Charlotte Foster

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If these things are in your freezer, toss them out

If these things are in your freezer, toss them out

Out of space in your freezer? Make room by ditching these items that are no longer any good to you.

Smelly ice cubes

There’s nothing refreshing about taking a big gulp of ice water and tasting the garlic you put in the freezer last week. Once ice cubes have taken on the scents around them, they’ll never get rid of them. Toss those and start fresh. 

If this is a problem you have found yourself facing, it might be time to invest in ice cube trays with lids – they can help preserve the ice cubes’ freshness and keep them odour-free.

Forgotten freezer meals

Look at you with your freezer full of healthy freezer meals! It’s great to plan ahead but don’t get overambitious with your meal prep. 

Prepared freezer meals should be eaten within three months. Try a first-in, first-out approach, and keep track of your freezer’s contents using labels.

Stale coffee beans

Storing ground coffee in the freezer can preserve freshness but be mindful of how long those beans have been sitting in there. 

Coffee beans absorb moisture, as well as the various tastes and smells around them, so make sure to use them within three months.

Freezer-burned veggies

How long has that bag of frozen mixed veggies been sitting in the back of your freezer? If it survived your last move, it’s time to toss it. 

Frozen veggies can be kept in the freezer for about three months – or shorter, if freezer burn has crept in.

Thawed meat

We love keeping a supply of chicken freezer meals on hand for busy weeknights. Once meat like chicken begins to thaw, though, it starts to grow bacteria. 

If your freezer isn’t functioning at the optimal freezer temperature, the meat inside can start to thaw without anyone the wiser, which can be unsafe.

Freezer-burned meat

Most commonly, though, it’s freezer burn you should fear. Given enough time, it will render your meat dry and tasteless. 

If you notice small ice crystals in the packaging, or can’t remember how long the meat has even been in the freezer, it’s time for it to go. Tightly sealing your meat before freezing it is a good way to ward off freezer burn.

Old deli meat

Deli meat is one of those items that is very convenient to have on hand, but which spoils quickly. The good news is that you can definitely freeze deli meat. Even with proper preparation, however, it can only last up to two months in the freezer. 

After that, even if it remains safe to eat, it won’t taste very good. Just as with other meats, deli meat should be tightly sealed and wrapped before it’s frozen.

Pastries with creamy filling

Once you’ve gone to the trouble of making a heavenly cheese danish from scratch, the last thing you want to do is throw away the leftovers. 

But pastries and other treats with cheese or creamy filling don’t keep well in the freezer; in fact, many of the foods that cannot be frozen are dairy products. Toss those cheese danishes after a month (or just eat them to avoid this problem altogether).

Unrecognisable leftovers

We love finding creative ways to repurpose leftovers; they just won’t last in the freezer forever. Most leftover dishes will keep for two to six months in the freezer. 

If they’ve been sitting for a while and you can’t remember what the food was in the first place, pitch it and start over.

Old ice cream

Most of us don’t have the problem of ice cream lasting too long in our homes but if you happen to have more self-control, you may find yourself in this predicament. If your tub of ice cream is older than three to four months, it’s time for it to go. 

So grab a bowl and a spoon before time is up! If you have a new large tub, try dividing it up and storing it in individual serving containers to help preserve that fresh flavour.

Freezer-burned bread

If you have more fresh bread than you know what to do with, and don’t want it to go stale before you have a chance to enjoy it, then popping it in the freezer is a great idea. But bread only lasts in the freezer for about six months. After that, freezer burn will likely have ravaged its good taste and texture. 

If you find a loaf in the back of the freezer that’s been there for who knows how long, then it needs to go. To keep it fresh as long as possible, make sure to wrap it tightly in a layer of plastic wrap, and then in a layer of foil or freezer paper. Pro tip: slice your bread before freezing, so you only ever have to remove what you need.

Image credits: Getty Images

This article originally appeared on Reader's Digest.