food safety here also has some good information on freezing foods.

What Can You Freeze

There is no specific answer of what can and cannot be frozen. Food goes through a lot of changes once it is frozen then thawed which can change the texture, appearance, and taste of the food.

  • Some things that are good frozen include: soups, stews, rice dishes, raw meat or seafood, broth, bread, cookies, tortillas, cheese (grated and in block form), pesto, tomato paste, butter, cooked beans, cooked pasta, fresh fruit, cut vegetables.
  • Things that should not be frozen: eggs, cream sauces, lettuce, cucumber, or tomatoes (due to their high water content), sour cream, mayonnaise, fried foods.

How to Freeze Leftovers

To start, portion out leftovers to help only cook what you are going to use to prevent thawing and refreezing. You want to avoid thawing and refreezing any food.  Pieces of meat should be frozen separately. Cooked food should also be separated, so you can reheat however many meals you need at a time (kind of like a homemade tv dinner). Reducing contact with air is key to keeping freezer burn away. Wrap items tightly and press all (or most) of the air out to maintain the freshness and look of the leftover food.

Freezer Success Tips

  • Make sure the food being frozen is chilled completely in the fridge before moving to the freezer. 
  • When freezing fruit or meatballs, freeze them on a cookie sheet before putting in a bag will prevent them from sticking together.
  • LABEL and DATE your food. This helps you to remember when you made the food.
  • Do not pack your freezer super full. Make sure there is room for air to flow to help keep the proper temperature in your freezer.   

3 responses to “The Art of Freezing Leftovers

  1. Last year I cut up peaches and froze right away in zip lock bags with air removed. I got more peaches this year as we just had hand ful left. It’s wonderful

  2. I make large meals for just my husband and I, we eat a fresh cooked meal then I portion leftovers into freezer containers, label with contents and date, then freeze. By doing this I can go nearly a week with out cooking. Saves money and time!!


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