Upright Freezer: Frozen Food Storage Chart and Rules

When it comes to the storage of frozen food items, an upright freezer is one of the best appliances you can rely on. But, are you storing all your frozen foods and meals the right way? What if (unknowingly) you are storing something in it that you are not supposed to store? Don’t fret as we have all your questions and confusions answered and sorted out here. Additionally, we have also put forth a storage chart and golden rules for storing all your frozen food items in your upright freezer. Your only job, for now, is to read through everything. You will surely understand all that is given here as we have penned down all the information in an easy manner.

Frozen food storage chart for an upright freezer

Related: Best Upright Freezer in UAE

So, how long can you keep something frozen before it gets unpleasant? Always check the expiry date for the foods items that were purchased frozen. Below lies FDA’s recommendation for common frozen foods to retain their quality at their best.

Frozen Food Storage Chart – Quick List

Storage Chart – Most Common Items

Frozen Food ItemDuration
Raw egg yolkes, whites1 year
Soups and stews2-3 months
Yeast breads6 months
Yeast dough2 weeks
Quick bread2 months
Cooked meat2-6 months
Uncooked roasts, steaks, and chops4-12 months
Uncooked whole poultry12 months
Ham, hot dogs, and lunch meats1-2 months
Cooked poultry4 months
Uncooked giblets3-4 months
Uncooked ground meat3-4 months
Bacon and sausage1-2 months
Uncooked poultry parts9 months
Frozen dinners and entrees3-4 months

Storage Chart for Dairy Products

ProductDuration
Ice Cream1-2 months
Butter6-9 months
Yoghurt1-2 months
Milk3 months
Cream4 months
Margarine12 months

Storage Chart for Fish and Seafood

ProductDuration
Clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, and shrimp3-6 months
Lean fish such as flounder, sole, and haddock6 months
Fatty fish like mackerel, salmon, bluefish, and perch2-3 months

Storage Chart for Fresh Fruits

FruitDuration
All fruits (except those listed below)10-12 months
Avocados and bananas3 months
Citrus fruit4-6 months
Fruit juices8-12 months

Storage Chart for Cheese

CheeseDuration
All types of cheese (except for those listed below)6 months
Feta, parmesan, cream cheese, processed cheese (opened), cottage cheese, goat, fresh mozzarella, NeufchatelMaximum 1 month

Storage Chart for Fresh Vegetables

VegetablesDuration
Tomatoes (overripe or sliced)2 months
Asparagus, rutabagas, turnips8-10 months
Beetroots, beans, peas, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, onions, brussels sprouts, corn, spinach, cauliflower, soybeans, kohlrabi, greens, leeks, okra, parsnips, peppers, summer squash10-12 months
Artichokes, eggplant6-8 months
Cucumber, radish, cabbage, salad greens, celery, bamboo shoots15-30 days

Storage Chart for Cakes and Desserts

Cakes & DessertsDuration
Cakes4-6 months
Casseroles2-3 months
Fruit pies (baked)2-4 months
Cookies3 months
Fruit pies (unbaked)8 months
Pumpkin and chiffon pies1 month
Cookie dough2 months
Pastry (unbaked)2 months

We apologize if we haven’t mentioned any commonly consumed frozen foods. What you can do for foods that are not listed here is defrost them and then check their quality. FDA recommends that if any frozen food smells horrible or is stinking, then you should dispose of that particular food item. Additionally, if it doesn’t appear that good as it would earlier, but otherwise seems ok to you, then consider using it in soups and stews. Also, if it has got freezer burn, then just cut off the “burned” spots. With regards to raw foods, simply cook them. If the taste and texture seem fine after cooking then you can consume them.

The Golden Rules of Freezing Food Items

Coming to the most important sections of this article, here are all the golden rules of freezing food items. Storage of your frozen food items and meals in your upright freezer should be done Note that when you freeze food items in your upright freezer, you need to fulfil 5 things.

  • Firstly, you need to prevent freezer burn.
  • Secondly, you need to prevent moisture loss.
  • Thirdly, you need to prevent the transfer of smells to and from other foods.
  • Next, organizing your frozen food items wisely.
  • Lastly, preventing food poisoning as your food cools.

The key to achieving these goals lies in the appropriate wrapping and storage of your frozen food items. The following points will help you in doing so. Ensure you don’t skip any of these points.

1. Choosing the Right Upright Freezer Model

If you’re planning to purchase a new upright freezer then consider purchasing one that has 3 baskets or drawers. You can find some of the best ones here. These types of upright freezers are perfect to store your frozen food properly in a logical and neat manner. Additionally, this also helps you find any frozen ingredient that you need on the spot for your next meal.

