You probably know by now that I’m a total fan of using my freezer to help with my meal planning – whether it’s batch cooking things like tomato sauce or using ice cube trays to freeze small portions of things like wine.
Freezing food is a great way to extend the shelf life of items you use but may not use fast enough to make it economical to store fresh. I thought I’d share a few things that you can freeze because there have been a few things that I’ve discovered over the years that have literally changed the way that I’m able to save money on our family meals.
Avocados are usually seen as a use it or lose it item and they’re so expensive that you really don’t want to waste them! They have a relatively short life span but the good news is that avocado can successfully be frozen either as avocado halves or just in chunks without the skin. If you’re freezing pureed or smashed avocados for cooking things like guacamole add a dash of lemon juice to reduce browning. I would have never even thought to do this if I hadn’t seen bags of frozen avocado in the freezer section of our local supermarket.
Garlic and onions
Chopped garlic and onions are great to have ready for cooking and I hate the smell of either in the fridge so freezing them is the perfect option for me. I freeze individual garlic cloves in a little tub and take them out when I need them – they’re much easier to grate this way.
You can chop up an onion and freeze it if you (freeze on a baking tray then move to a freezer bag) or you can save all the hassle and just buy frozen chopped onion which I find works out very similar in price but without the hassle of chopping them yourself which is possibly the worst job in the kitchen.
I’ve always frozen bread and bread rolls and find it’s a perfect way to extend the life of it as we often won’t get through a loaf before it goes off. You can toast it from frozen and even make sandwiches in the frozen bread on a morning for packed lunches and by lunchtime, they’ll have thawed out perfectly.
Freezing bread is also a great way to stock up on hot dog and burger buns ready for the one hot day you want to have a BBQ when the shop has sold out of buns as everyone else has had the same idea. Our supermarket used to often have bread reduced to 1p at the end of the day so we always stocked up then.
Eggs can be frozen although you must remove them from their shell before you do! Beating them together as if making scrambled eggs is the best way to store whole eggs. When freezing eggs, you need to make sure that you seal them well to prevent them from getting a rubbery texture while they sit in the freezer as that makes them difficult to work with when you thaw them out.
If ever you have ant leftover wine then freeze it in ice cube trays to use in cooking at some point. My homemade bolognese recipe calls for red wine but not much so I use my wine ice cubes. 😉
Fresh herbs can be preserved by freezing. A great way to do this is to mix butter or olive oil with your favourite fresh herbs for cooking. Place in an ice cube tray and freeze than move to a freezer bag. These Herb cubes can be used directly from the freezer or thawed for cooking.
It’s not just ideal for freezing herbs for food though – herbs like mint and lavender can be frozen inside ice cubes to add to water to mink herbal teas.
Dairy products can be frozen to extend their lifespan. This can help you take advantage of sales to save money on food. Daily products that freeze well include cream cheese, cheese, butter, cottage cheese, milk, butter, and cream. Freezing can add up to 6 months of shelf life to your favourite dairy products so I always write the date I freeze them on a sticker on the box.
I love buying reduced price fruit and veg and then chopping it up to pop in little smoothie packs as my two are smoothie obsessed which could cost a fortune if I didn’t do this.
Leftover Sauce and Gravy
If you have have any leftover sauces then you can freeze them rather than waste the leftovers – don’t forget to label them though as it can be hard to tell what is in the container while it is frozen.
Gravy also freezes well and a good way to freeze it is actually poured over any leftover meat so when you thaw it, your meat will lovely and moist still.
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