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By now, we’ve been in quarantine so long that we’ve all seen the various memes and jokes about people buying a million toilet paper rolls and then trying, usually unsuccessfully, to return them to the store.

Hopefully that’s not you! The chances are good, however, that at some point in the recent past you probably bought a lot of groceries that need to be stored somewhere, even if you wound up not needing them as soon as you expected.

 

And that brings us to the eternal struggle about long-term food storage: where can I keep this so that it doesn’t go bad before I have a chance to actually eat it? The answer may be more – and less – complicated than you might think.

Understandably so, most people tend to go for freezing to solve a lot of their food storage needs. Generally speaking, this is a fine plan – more things can get frozen than you might expect, and it’s a good way to store things for the long term in case you’re not sure when you’ll need to eat them.

Of course, there’s a few things that really can’t go in the freezer, and will have to be stored elsewhere, so we’ve got a list of four things you can freeze, and four things you can’t (and where to keep them):

 

Food You Can Store In The Freezer During Coronavirus

  • Chili, soups, and stews: If you’re the kind who gets adventurous in the kitchen and “accidentally” makes way more chili or your famous three-bean soup than your family can eat at once, go ahead and deep freeze the rest until the need for chili night rolls around again. Plastic food containers are fine for this, or if you have a vacuum-sealer machine, using vacuum bags can help save space.
  • Whole grain bread: Many (but not all) breads can be frozen to help them last longer. We always used to laugh at our grandparents for doing this, but who’s laughing now?
  • Meat: Across the board, pretty much any meat product can be safely frozen to extend its lifespan. Just remember to totally thaw it out before use, as excess ice or moisture can make it tougher to cook all the way through!
  • Eggs: This one comes with a catch – egg yolks are absolutely freezer-safe, but you need to make sure they’re out of the shell first, since shells don’t stand up to the cold very well. Oddly enough, ice cube trays are usually the way to go, here.

 

And, now, for the flipside of all this:

 

Food You Should Absolutely NOT Freeze During Coronavirus

  • Whole eggs: Like we just mentioned, the shell will crack under extreme cold, leading to a weird, broken mess of frozen egg yolk. Keep these in the fridge until you have to crack them open.
  • Mayo: Most dairy products don’t handle the freezer well, but if you bought one of those industrial-sized jars of mayonnaise to make sandwiches during the quarantine, try to keep it in your pantry organizers (or out on some garage shelves if the temperature is right) until it’s time to put it in the fridge.
  • Fresh tomatoes: There’s no good way to defrost frozen tomatoes, and once they thaw out, they’re just going to be a weird, slimy mess. Find some space on a kitchen counter or on a baker’s rack and let them enjoy the fresh air.
  • Rice: If the barren shelves of our local grocery store are anything to go by, you (among other people) may be all stocked up on rice for a good, long while – but where are you supposed to put it? Avoid the freezer, as this will absolutely ruin the rice’s consistency (similar to what happens if you put pasta in the freezer) – instead, keep them on something that can avoid a buildup of moisture (like wire shelves) in a neutral environment, temperature- and humidity-wise.

 

Hopefully with these tips your groceries will be fresh, tasty, and healthy for your family no matter how long they need to be stored through the coronavirus!

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