Freezing is one of the oldest way of preserving food, The freezer is the most important part or extension of the pantry which is used to reach out for ice cubes and store much more than just raw meat, icy treats or casseroles. Freezing if done correctly, keeping some principles in mind, is one of the best ways to ensure that excess food can be store for use later. This gives the comfort of a stocked larder. Some points to keep in mind while freezing food are:
- Freeze only food you are sure is safe to be frozen and consumed later
- Cool all food before freezing
- Never refreeze after thawing
- Wrap food properly before freezing and label correctly
If these principles are followed then fruits and vegetables can be frozen for a year, poultry up to nine months, fish up to six months, and ground meat up to four months thus helping you save money.
Let’s take a look at foods that we can and should freeze:
- CORN ON THE COB: Fresh corn along with the husk and the silk can be packed into freezer bags and frozen till further use. This way it will last for almost a year. Corn can also be husked and blanched and then packed into freezer bags and frozen. This way it will eliminate the taste of the cob if you do not like it.
- RAW EGGS: Raw eggs can be stored for at least one month in the freezer but not in their shells. When whole eggs are frozen, the liquid will expand causing the egg shells to crack and seep all-over your freezer. Freeze eggs in cube trays and store in plastic freezer bags for six months. To freeze only yolks add a pinch of salt while beating them prior to freezing.
- TORTILLAS: Tortillas can be frozen to store as long as you let them thaw fully in the fridge before use.
- POTATO CHIPS: Freeze all leftover potato chips. You can eat them straight from the freezer as cold chips are crispier.
- WHIPPED CREAM: Spoon dollops of sweetened freshly whipped cream on a cookie sheet and freeze. Store in freezer containers and they will last a month or two
- GARLIC: Garlic can be frozen whole or chopped but always remember to freeze it in oil to avoid botulism. This way it can be stored for months
- HUMMUS: Hummus is a very healthy and nutrition packed treat that freezes very well. Always remember to freeze it in an airtight container with lots of Olive oil brimming at the top. This way there is no moisture loss and its stays fresh and tasty for three to four months.
- PANCAKES: Extra pancakes can be whipped and prepared and frozen to be used later. Placing wax papers between them and wrapping the stack in a foil paper, will ensure that they stay tasty even after 2 months
- FRESH LIME: Fresh lime can be frozen by cutting them to thin slices. Use wax paper between each layer of slices and freeze; ensure all seeds are removed while slicing. Lime juice can be preserved in glass containers. Ensure to leave head space for the liquid to expand.
- ONIONS: Whole onions can be saved without freezing. Chopping and dicing onions is always the most mundane chore. It would be wonderful if this could be a onetime chore and then the rest of the week you have ready to be used diced onions available. Diced onions can be saved in freezer bags. Do not thaw when required just toss them into the pan when required.
- STEEL CUT OATS: Steel cut oats can be cooked over the weekend and saved in individual glass or one portion containers to be used during the week as required.
- AVOCADOS: Avocados are not required to be saved in the freezer but they work great when stored too. Puree the flesh of the avocados with lime juice and store in freezer to be used later for smoothies, dressings or the all-time favourite guacamole.
- MUSHROOMS: Mushrooms can be saved cooked and cooled to room temperature or raw chopped and sliced. Freeze on cookie sheets to keep them separate and prevent them from clumping or crumping. Once frozen they can be transferred to freezer bags and saved.
- BREAD: Sliced bread remains for about 3 months when stored in the freezer and can be revived quickly in the toaster. This makes the freezer a better option for bread than the fridge.
- GRAINS: Grains like quinoa, farro and bulgur last for about three months outside the freezer. But when frozen they last up to six months
- GINGER: Peel and save ginger in freezer bags to be used later.
- TOMATO PASTE: Tomato paste can be frozen in small spoonful portions and saved for later use.
- HERBS: Expensive herbs can be bought when cheap, chopped and stored with olive oil in ice trays for use later.
- SHREDDED CHICKEN: Shredded chicken can be stored in batches. it is always available and handy to use
- LEFTOVERS – never throw away the leftovers from a meal or from a cooking:
COOKED RICE AND PASTA – can be frozen for a second meal later
MASHED POTATOES – can be portioned with an ice-cream scoop and frozen in freezer bags for about 2 months.
PIE – freeze remaining pie portions. These can be amazing midnight snacks or can be added to churn our yummy shakes.
FROSTING – frosting can be saved in freezer Ziploc bags in a very easy way. ?they are ready to be used anytime by just cutting away a little corner of the bag and squeezing.
This list is endless. We can still experiment and make this inexhaustible. So the next time you plan to throw away any leftovers from your cooking or excess purchases for the month, please sit back and think for a while if there is a way to freeze it and use later. Happy Freezing!