The rules of reheatability and freezability

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by recky, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. recky


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    For us mom & pop restaurant owners/chefs, it is absolutely vital that we always strive to cut down on food waste, and the ability to reheat and/or freeze certain cooked foods is a godsend. However, you are rarely trained in such specifics and simply come to accept that food A can be reheated without detriment, while food B will suffer. Likewise, you might freeze a leek and potato soup, while your creamy chestnut soup will have to be kept in the fridge and then chucked once past its prime.

    I find that as long as I'm working in my comfort zone, I never think about these things, but occasionally, when I cook something I have never cooked before, I ask myself at least one of the two questions: "can it be successfully reheated?" or "can it be frozen without damage?", because with certain products, there simply is no way of knowing, and it's the one thing even professional recipes don't tell you.

    Most of us will have cooked most types of food before, and we know how they are treated in a restaurant situation. At the same time, we probably never question our set ways. Or we are suddenly confronted with a dish that is requested by a customer and simply had never thought about what to do with leftovers. Most recently for example, I roasted whole ducks for a Christmas party and was left with a couple of those birds. Now I'm wondering if they can actually be reheated without drying out, or should I maybe put them to another use.

    (Innovative ideas for using leftovers might be another interesting thread...)

    Is anyone aware of any rules along the lines of "cooked meat/poultry cannot be frozen", "a cooked breaded veal escalope cannot be reheated"?

    Have you ever sheepishly frozen something your weren't supposed to and were surprised how good it was after thawing and reheating?

    Unfortunately, I can't offer the first (successful) example, but I have foolishly frozen a cream of pumpkin soup that contained cream - something I will never do again!


  2. foodpump


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    Professional Pastry Chef
    Ummmm....there are no set and fast rules as far as I know. 

    I have successfully froze a lot of items, but one thing I never dreamed of freezing was quiche--blanched broccoli, cheddar, eggs, light cream baked in a crust.  So one day I'm chatting up a customer who just bought a half dozen of them, and I ask him if they're for a party.

    "No.... I freeze them in zip-lock bags, and then whenever I feel like one, I pop it into my toaster oven, they come out great."

    I would have never, ever, thunk of that...... 
  3. beastmasterflex


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    You can freeze cooked duck fat quite well if you submerse it in a fat, preferably duck fat. Duck confit freezes wonderfully. I try not to freeze anything that has already been prepped. Raw primal cuts freeze very well and I think you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Meats that have been brined can be frozen very well also providing they have not been cooked.

    Vegetable purees freeze excellently this is a very good use of extra produce. I order onions by the case even in the slow season, make half into onion puree and freeze for later use. The same can be done with most vegetables, garlic being another of my favorites. Purees are a wonderful thing to have around as you can make an incredibly wide variety of dishes at the drop of a hat, I put a little onion puree in my mac and cheese, in meatloaf, well pretty much anything. Onion puree is probably the best thing that fine dining has to offer the world.

    Had you made a pumpkin puree, onion puree, and garlic puree, you could have simply blended the 3 with fresh cream and it would have been very good.

    I highly recommend buying a case of microwavable deli containers, it makes storage in the freezer very convenient, and you will be able to pull out as much as you need. These containers are reusable and very durable, but don't cost so much you'll wince if one gets broken/melted/lost, etc. COMBO240.html