The 2 Foods You Should Never Freeze, According To Andrew Zimmern - Exclusive

Andrew Zimmern is a big fan of freezing food. In fact, Zimmern, who hosted Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods" for more than a dozen years, has been actively campaigning to get people to become "best friends" with their freezer, as part of his effort to reduce food waste. "People need to be cooking out of their freezer," Zimmern said in an exclusive interview with Mashed. "What we have to do is utilize the things inside of our freezer. That's number one, and use it as the friend that it was meant to be. Freezers are our friends."

But that doesn't mean all foods do well in the freezer. "The freezer is a great place to store certain things. Some stuff lasts quite a lot of time. Other stuff begins to degrade and suffers from freezer burn and other types of damage in a zero temperature or colder environments," Zimmern explained. So which foods shouldn't you freeze? "Things like cookies and cakes degrade in quality," he explained. "I see it all the time, holiday time here in Minnesota, where we have a lot of bakers making holiday cookies. And it's extremely odd to me! I know why it's done. It's just that the product degrades in the freezer, because people just put their tins in there and put aluminum foil, thinking that the lid on the tin seals better. And the cookies actually degrade! They ... absorb moisture that shouldn't be in your freezer, because most people don't have a good seal on their freezer."

This is the best way to use your freezer, according to Zimmern

So what foods will fare well in the freezer? According to Zimmern, most of them (except, of course, for the poorly wrapped baked goods). "It's the two quarts of curry. It's the storage of chicken stock, of tomato sauces, of things that people don't know you can freeze, like cooked rice," that we should make a concerted effort to freeze and then reheat, he noted. "So it really is an important, important place for us to get more friendly — so that we're more at ease with our freezers."

That does mean being more intentional about what and how we freeze our foods, Zimmern pointed out. "We have to make concerted efforts to organize our freezers," he said, "and then to ... make a commitment to eat out of them. We've put things in on purpose." That's why your most important tools for organizing a freezer, according to Zimmern, aren't necessarily fancy storage containers, but a simple pen and paper. "I think that the biggest way that people can combat waste is actually to write down on a piece of paper, keep a little pad by your garbage and write down for a week what you throw away. Every family is different. Every family throws away different things. At least you'll see the trends, right?" he explained. "If you're always throwing away two overripe bananas every week, you might want to learn how to make banana bread." Or, alternatively, bananas do pretty well in the freezer, too!

Check out Andrew Zimmern's freezer-friendly recipes on the Hillshire Farm website and to keep up with Zimmern's culinary travels, follow him on Instagram.