Why You Shouldn't Freeze Food In Bulk

From extending the shelf life of groceries to saving homemade meals for a later date, freezing food just makes life easier. Having said that, there is a limit.

The fact that we as a society seem to be obsessed with freezing food is hardly a surprise. After all, many ingredients can last for months if frozen. Freezing ginger is a great way to preserve the root for months — and even if the flavor wanes, the plant itself will stay safe, according to The Spruce Eats. Things like leftovers can also be frozen to stop them from going bad while avoiding waste. In fact, chef Stephanie Izard suggests freezing leftover meat, "to make into fillings for dumplings and such," via Martha Stewart. And, according to Life Hacker, there's a case for freezing potato chips, too.

Obviously, there are some freezer no-gos, as well. For starters, there is a right way to go about freezing things like homemade pie crusts. Likewise, there's more to freezing chicken salad than popping it into the freezer. Another thing to be mindful of when freezing food is how much you're trying to freeze at once. In fact, the number of items we place in the freezer at any one time can make all the difference. 

An overly full freezer can compromise the process

There's no denying that freezing food is helpful, but did you know that freezing too many items at once could actually affect their quality?

As pointed out by the National Center for Home Food Preservation, a freezer only has a certain amount of power. As such, when it's at full capacity, the freezing process of items inside slows down — and that's where the problem comes in. According to the USDA, it's better to prevent slow freezing wherever possible, to avoid creating an ideal environment for "undesirable large ice crystals." Said ice crystals compromise the quality of most foods once they begin to defrost, from mayonnaise (hello, congealed mess!) to meats (oh, you weren't trying to make your own beef jerky?).  

Thankfully, there's an easy enough fix to avoid the dreaded slow freeze — and no, it doesn't require investing in a state-of-the-art flash freezer. The National Center for Home Food Preservation explains that the goal is for the food item to be completely frozen in 24 hours, so you should only add "two or three pounds of food per cubic foot of storage space." 

Freezing food is certainly a life-saver in a busy world, and there's no reason why we shouldn't make the most of it. We just have to make sure we're doing it the right way.