2. Cleaning your Existing Upright Freezer (if you already have one)

Just in case you already own an upright freezer then you ought to thoroughly clean it and start over from scratch. Firstly, empty your upright freezer, wipe away any stays and remove all the things that are no longer identifiable. For instance, freezer-burned and expired food. Also, ensure you set aside food products that must be consumed soon. There you go, you are now fully ready to re-organize your upright freezer.

3. Choosing the Appropriate Containers and Right Packaging

Firstly, ensure you opt for high-quality air-tight containers such as freezer bags, glass/plastic containers, mason jars, etc to store your frozen foods. This will avoid your freezer from stinking and will also ensure that your food remains fresh for a longer time. The air that you leave in the freezer containers should be as little as possible. Ensure you remove as much air as possible from the freezer bags before you seal them. Additionally, the freezer-safe containers that you use should closely fit the amount of food that is being frozen. If you follow this then your frozen foods won’t be exposed to air.

Secondly, wrap baked goods and meats tightly with foil before placing them in freezer bags. Note that it is not ideal to freeze meat or poultry by keeping it wrapped in the same original packaging that it was sold in at the grocery store. This is because these packaging and containers don’t freeze well. They won’t remain effective and strong with the temperature of the freezer. It may also cause the taste of your frozen foods to change. In some cases, you will notice your food getting spoilt faster. However, if you consume those foods within a month or so, then it may not cause any change in taste or colour. But it is always safer to avoid its original packaging.

Also, don’t use recycled plastic containers for freezing yoghurt and margarine. Vacuum packaging is one of the best ways to store food in your freezer. Besides occupying less space in the upright freezer, it also preserves food 5x longer.

Choosing the Capacity of the Containers

To ensure your food freezes as quickly as possible, make use of small containers. This will impede the growth of bacteria. The capacity of these small containers should not be bigger than 4 quarts. The food that you want to store, preferably, should be less than 3-inches thick within the container.

4. Adding Labels

In order to manage everything within your upright freezer in a better way, ensure you label your frozen foods. It is always safer to label the freezer bags or containers and also put the date (before which you should consume the food) on these bags or containers, even if you will be using the food items within a week or two. Besides the date, you should add the name of the food or recipe, the number of portions or quantity, the heating or cooking method.

Generally, meat can be stored in the freezer between two and twelve months. While, fish and seafood can be frozen and stay fresh for one-six months. Milk products can remain frozen in the upright freezer from 1 month to a year. Fruits and vegetables can be stored for a year. Prepared meals can remain frozen from one to eight months.

5. Categorizing your Food

The next step is to categorise your frozen food items. This indicates that you need to group your food together based on their categories. For instance, fruits and vegetables in one category, meat and fish in the other category, milk products in a separate category, prepared meals in another, bread in another and pastries in another category. Additionally, you may also want to categorize food based on what you will use it for. For instance, you may want to store all the items required for a particular meal together. Meals such as appetizers or breakfast or even lunch or dinner. Frozen food items with a shorter storage life should be placed on the top of the upright freezer so that you don’t forget to use them. This includes foods that are more fragile too.

6. Keeping Stock of your Inventory

Make a list of your freezer’s inventory on a sheet of paper and keep it. Stick this sheet on the door of your upright freezer so that you can easily see what all is remaining. When you buy more food items, ensure you rotate similar items. While doing this, take your time and mindfully verify the freeze dates. The best thing you can do is to maintain an updated list regularly.

7. Deciding Which Food Goes in Which Freezer Basket and Drawer

Label all the drawers and baskets of your upright freezer to remember what all they contain. You can, maybe keep one basket for the food that you need to eat quickly. You can also purchase additional small size baskets for certain items and then label them accordingly.

8. Dishes Containing Dairy Foods

When it comes to freezing dishes that contain dairy foods, note that milk can also be frozen. However, if you thaw milk then it might separate a little. Cheese that is hard and semi-hard can be frozen in 8- and 16- ounce blocks. All that you need to do is wrap them in plastic and then put them in freezer bags. Although the characteristic flavour of the cheese will be retained when thawed, it could be a bit crumbly. This cheese works best when it is added to cooked dishes. Unfortunately, cottage cheese and cream cheese fare the worst when you freeze them for a long period. Blue cheeses are most likely to become crumbly.

9. Cooling all your hot foods before freezing them

To cool all the hot foods quickly, place the pan of hot food in a large container that is filled with ice or ice water. If you want to cool a lot of hot food, such as a large saucepan of stew or chilli. Then, portion it into smaller and shallow containers.

Cooler than Ever!

There you have it, the frozen food storage chart along with all the golden rules for your upright freezer. Hope you’re relaxed now after reading through all this information. Caring for your upright freezer is more important than you think if you want it to perform well for long years to come. Avoid the mess and clutter inside your freezer by following all these golden rules and the frozen food storage chart. Additionally, we have another guide for you and since you are still here, you may be interested in knowing how to clean an ice cubes maker machine appropriately. So, if you have an ice cubes maker of your own, then you definitely got to read this.

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