I have to freeze my food on the day of purchase.
This is utter rubbish.
You can freeze food right up until the ‘Use by Date’. It is better to freeze food when it’s fresh, but it is perfectly safe to freeze at any point between buying it and the ‘Use by’.
It is important to point out here that there are two different labels that could be on your food. Things like meats will have a ‘Use by’ as mentioned above, and this date is there for your safety. It is not always apparent from the taste or smell of a product that it is not safe to eat after this date.
Other foods, such as bread have a ‘Best Before Date’ which relates to quality. Your food will be better before this date but should be okay for a few days after. Stale bread (not mouldy!) can, for example be whizzed up into breadcrumbs, which can then be frozen.
Freezer Burn Will Make Me Sick
Freezer burn is the unpleasant frost that appears on food that it is not well wrapped or that is left in the freezer for a long time.
It develops on your food when air is able to circulate around the food and as any moisture is drawn out, ice crystals form.
It can degrade food - damaging the flavour and texture - so it is something that we do want to avoid as much as possible.
BUT. Freezer burn WILL NOT make you sick.
As long as you defrost and cook your food safely, it will be perfectly safe to eat.
Once I have thawed raw food I cannot freeze it again.
I have some good news for you!
If you freeze your ingredients raw, you can then cook them, and then freeze the cooked dish. So, if you make a Bolognese using ingredients from your freezer stash, you can then freeze it.
Perfect if you make too much, or if you live alone and want to freeze the surplus for another day. Simply cool the food as quickly as possible (it shouldn’t be out on the side for longer than an hour and a half).
What you CANNOT do is put any raw food that has been defrosted back in the freezer without cooking it first.
So, if you thaw too much meat for example, you need to cook it thoroughly before re-freezing.
This does not work for food that you have already cooked though - you don’t want to be reheating food more than once, so always make sure you portion up cooked meals and just defrost what you’re going to eat!