As the holiday season is upon us, it is a great idea to have a pie, quick bread or cookies stored in the freezer for your family gatherings. Many baked goods freeze and thaw beautifully. The key to success is to follow recommended procedures.
· The freezer temperature should be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
· Use moisture-proof, vapor-proof wraps or containers such as plastic containers with tight-fitting lids, heavy duty foil and freezer-weight plastic bags and wraps.
· Cool baked goods completely before preparing for the freezer. This will prevent moisture condensation from warm food which could make it soggy after thawing.
· Be sure there is enough room for expansion when filling containers. Press the air out and seal tightly before freezing.
Cookies freeze well if packed in a rigid container to prevent breakage. If cookies are frosted before freeing, freeze on a cookie sheet, then layer with waxed paper in freezer container. Thaw in container at room temperature. Unfrosted cookies may be stored up to 12 months; frosted ones just 2 months.
Quick breads freeze well too. Make sure you cool completely and wrap well with products noted above. Thaw at room temperature and consider slicing while partially frozen to prevent crumbling. Quick breads can be stored for up to 4 months, but they never last that long at my house!
Unbaked pies have fresher fruit flavor, but the crust may absorb juices and become soggy easier. Brush bottom crust with melted butter and allow to set up before filling. Fruit fillings may be thickened and cooled before adding to crust. Do not slit the top crust before freezing. When you unwrap the pie, cut slits in the top pastry and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes and then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until the center is bubbly and crust is nicely browned. Unbaked pies can be frozen up to 4 months.
Following these guidelines will help ensure that your baked goods retain flavor and freshness in the freezer. Let me know if you have specific questions that I haven’t covered and I’ll be happy to share.
Donna Krug is the District Director and Family and Consumer Science Agent with K-State Research and Extension – Cottonwood District. You may reach her at: (620)793-1910 or [email protected] K-State Research and Extension is an equal opportunity provider and employer.