When you make enough soup to feed a family for months, you can just pop it into that time capsule we call a freezer. But not every leftover can survive that deep freeze. Frozen food stored at a constant 0 degrees F will always be safe, the U.S. Department of Agriculture explains — but that doesn’t mean it will always be palatable.
Check out this list before you pop something in the freezer to avoid an icky surprise in a few weeks. And be sure to check out our guide to how long food lasts in the fridge, too.
Don’t freeze: Lettuce, cucumbers, celery, onions, sweet peppers
What happens: These veggies quickly lose their color, texture and flavor in the freezer, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
Don’t freeze: Cooked pasta or rice
What happens: No amount of marinara sauce can save the mushy mess pasta becomes in the freezer.
Don’t freeze: Icings made from egg whites; cream pies
What happens: These desserts can become a melty, watery, separated disaster when frozen.
Don’t freeze: Cheese in blocks
What happens: Frozen cheese crumbles.
Don’t freeze: Fried food
What happens: It loses its signature crispness unless you fry it again, which just adds extra fat.
Don’t freeze: Eggs
What happens: Eggs in the shell will burst and explode, while cooked egg whites become tough and rubbery.
Don’t freeze: Sour cream
What happens: It separates when frozen and thawed.
Don’t freeze: Most spices
What happens: Pepper, cloves, garlic and some herbs tend to become strong and bitter. Curry develops a musty off-flavor, and salt loses its flavor.