Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the freezer is your friend!
We’ve got a whole section of our website that’s dedicated to dishes that you can freeze, but what about individual ingredients or food items?
Some things that you can freeze may really surprise you and can really help to cut down on food waste – as well as ensuring that you always have the ingredients you need on hand!
Believe it or not, you can actually freeze milk.
Whether you choose to freeze it in an ice cube tray, or in the plastic bottle, you will need to make sure that you allow some extra space as milk expands when it freezes.
You can store milk in the freezer for up to 3 months and you should defrost it slowly in the fridge before use – make sure to give it a good shake before you use it!
We like to have some frozen milk in our freezer at all times so that we can use it to make recipes like our Toad In The Hole.
Cheese is another dairy item that can be easily frozen.
You don’t want to freeze it in one big block as this can cause it to go all crumbly, so for best results you should grate it.
Store in an airtight container or bag and it’ll be good to keep in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Butter can be frozen in the original wrapper or in a freezer bag that’s been tightly wrapped in foil.
Some chefs actually prefer to work with frozen butter as it can give dough and pastry a flakier texture!
If you’re not baking with it, then defrost overnight before using or pop into the microwave for 10 seconds to soften it up.
To make things easier, we’d suggest freezing in portions so that you’re only ever defrosting exactly what you need – it can last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
If you’re anything like us, you need to always have some eggs on hand in your kitchen.
They’re such a versatile ingredient and are perfect for when you need to whip up a quick breakfast or a light dinner.
You can freeze eggs as long as you don’t freeze them in their shells!
Crack them into an egg container or muffin tin and then once frozen, simply pop them out and store them as little blocks in a freezer bag.
You can store eggs like this for up to a year!
Beware however, as just because you can freeze eggs, it doesn’t mean that you can also freeze egg based sauces.
Things like mayo will separate and curdle if frozen, so it’s best to enjoy these fresh!
If you’ve got fresh chillies or herbs that are quickly approaching the end of their lives, then these can definitely be frozen for use at a later date.
Simply chop them up, place them in ice cube trays and then top up with water.
This method works particularly well for adding to soups or stews, as the extra water won’t affect the flavour.
Looking for ideas to create a tasty meal in a flash?
Next time you’re whipping up a saucy dinner, make a few extra portions of the sauce and then pop them into the freezer ready to defrost and add to pasta, rice or potatoes at a later date!
Of course, you can also make extra portions of the entire recipe to freeze if you’d prefer.
We particularly like to do this with recipes such as our Bolognese Risotto and our Chilli Pasta Bake – perfect for those days when you just don’t feel like cooking and want something quick and easy for dinner!
Soups are another fantastic dish to cook in batches and freeze to enjoy at a later date.
Freeze in an airtight container, making sure to be careful not to overfill the container as soup can expand when it freezes!
Defrost and then reheat in the microwave before serving alongside a chunk of crusty bread for a really quick and filling lunch.
We all know that you can freeze raw meat, but did you know that you can also freeze cooked meat?
This is a great way to make sure that none of your Sunday roast leftovers get wasted – simply slice your meat up and make sure that you’re freezing it in an airtight container or a tightly wrapped freezer bag.
When you’re ready to use your cooked meat, defrost it and use it for sandwiches or to add into another recipe.
This is also a really economical way to use up ingredients so that you can make sure that you’re wasting as little as possible.
It’s important to note that you CAN refreeze cooked meat that’s been previously frozen – but only once and do make sure that you’re reheating it thoroughly.
FRUIT AND VEG
Where fruit is concerned, it’s important to remember that many fruits have a high water content that can cause them to become much softer when it’s been defrosted than it was before freezing.
This doesn’t mean that they’re bad however, as they’ll still be absolutely delicious when used in smoothies or for cooking!
You can freeze pretty much any fruit including grapes, berries, apples and bananas.
If you’re freezing bananas please make sure that you’re peeling and slicing them up before popping them into your freezer.
Unlike fruit, vegetables with a high water content like lettuce, cucumber or radishes shouldn’t be frozen as this can cause them to go limp and mushy – and they’re not really good for anything in this state!
Things like sweetcorn, peas and broccoli all freeze particularly well, just make sure that they’re all tightly packed in order to avoid any contact with the air.
To help reduce the risk of your fruit and veg going mushy after defrosting, make sure that you blanch them first.
Pop them into boiling water briefly and then immediately plunge them into ice water to stop the cooking before freezing!
This may not come as much of a surprise to some people, but bread freezes really well which is perfect if you can never quite manage to get through an entire loaf in one go!
Freeze the entire thing, split into half or freeze in smaller portions – whatever works best for you!
Defrost if you want to use it for sandwiches or, if you prefer, you can toast directly from the freezer as well.
Make sure your bread is wrapped up really tightly in plastic wrap and then a freezer bag and it should last for around 8 months.
Garlic can last for a long time anyway if stored correctly, but if you want to freeze it then there are a couple of different options to do so.
You can freeze the entire bulb whole and peel off cloves as and when you need them, or you can also mince the garlic up, place into an ice cube tray and freeze it in a little bit of olive oil.
Once frozen, store in an airtight container and add to your dishes as and when needed!
You can find out more about the NHS guidelines around storing and freezing food here.
Please do make sure that you’re following these guidelines as they will help to ensure that you’re keeping you and your family safe.
Looking for advice and inspiration? Join us over on our Facebook Group! Our community is full of really supportive people with some fantastic tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your freezer!