Kitchen & Cooking

15 things you should never put in your freezer

Freeze! Don't you dare put that in the freezer.

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Your freezer is a kind of time machine, taking in food and keeping it fresh for later use. Whether you stuff it with frozen dinners from Trader Joe’s, or homemade stews to serve the next time you’re too busy to cook a meal from scratch, the freezer is a wonderful storehouse. Still, not everything should be frozen (and we’re not talking about that casserole that nobody liked). Certain foods should just not spend time on ice.

Here are 15 things you should not freeze, along with some better storage ideas:

1. Milk

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Freezing milk will cause its texture to suffer. Once you've frozen it, you can cook with it, but you won't want to drink it.

While you won’t get sick from frozen milk, once it thaws, you will hardly recognize its texture—it will be lumpy and gross. If you must freeze milk, plan to use it for cooking or baking, not for drinking. And leave room in the container before you commit it to the freezer because liquids expand when they freeze.

Better idea: Instead of freezing it, store milk in the back of the refrigerator, which is colder than the door. It will keep longer there.

2. Yogurt

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Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

Yogurt will separate if you put it in the freezer, then thaw it to eat.

A container of Greek yogurt that you put in the freezer will not magically turn into froyo. According to Delish, the yogurt’s water and fats separate, causing the milk to curdle when it thaws.

Better idea: Make froyo by whisking full-fat yogurt with sugar and churning in an ice cream maker. Once it’s made, you can store it in the freezer.

3. Raw eggs in their shells

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Putting eggs in the freezer can cause them to spoil.

Eggs will expand in the freezer, and when they do, their shells crack. Obviously, you’ll have to clean up the mess, and your freezer could end up smelling like rotten eggs. What’s worse is that even a slight crack in the eggshell can admit bacteria, which thrive in the yolk. When those eggs thaw, they can make you sick, according to the USDA.

Better idea: Cook and cool scrambled eggs or quiche before freezing. Or crack the eggs and freeze the whites in an airtight container.

4. Fresh vegetables

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Before you freeze raw vegetables, you should blanch them to stop enzyme activity, preserve color, and clean the surface.

Don’t toss raw vegetables in the freezer directly. Freezing doesn’t actually stop enzyme and pathogen activity—it just slows it down.

Better idea: The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests you blanch vegetables before you freeze them. Blanching is a quick plunge into steam or boiling water and a dip in icy water to stop the cooking. It halts the enzyme action, keeps bright colors, cleans the surface, and softens the veggies to make them easier to pack.

5. Canned vegetables

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Cans can rupture in the freezer, causing the food inside to go bad.

Skip this altogether. The liquid inside the can will expand in the freezer and can make the can split at the seams, leaving an entryway for bacteria.

Better idea: To extend the life of canned food, remove it from the can and place it in a covered airtight container before freezing.

6. Fried food

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The coating on fried food will turn to mush in the freezer.

We all crave crispy fried foods, but freezing them turns them limp and mushy. You might try to revive them in a very hot oven, but the original frying oil will already have soaked in, making grease the dominant flavor.

Better idea: Enjoy fried food while it’s hot and crunchy.

7. Champagne and other sparkling wines

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Champagne, when frozen, can shatter the bottle.

Don’t chill a bottle in the freezer for more than a brief time because the water in the wine will expand if you allow it to freeze. Since there isn’t much room for expansion in the bottle, the wine might start leaking out through the cork.

Better idea: The safe way to chill wine is in a bucket of ice and water, according to Wine Spectator.

8. Potatoes

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Don't freeze raw or cooked potatoes. They'll get gummy and grainy.

You probably wouldn’t consider storing raw potatoes in the freezer, and that’s a good thing. But cooked potatoes don’t freeze well either. They turn gummy and grainy.

Better idea: If you’re making soup or stew to freeze, leave the potatoes out of the recipe and add boiled potatoes to your food when you heat it up for serving.

9. Garlic

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Cloves of garlic need to be grated or pressed and covered with oil before freezing.

Garlic lasts a long time when stored in a dark, dry drawer. On the other hand, freezing the cloves ruins the flavor and makes them strong and bitter.

Better idea: Peel the cloves, then grate or press them, and cover with cooking oil. Dish out spoonfuls of the garlic onto a baking sheet to freeze. Once frozen, transfer the dollops of garlic to plastic bags, where they will be available when you need them.

10. Coffee

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Credit: Reviewed / Jonathan Chan

If you put coffee in the freezer, the thawing process will cause it to lose flavor.

Don’t freeze coffee beans or grounds. That just kills the flavor, according to the folks at Epicurious. Plus, if your freezer temperature fluctuates, condensation can build up in the coffee and rot the beans.

Better idea: Store your coffee in a cool, dry spot but not in the freezer. Moisture is ground coffee’s worst enemy.

11. Defrosted meat

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Don't attempt to re-freeze defrosted meat. Bacteria build up during the defrosting process and may cause food poisoning if you attempt to re-freeze the meat.

Forget trying to refreeze defrosted meat. The bacteria will have multiplied during the thaw, making food poisoning an unfortunate possibility.

Better idea: Eat the meat soon after it defrosts in the refrigerator, or throw it away.

12. Batteries

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Condensation in your freezer can corrode batteries.

Duracell recommends that you avoid storing your batteries in the freezer. The condensation that builds up in your freezer may corrode your batteries.

Better idea: Store batteries in their original package in a cool, dry place.

13. Tights

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Any benefits from putting your tights into the freezer go away when you put them on.

Some older articles suggest dipping tights in water and freezing them overnight to prevent runs. In theory, chilling a fabric causes the fibers to bunch closer together, making the item stronger overall. However, unless you yourself spend all day in the freezer, your body heat causes that effect to disappear within a few minutes of pulling on your tights.

Better idea: Carry a backup pair of tights in your tote and put them on if you get a run.

14. Denim jeans

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Putting your jeans in the freezer doesn't actually kill bacteria. As soon as you take them out, the bacteria begin to grow again, causing odor to return.

There's a myth out there that putting your jeans in the freezer will clean them. The problem with that is the bacteria only go dormant when chilled. Once the jeans are out of the freezer, they'll start to smell again.

Better idea: Hang your jeans outside between wearings. This will keep the germs from contaminating your frozen food. To reduce bacteria and body oils on your jeans, it’s better to wash them from time to time.

15. Film

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Freezing film can cause distortion. If you must freeze film, allow plenty of time for it to defrost.

If you take pictures with a film camera, you need to store your unprocessed film away from excessive heat. But the freezer isn’t the best place for it. The frozen film can become brittle and distorted.

Better idea: According to thedarkroom.com, if you must store your film in the freezer, allow five hours to let it come to room temperature before using it to reduce the chance of damage to the film.