For those suffering from celiac disease and gluten intolerance, it takes time to adjust to a new diet and a new lifestyle. Strategies that make that adjustment easier are always welcome, which explains why so many gluten-free households incorporate freezing foods into their weekly routine. Preparing gluten-free food can be time-consuming, especially for those adapting to a new diet. By simply doubling a recipe and freezing half to be enjoyed later, people can spend less time in the kitchen and more time doing the things they love.
Foods to Store in the Freezer
In addition to cooking and freezing meals to eat later, experts recommend storing some gluten-free food products in the freezer, particularly baked goods. Because items like gluten-free cornbread, cupcakes and brownies typically don’t contain preservatives, they don’t last as long at room temperature as wheat-based baked goods. Freezing gluten-free rolls and other baked goods improves their texture as well. When ready to be enjoyed, frozen baked goods can left out on the counter to thaw to the desired temperature or can be thawed in a microwave oven at a very low setting for 15 to 30 seconds.
Storing Pre-Cooked Meals in the Freezer
Meals like meatloaf, chili and soups are ideal for storing in the freezer for future meals. Meatloaf can be stored for as long as three months. Savvy cooks store portions of meatloaf in muffin pans to make it easy to cook up a single serving. When cooking foods like chili that contain a lot of spices, it’s important to remember that the flavor of the spices will become more intense during the freezing process. It’s best to spice the food lightly when cooking and add more as needed when reheating.
With a few exceptions, most soups freeze well. Vegetables like celery will change texture after being frozen, so it’s best to add them to the reheated stew or soup before serving. Casseroles containing rice noodles, such as lasagna, will freeze well if the noodles are not overcooked.
Freezer Storing Tips
While they may appear impervious to moisture, regular plastic bags are not the best material for storing foods. Using bags or paper specially designed for freezing foods is a better option. It’s a good idea to label foods, both with dates and with ingredients, to make it easier for the family to know exactly what they’re eating and which foods to eat first.
While learning to follow a gluten-free diet can be challenging, storing food in the freezer helps simplify the process. Many consumers find that that freezing improves the taste of gluten-free food products.