The freezing process must be as fast as possible.
The slower food freezes, the larger the ice crystals formed by internal water are. Larger ice crystals literally poke holes in cell walls, allowing moisture to evaporate out into your freezer taking flavor and texture with it.
Avoid refreezing food.
This is to preserve both quality and your safety. Thawing and refreezing food can damage its flavor and texture, so try to only freeze things once (some liquids you can get away with refreezing).
Steps and Tips for Freezing Better at Home:
1. Put a sheet pan (or baking/cookie sheet) in the freezer, and the items to be frozen in the fridge.
Try to get them as cold as possible prior to moving them to the freezer.
2. Arrange the items individually on the sheet tray in the freezer and close the door.
The sheet tray’s stored cold will help them to freeze faster. If you’re concerned about the food sticking (shouldn’t be a problem unless the food has surface moisture), use a sheet of parchment paper or wax paper on top of the tray.
3. Once the items are frozen, move them from the tray into a zip top bag or vacuum pouch.
Seal with as little air as possible.
4. Label each container.
With the name of the item, the date it was frozen.
5. Store your frozen food in the freezer proper instead of in the door.
Items in the door tend to fluctuate in temperature more as the freezer is opened and closed.
6. Always use older frozen items before newer versions of the same item.
7. Always take only what you need out of the freezer.
As mentioned above, frequent defrosting and refreezing (even if only a little bit) can negatively effect food’s quality.
8. Believe it or not, your freezer will actually function better the more full and tightly packed it is.
Do remember to leave yourself room for the sheet pan mentioned above in case you want to do more individual freezing.
Keep these simple tips in mind and you’ll be much happier the next time you freeze fresh fish fillets, cuts of meat, pre-cooked meals, fruits, or vegetables.
For tips on how to best defrost your frozen treasures, please see Safely Defrosting Frozen Food for Maximum Flavor.