What foods can you freeze?
You work hard to get the best deals on your groceries. So when things in your refrigerator go bad, it’s almost heart-breaking to have to throw them away. There are a lot of products that you may not know you can freeze to keep fresh and longer! Another advantage of freezing is that it’s a time saver. Cook your rice, mashed potatoes and more. Freeze them, and thaw out for a quick meal fix! Here are some foods you can freeze:
If you don’t have a herb garden, it can be expensive and wasteful to buy packages of herbs at the store. Freeze them for long lasting freshness. Once you get them home make sure to wash and shake off any excess water.
For herbs like cilantro and parsley you can keep them standing in a cup of shallow water in the refrigerator. I like to use the bottom half of plastic water bottles before recycling them. For other herbs like rosemary or sage, puncture some holes into a plastic bag. Then simply wrap them in a moist paper towel, and place them in your freezer.
Alternatively, you can pull the herbs off the stalks and chop them up. Take an ice cube tray and fill it with your cut herbs. I love this Elbee Ice Cube Tray. Cover the herbs with water or stock and freeze. Because the appearance is compromised by the freezing process, you’ll want to use them differently. Soups and sauces are perfect for this method. Here’s a fun tip – instead of water, use stock! That way, when you toss them in your stews, crock pot, soups and more, you’ll be adding even more flavor!
Fresh ginger should be peeled and wrapped tightly before freezing. When you’re ready to use it, grate and slice away. Be sure you wrap it up really well before re-freezing.
You can also use those minty ice cubes in teas and alcoholic beverages!
When eggs are 99¢ per dozen or less, I definitely want to stock up. But how many eggs can you really use and eat before they expire?
Just crack them into a bowl, pour into a freezer bag or airtight container and freeze! You can also use ice cube trays – just crack the eggs into the sections, stir them up a little, and freeze! These will defrost and work wonderfully for baking or eating as you normally would!
Do you have a big family dinner to prepare? Make your mashed potatoes as you normally would, the day before. Then, let them cool to room temperature. Scoop out single portions onto a parchment lined cookie sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, you can put those portions in bigger freezer bags and keep for up to 2 months! What a time saver! When you see potatoes on sale for 78¢/5 lb bag, THAT is the time to stock-up and freeze!
There are so many dairy products on the market now. Wouldn’t it be great to stock up on inexpensive milk and butter? Now, you can, without worrying about them expiring before you use them.
- Cheese – You can throw your bricks of cheese into the freezer, as they are (in the plastic wrap), but be warned that the consistency will be altered. If you let it thaw completely before putting it in the refrigerator, this might not be the case, though. I suggest shredding or slicing before freezing. If you shred it, throw in a little cornstarch or flour and shake it around in the bag, before freezing. This will help it to not clump when it defrosts. If you slice it up, make sure to add a divider like wax paper, in between each slice. When a 2-lb block of cheese is $4.99 (my stockpile price), you’ll be able to stock up and save it by freezing!
- Coffee Creamer – Most coffee creamers are actually dairy-free. You see them in the refrigerator section at the grocery store, but it’s not necessary. If you want to freeze coffee creamer, go for it. Just be sure you thaw it out and give it a GOOD SHAKING before using!
- Cream Cheese – Freeze and thaw before eating or using. It’s pretty sturdy and doesn’t have much of noticeable change.
- Butter – Freeze and thaw. Just like cream cheese, the consistency and taste aren’t altered much.
- Milk – This one you will hear some mixed opinions about freezing. I say YES! When you do freeze it, the milk fat will separate and will look… weird, for lack of a better word. Don’t worry, that’s normal. After you thaw it, give it a good shake to distribute the fat particles. I have used it for cooking, eating, and drinking after being frozen. You will also want to be sure you leave some room at the top of the container you freeze, to allow for expansion.
I haven’t met a bread we couldn’t freeze. With 2 kids, stocking up on bread is essential in my house. Freeze loaves, rolls, buns, whole, sliced, biscuits, muffins, cakes… Just remember that packaging is super important. You want to keep as much of the air out of the package, as possible. If you have a FoodSaver, just freeze your breads until they are solid, take them back out, place in your special bag and vacuum seal like normal. If you don’t have a vacuum sealer, simply suck the air out of the bags with your mouth. Get all that air out. Then, thaw out your bread and use as you normally would.
The next time you make homemade pancakes, french toast or waffles, consider making some extra batches. You can freeze these on a cookie sheet, then throw them in airtight bags to thaw out and microwave later. This is a great tip, when time isn’t on your side in the morning.
Fruits! They are awesome in smoothies, yogurt, baked goods, pancakes and SO much more. Why waste fruit before you can use it? You can freeze your fruit to help it last longer. Items like berries and pineapple will freeze better by placing them on wax paper on a cookie sheet. After they are frozen, place in baggies – and you can pick your portion. For bananas, just keep the skin on and toss it in the freezer.
Get the most out of your citrus. Zest oranges, lemons, grapefruit, limes and mandarin. Place the zest in a freezer bag. This will last a long time in your freezer. You can also use ice cub trays to freeze the juice.
Salty snacks are easy to freeze. When chips, crackers and cookies are on sale, stock up and freeze them. Life gets busy, so when Super Bowl weekend, New Year’s Eve, the holidays, the beginning of school and parties pop up, you’ll be ready. You can throw those bags as they are, in your freezer to keep them fresh! No need to thaw, because they’ll be even crispier frozen! This is also a great tip for stale chips and crackers. You can freeze them, and they will taste fresher.
Nuts can also be stored in an airtight container or plastic bag for up to 6 months in your freezer.
Rice, Soup, Chili & Stew
Cook your rice and freeze it. Simply spread it out on a parchment covered cookie tray. Freeze until it’s solid, then store in airtight freezer bags. When you need it, just thaw and re-heat.
Soups, chili and stews can also be frozen. What a great way to keep your leftovers from going bad! Just place them in airtight containers, and leave a bit of room at the top. When you’re ready, reheat and enjoy!
When you have a little leftover wine in the bottle, pour it into ice cube trays and freeze. You won’t be able to drink it, but it’s AWESOME for cooking!
Cook your pasta, and freeze in an airtight bag. Reuse it by running warm water over the bag to thaw out. Re-heat it by placing it in the microwave, and voila, you have pasta ready to eat. Can you freeze the sauces, too? Absolutely. Airtight containers and ice cube trays work well for this.
Corn is awesome for BBQs and cookouts. When it’s on sale, grab that deal! You’ll be able to freeze it for later. Put the ears in the freezer, still in the husk, then microwave for about 5 minutes for perfect corn!
Here’s a nice tip for after school treats. When you don’t have the time during the week, make cookie dough on the weekend, and freeze it. Make your dough like normal, then freeze in bags OR roll into a “log” for easy “slice and bake” cookies later!
When you have a new bottle or carton, pour a bit into ice cube trays to freeze for sauces, cooking and baking. Tighten the cap or close the container, and freeze. You need that extra room at the top, because the liquid will expand in the freezer.
Save time and money from now on with these awesome tips on what you can freeze. Your perishables will last longer, and you’ll be able to stock up when sales hit the stores.