Can you freeze those foods?

I get calls regularly on whether certain items can be frozen or not and for how long.

-Can you freeze fresh meats in supermarket wrappings?

Unless you’ll use the frozen meat or poultry in a month or two, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that you add a second wrapping for long-term storage. Overwrap with airtight heavy-duty freezer foil, freezer paper or place the package inside a freezer bag.

While it’s safe to freeze fresh meat or poultry in its supermarket wrapping, this type of wrap is permeable to air. Overwrapping the package helps maintain quality and prevent “freezer burn.” Foods with freezer burn are safe to eat though they may be dry in spots.

Freezer burn causes grayish-brown leathery spots because air reaches the surface of the food. Cut freezer-burned portions away either before or after cooking. Discard heavily freezer-burned foods for quality reasons.

-Can you freeze milk?

While pasteurized milk can be frozen, it may separate or be slightly grainy when thawed. Frozen milk works best for cooking, but you may find it’s still okay for drinking.

Freeze milk in plastic freezer containers or special freezer-proof glass jars. Leave some extra space at the top since milk expands during freezing. Plan to use frozen milk within a month. Thaw milk in the refrigerator. Stir well before using.

-Can you freeze cheese?

Hard or semi-hard cheese can be frozen if cut in 1/2- to 1-pound blocks. Wrap in plastic wrap, and then put in freezer bags. After freezing, cheese may become crumbly and mealy, but, it will retain its flavor. It works best for cooking.  Plan to use frozen cheese within four to six months. Thaw cheese in the refrigerator. Use soon after thawing.

-Can you freeze eggs?

Eggs can be frozen, but not in the shell. It’s best to freeze eggs in small quantities so you can thaw only what you need. An easy way to do this is to put them in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer container and label. As with any frozen food, it is best to thaw eggs in the refrigerator and use them as soon as they are thawed. Only use thawed eggs in dishes that will be thoroughly cooked.

Angela Treadaway is the Regional Extension Agent in Food Safety/Preservation and Preparation with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. She can be reached at 410-3696.