Not all of your grocery goodies are freezer-friendly. So while we applaud you for choosing to chill your food, whether that’s to prevent waste or prep meals a little easier, proceed with caution. Some things look and taste a lot different coming out of the freezer than they do going in, which can be gross or just outright dangerous.
Don’t learn from your own mistakes—learn from our list! Keep these items elsewhere the next time you’re unloading bags of groceries, but feel free to freeze the rest. It’s cheaper to run a full freezer than an empty one, which is one of our Best Supermarket Shopping Tips Ever.
Don’t ruin one of the 37 Breakfast Foods For Optimal Weight Loss by sticking it in the freezer. Although it’s perfectly fine to store a whisked egg in there, the water in a hard-boiled one will expand enough to crack it, welcoming bacteria inside. And if it doesn’t crack, the whites will turn rubbery anyway, which is one of the reasons why freezing an egg-white-based frosting isn’t a good idea. Keep any egg-based sauces out of there as well, like meringue, custard, and mayo if you want them to maintain their texture.
Got milk? You won’t have it anymore if you pop it in the freezer; you’ll have a nasty, curdled mess. And that’s not the only dairy product you should quit cooling. Not only will cream cheese, cottage cheese, and sour cream all separate once frozen, but cheese will go through a texture change as well. It’ll become crumbly if it was hard to start with and crystallized if it was soft, so buy only as much as you need and leave it in the fridge. If you’re planning on freezing ingredients for a smoothie, only freeze your produce (berries and bananas freeze especially well) and leave the milk and yogurt in the fridge.
Fried foods don’t belong in the freezer, but you know where else they don’t belong? Your body. Even if you eat them before they’ve lost their crunch and turned soggy, a study by the Harvard School of Public Health linked fried food consumption to heart disease and obesity. That means you shouldn’t just keep those waist wideners out of your freezer, but also out of your diet altogether.
This is a mistake you’ll only make once. Cooling a carbonated can in the freezer might sound refreshing, but it will only lead to exploded aluminum and sticky soda in the long run. You’re better off storing those in the fridge—or in the trash if they’re not any of the 12 Sodas That Are Actually Healthy.
Fully Cooked Pasta
Al dente or bust! Freezing fully cooked pasta leads to mushy, limp noodles that are anything but appetizing, but if you cook pasta al dente, which means when it’s still firm when bitten, you’ll get better reheating results. Looking to freeze your sauce as well? Pour it into an ice cube tray to ensure that it melts quicker later.
There’s no better way to turn fresh produce into a limp and soggy mess than dumping it into the freezer. Lettuce, potatoes, cucumbers, watermelon, and apples all have a high water content, leading them to ice over in the freezer. When this ice melts upon defrosting, you’ll be left with some seriously unappetizing fruits and veggies.
Freezing meat once is fine. It’s when you thaw it and put it into the freezer again that things start getting a little sketchy. Going back and forth between the two states is an invitation for bacteria to reproduce and grow on your meat. That’s clearly the last thing you want when whipping up salmon burgers or chicken tacos, so portion your frozen meats and only thaw for immediate use.
What was once a leafy green herb can transform into a brown ball of mush if left hanging out in the freezer. With a temperature change like that, texture goes out the window no matter what. That being said, there is a way to salvage some flavor if you’re willing to cover chopped up herbs in a neutral oil and freeze it in an ice cube tray. Still confused? You probably need to take a look at these 34 Tips For Freezing Food.