Your Freezing and Defrosting Guide for Passover
When I was growing up, everything revolved around the freezer. We didn’t have local bakeries with fresh bread and danishes every day, and we didn’t have fresh milk delivered to our doorstep. Instead, we had weekly deliveries of milk and bread, and for meats, well that was a whole different story. Suffice it to say my mother had 2 freezers, eventually upgraded to 3, and that’s how freezing/defrosting became part of my kitchen lifestyle.
I am all for fresh food—in an ideal world of course—but between kids, work, baking, and general life, cooking real food sometimes falls between the cracks. There is nothing I love more during a hectic week than to open my freezer, pull something out, and with minimal prep, have a hearty supper on the table.
When it comes to Passover however, advance preparation and freezing foods is a must! Not only does it streamline the whole pre-Passover-mad-cooking-rush, it also lets you enjoy Yom Tov with your family instead of spending all day and night in the kitchen cooking. Personally, I try to have everything cooked before Yom Tov because I work on Chol Hamoed and, well, I love my freezer!
Freezing is not only about the foods you freeze. It’s also about the freezer, the storage method, and how it is defrosted. To start with, you are going to want to make sure your freezer is clean, at the correct temperature of 0°F (-18°C) and has little or no frost. Since Passover is “cleaning time,” there is no better time to get used to enjoying your freezer.
How to Clean the Freezer in 1 Day:
- The night before you are ready to clean it, unplug it, and place a thick towel at the bottom of the freezer as well as on the floor in front of it. Keep the door closed overnight.
- In the morning, remove the towels, and wipe away excess moisture/ice particles. If it is still not completely defrosted, you can use a bowl of boiling water placed at the bottom to speed things along.
- Clean out the walls and shelves with warm water, whatever spray you use to clean, and a soft cloth.
- Plug the freezer back in, and leave it for at least 12 hours or until it is back down to the correct temperature.
Now we are ready to start filling it up with food.
Almost anything can be frozen. And I mean anything. There are two things I don’t freeze and those are cooked fish and roasted veggies. Raw fish, mashed potatoes, chicken, soups, meats, side dishes—yes! All can be frozen.
For this article, since it IS Passover Prep, I’m going to give you a list of Passover foods that can be frozen in advance! I also made a printable chart that shows it all in detail!
- Soups – Chicken soup, cream of chicken soup, minestrone soup, mushroom soup, onion soup, meat soup.
- Chicken & Meat – Probably the easiest, most common thing to freeze. Roasted, boiled, minced, balled – chicken and meat freeze SO well. To make this category even more fun, you can choose how to freeze them – raw or cooked.
- Fish – This is the only thing I don’t freeze cooked. I put the dressing/marinade on it and freeze raw. Then you just have to cook it without the mess of preparing a marinade on Yom Tov.
- Egg Noodles – We all go through containers of these at a rate of craziness. So by prepping a load of these in advance and freezing, you are not only prepared, you are also curbing those sneaky hands from stealing too much!
- Charoset – It may defrost a little “mushy,” but it really starts off at that texture anyway!
- Kugel – This was a dish invented for the freezer. And a must have at many Pesach tables.
- Rice (for my Sephardic followers) – By undercooking it slightly, it leaves the rice a little crispy so that when defrosting, it doesn’t have a mushy texture.
- Mashed Potatoes – This one surprises most people. It involves a few steps to make, which can be time consuming, so by making one big batch and freezing it in smaller portions, timesaver!
- Desserts – Tell me a dessert that doesn’t freeze … and I won’t make it! Everything from cakes to cookies to ice cream, mousse, and fruit stew freezes excellently, and if your family is anything like mine, all of the above are in high demand over Yom Tov.
The chart here will tell you how to freeze them and defrost them to keep the taste as fresh and tasty as possible. Print it or save it to have easy access!
Here’s to a stress free Pesach where we can actually enjoy our meals in the dining room with our family and guests.