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There are a lot of edible things that come to mind when I think about what can be frozen. But when I think about things you better not put in the freezer, I honestly have no idea.

So, what food and/or drinks come out of the freezer unusable?

(I really am asking about the use, rather than the texture. For example, blueberries would come out mushy, but you can still use them in some dishes.)

And are there things that completely lose their taste or even get an other taste?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 15 down vote accepted

A lot of dairy products become watery or start to separate if they've been frozen or defrosted: pastries with cream fillings, cream cheese, sour cream.

The USDA says does not recommend that eggs or canned foods be stored frozen. Eggshells can crack easily, and even if the shells remain intact, the consistency of egg yolks makes them difficult to use for anything other than hard-boiling. Canned foods that are frozen accidentally could pose health risks, so the USDA recommends inspecting to see if the can has rusted or burst. If the can is swollen, thaw it but check to make sure it doesn't look or smell off before eating.

The FDA also has a useful chart (pdf) on which foods don't freeze well and how long you can freeze other foods. (Note: when there is a recommended limit on how long a food should be frozen, it indicates when the quality of the food will decrease - NOT when it will "expire". You could theoretically freeze most foods indefinitely.)

The only other thing I would avoid freezing is any sort of raw green (lettuce, spinach, etc.). Greens wilt and turn brown when you freeze them. (If they're cooked, they should be fine to freeze and thaw.)

EDIT: Apparently, some spices become bitter when frozen, including pepper, cloves, garlic, green pepper, imitation vanilla, and onions, paprika and celery taste different.

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My mom froze milk ... I think 2% ... I guess I was just used to it as a kid. (she'd buy it in half gallon cartons, before they had those little plastic pour spouts on 'em). And frozen eggs are creepy. –  Joe Jul 28 '11 at 20:16
    
I stuck a head of lettuce in the freezer against my roommate's suggestion. I was unhappy when I finally pulled it out of the fridge, craving some greens.... :( –  Robert P Jul 28 '11 at 23:02
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I think you're misunderstanding the USDA. Water expands when frozen. The pressure will burst eggs and cans. A bulged can from freezing is not only hard to tell apart from a bulged can from gas buildup (e.g., improper canning), but is likely no longer sealed. If you took a known-good can and froze it, the primary danger would be from explosion. Defrosting in the fridge and consuming immediately would not risk food poisoning. But the can is probably no longer sealed, so it may not be stored at room temperature. –  derobert Jul 29 '11 at 17:34
    
@derobert The USDA does say "Cans frozen accidentally, such as those left in a car or basement in sub-zero temperatures, can present health problems" but you're right, I didn't accurately summarize. That's what I get for typing quickly. I'll go back and edit now. –  Laura Jul 29 '11 at 17:56
    
Yeah, accidental freezing breaks the seal, then it defrosts (warmer day), the water shrinking may actually create a vacuum in the now-deformed can, sucking stuff in. Can's contents is now no longer sterile. I'd suggest adding a paragraph about using proper containers (and fill amounts) in the freezer. –  derobert Jul 29 '11 at 18:08

Avocados. If you want to freeze for later, you need to wait for them to ripen, scoop out the good stuff, and freeze it. If you freeze whole avocados you get nasty smelly mush when they thaw.

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same essentially with most soft fruits, unless you maybe have ways to flashfreeze them and thaw them rapidly. –  jwenting Jul 29 '11 at 6:15
    
add fresh tomatoes to the list. –  OpenID-test2 Jul 30 '11 at 18:34

Soft drinks / soda, champagne / sparkling wines. It's fine to use the freezer to cool the drinks rapidly, but they have a tendency to explode the (unopened) container if the liquid actually freezes. Also, it will tend to make the carbonated drinks go flat.

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