To help save time and stress at county fairs, prepare food entries early and freeze them. Most baked goods freeze well and can still be blue ribbon quality. This includes cookies, yeast and quick breads, and cakes. Here are some tips:
- Bake the product as usual. Cool completely! This helps prevent condensation inside the wrapping and development of ice crystals.
- Use moisture-vapor resistant packaging. This includes freezer-safe plastic containers or bags, heavy-duty aluminum foil, and rigid containers.
- Separate layers of cookies with wax paper or parchment paper.
- If a cake or bread is to be frosted, freeze the product only and frost after it is thawed.
- Make pie crusts ahead of time and freeze. Freezing whole prepared pies can cause the filling to soak into the crust.
- Thaw all baked goods in the freezer packaging. They can be thawed at room temperature. Remove from the freezer the night before the fair. Once thawed, repackage into the proper packaging according to your fair rules.
Source: Univ. of Georgia, https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/uga/FreezingPreparedFoods.pdf
By: Ashley Svaty