So you’ve made a big batch of gluten-free pancakes or egg-free meatballs and you want to save some for later. If you’re like me, you throw it in a freezer bag, maybe label it (maybe), then toss it in the freezer, hoping for the best. And then what happens? The meatballs stick together, the pancakes turn into soggy messes as they thaw and all your hard work to prepare and store a special allergen-free food is wasted.

The problem is steam. The beautiful, aromatic steam that looks so appetizing swirling up from the food on the table is your enemy in the freezer. It condenses and forms ice crystals on the outside of your food. The ice crystals freeze the pieces of food together, or melt into water as they thaw, drenching your breads into unappetizing sogginess.

flash freeze techniqueThe answer is “flash freezing”. Simply spread your food on a metal cookie sheet or jelly roll pan in a single layer, making sure the pieces aren’t overlapping (much), and put it in the freezer. Once the pieces are frozen, pop them off the cookie sheet and place them into a freezer bag. You can even put the food in the freezer while it’s still hot – it won’t matter. The steam evaporates into the freezer air, and your food will be dry on the outside.

It only takes a few hours or overnight at most for small pieces to freeze. I don’t recommend letting your food sit in the freezer for days on end still on the pan. That’s pretty much asking for freezer burn right there. Oh, and do label the freezer bag with both the contents and the date. Unless you’re an archeologist, you probably won’t enjoy discovering that what you thought were last month’s dairy-free biscuits are really vegan quinoa burgers dating from the Clinton Administration.