If you haven’t learned about the foods you should never freeze, it’s a good idea to find out right now. After all, we tend to think that just about any food can go into our trusty freezers — because most foods can — but the truth is that even our most reliable appliances can seriously impair food quality or even damage our meals in some cases. (Psst: While this topic is on your mind, you might want to check out our list of foods you should never refrigerate.)
Some foods, such as eggs in shells and ingredients in cans, simply cannot be frozen the same way that you can freeze bread or berries. It’s also worth keeping in mind that eggs in shells are also very fragile and can crack easily, risking a major disaster in your freezer. Other items on your grocery list can technically go into your freezer safely, but they would become much lower-quality ingredients once they were taken out and thawed. Ever tried to defrost frozen mayo? Chances are that you wouldn’t be too happy with the clumpy result.
Considering how busy we all are these days, the freezer can be a true lifesaver when it comes to salvaging food that’s just about to expire. But we all know how much time we spend with thawing or re-heating food when we’re finally ready to dig in. The last thing you want to do is go through all that effort just to find out that your food is no longer appetizing. Trust us: It’s not worth it.
Scroll below to find out which foods should never go in the freezer and why.
Eggs in Shells
If you accidentally bought too many eggs, you might be tempted to store the extras in the freezer for another time. Don't make this mistake. Freezing causes the yolk within an eggshell to become thick and syrupy, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Aside from sounding totally gross, this yolk would also not "flow" the same way an unfrozen yolk does, and it would not blend well with any other cooking ingredients, even the egg white! Here's a much better way to freeze raw eggs without their shells so that you don't risk ruining your future breakfast — or your entire freezer, for that matter.
According to the USDA, canned food that gets frozen accidentally — such as cans left behind in the car or basement in cold temperatures — can actually lead to health problems. Considering that risk, it's obviously not a good idea to freeze canned food intentionally, either. However, it's worth keeping in mind that once the canned food is actually outside of the can, it is OK to pop it in the freezer.
If you put mayonnaise in the freezer, it will likely be safe to eat when you take it out. However, safe to eat and delicious to eat are two totally different things. As the USDA reports, mayo's quality goes far downhill after defrosting. Say goodbye to a creamy, dreamy condiment and say hello to a lumpy, clumpy mess. Yuck!
If you've ever seen limp lettuce, you know how sad and unpalatable it looks. According to the British Diabetic Association, that's exactly what will happen to this piece of produce if you put it in the freezer. As a general rule of thumb, it's not a great idea to put any type of salad green in the freezer due to its high water content. This goes double if the salad has any kind of dressing — just put it all in the fridge.
However, if you've already put your salad greens in the freezer, there is one way you can potentially save them: Try to incorporate them in a soup recipe if you can. We wouldn't recommend making a habit out of this, though. You don't want greens taking up a lot of space in your freezer just for soup!
Hey, cottage cheese has tons of health benefits, so we understand the urge to stock up on this nutritious snack. However, you're not going to want to eat the defrosted result after taking a container out of the freezer. Frozen cottage cheese has the potential to curdle or become watery, according to the British Diabetic Association. If that's not enough to kill your appetite, we don't know what is!
Cream Cheese and Cream Sauce
Much like cottage cheese, cream cheese and cream sauce both run the risk of turning goopy or lumpy after being in the freezer. A piece of advice: Wait to go grocery shopping for soft, creamy food products until a week where you know for sure that you or someone else will be eating them. That way, you can just set them in the fridge to keep everyone in your home healthy and happy.
Once frozen, the cell structure of raw potatoes can actually change, according to Idaho Potato. This will negatively affect the appearance, texture, and most importantly, the taste after the tuber is cooked. However, when potatoes have already been cooked as part of a freezer-friendly recipe, it's fine to use them as leftovers.
Remember: Some other foods that can be frozen have certain storage requirements as well as recommended kitchen treatment before going into the freezer. When freezing a new food for the first time, always do your research beforehand for optimal results.