Over the years, I have become a major victim of the "throw it in the freezer and it will be eaten sooner or later" syndrome.
*That slow cooked brisket sounds tasty but I can't recall when it made its way into the freezer.
*A banana nut muffin sure sounds good but it's now covered in freezer burn.
*A few instances of "I don't even know what is in this container."
*Guilt over 7 containers of ready-to-blend smoothies from Daily Harvest that I swear I'm going to start using tomorrow.
*Is that a pouch of frozen breast milk I see in the back?
Deciding that I was going to stage my own intervention, I first began researching how long specific items last in the freezer. A simple Google search provided the following info:
Many foods should probably be chucked between 1 - 3 months.
Don't freak out just yet! This is more a guideline for quality and taste. Frozen foods, if stored properly, actually remain safe indefinitely.
According to Foodsafety.gov, the 1-3 month quality mark includes hotdogs, bacon, sausage, lunchmeat, chicken nuggets or patties, pizza, soups and stews. Ground meats remain tasty for 3 - 4 months. Fresh chicken and meat may keep for 4 - 12 months.
Although I find this info super helpful, I don't want to deal with the hassle of researching each food, every time something new enters the freezer. I decided to check in with my favorite recipe/cooking site - TheKitchn.com.
They provide advice that is a little more digestible (pun intended): Freezer burn is the foe of any frozen food. It sucks out the foods moisture leaving you with a less tasty product. When does freezer burn tend to creep in? The standard is three months.
Moral of the story - that 4 month old mint chocolate chip ice cream? It probably still tastes delish as long as there is no freezer burn present.
Moving forward here are my #freezergoals:
Oh, and if you're wondering, I defrosted that breastmilk from 5 months earlier and gave it to my toddler when he had a cold. Liquid gold!