Reduce food waste by freezing dairy

It is estimated that up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is wasted.While this can occur anywhere along the food supply chain, consumers are the largest contributors to food waste, throwing away an estimated 15 to 25 percent of all food purchased. It’s easy to see the impact this can have on your wallet, but the implications of food waste extend to our environment and communities, too.

How can you minimize food waste in your house? Start freezing perishable foods – starting with your nutritious dairy products! Freezing foods allows you to save food you might have otherwise thrown-out and consume it at a later time. Store dairy in the freezer below 0°F, and follow these proper storage and thawing practices:

  • Label dairy products with the freezing date and rotate items properly so those with the oldest dates are used first.
  • Thaw dairy products in the refrigerator, and once thawed, use them as soon as possible.
  • Frozen milk maintains its quality in the freezer for up to three months. Freeze milk in an airtight container and leave a half-inch of headspace at the top. Because milk often separates when frozen and can lose its smooth texture, it works best for cooking and baking versus drinking. Be sure to stir and shake thawed milk well before using.
  • Freeze yogurt in a covered airtight container and use within two months.
  • For best quality, soft cheeses should be used within two to three months of freezing, and hard cheese within six months. Cut cheese into cubes or grate before freezing and place inside a heavy-duty freezer bag. Like milk, freezing cheese can impact the texture and taste, so it is best to use thawed cheese in cooked dishes such as soups, sauces and casseroles.

Learn more from Midwest Dairy Association