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Bake for Now and Later

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Do you ever wish that you could have homemade baked goods ready on a
moment’s notice? Wouldn’t it be nice to always be prepared for
unexpected guests? Baking now and freezing for later is the solution.
You’d be amazed how many baked goods, when properly packaged and frozen,
can taste fresh months later. Best of all, if you regularly bake and
freeze you will always have homemade goodies on hand. What an easy way
to be the quintessential hostess and homemaker!
Which baked goods freeze well? Most any of them can be frozen and you
can always freeze a small amount, wait a month, and give it a taste
test to determine for yourself which foods you deem of quality after
being frozen. Recommendations include:

  • Waffles
  • Cookies
  • Cookie Dough
  • Brownies
  • Fruit Pie (Not cream or custard, as those do not freeze well.)
  • Bread/Rolls
  • Unfrosted Cake (You can frost right before serving. A frosted cake
    can be frozen, but an unfrosted one usually yields better results.)
  • Baked Cheesecakes (Without toppings, since those will ruin the texture of the cheesecake.)

All of these items reheat easily in the oven, toaster oven, or
microwave. It’s just a matter of preference.
However, warming in the oven is most likely to renew that fresh-baked taste. It will also make
your home smell delicious, just like when you baked in the first place.
This is an especially useful trick right before a party. It will appear
as though you’ve been baking all day, and smell like it too, when the
reality is you just popped the baked goods in the oven and used the time
getting ready for the party.

When preparing baked goods for the freezer it is important to let the
food cool to room temperature before packaging and freezing. It is best
to get the items into the freezer as soon as possible to retain
freshness, so as soon as room temperature has been reached, it is time
to package up the edibles.

Most baked items can be packaged for the freezer by simply filling a
plastic freezer bag. Make sure to pack air-tight, as air is the main
factor in causing freezer burn. You can do this by squeezing out the air
or using a straw to suck out the air before sealing the bag. Another
option (albeit, more expensive) is to invest in a vacuum sealer.

Some items are better stored in a plastic container. When the
situation calls for this, it is necessary to implement extra precautions
against freezer burn. Depending on the food type, wrap in plastic wrap
or freezer paper before placing in the container. Fill any extra space
in the container with crumpled wax or freezer paper. This will prevent
air from being trapped in the container, which would ruin your food.
Some people have found that glass better prevents frozen foods from
picking up strange tastes from the freezer.
Though plastic can be used,
it will not guard against unappealing tastes to the same extent glass
would. However, plastic is more convenient, less expensive, and often
gets the job done comparably well.

Be sure to label all foods with the date of the day first baked. This
will help you to decide when something has been in the freezer too long
to still be good. Often baked goods will retain quality taste for 1 to 3
months, depending on the item. Keep in mind that freezer burn or a
change in texture is not dangerous to be eaten, so if you decide to give
a frozen item a taste to determine its quality, you can do so without
being harmed.

Also, make sure your freezer is in tip top shape to keep your food
tasting great. Check the seal of the door to assure it is tight. Keep
the freezer at 0 degrees (and no higher) at all times. Stay aware of
your freezer to determine that it maintains its set temperature and
doesn’t fluctuate. Do not pack the freezer too full, as the lack of air
circulation between packaged food items will cause the quality of the
food to deteriorate (the cool air flow within the freezer is what keeps
it frozen yet fresh). Keep an open box of baking soda in your freezer
(as well as your refrigerator) to absorb odors. And since many
fridge-freezer combos share the same air flow, it is important to keep
the fridge clean to prevent odors seeping into the freezer. If you
follow all of these steps, your frozen baked goods should keep for
months and taste just baked fresh upon reheating!

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