Tips For Freezing Food
For one of the easiest and most effective ways to save money on food, look no further than your freezer.
Freezing food is probably the most popular and familiar way to preserve food. When food freezes, the water inside of it crystallizes, thus slowing the oxidation process.
While some quality is lost when certain foods are frozen, the benefits greatly outnumber the drawbacks.
I hope you will learn something new about freezing food in the information below. As always, feel free to add your own comments and suggestions below.
Using Your Freezer To Save Money on Food
- Freeze meals for later consumption – Consider doubling or tripling a recipe and freezing meal-sized portions. It is often cheaper per serving to make a larger amount of food.
- Freeze leftovers – Avoid tossing out leftovers. Save them to use in another dish, or simply reheat and eat.
- Freeze vegetable scraps to make broth – The next time you make soup or another vegetable-heavy dish, throw the scraps in a bag in the freezer. Keep collecting until you have enough to make a pot of vegetable broth.
Freezer Tips: How to Avoid Freezer Burn
Freezer burn pretty much ruins food in terms of flavor and texture. So if you can learn how to avoid freezer burn, you can save not only your food, but also money over time.
Here are some tips to avoid freezer burn:
- Choose the right packaging – It’s worth investing in high-quality food storage containers that are specially made for freezer use. Flimsy plastic sandwich bags aren’t going to cut it. Look for tempered glass storage containers with secure lids and moisture-proof and vapor-proof plastic wrap.
- Double-up on wrapping – Certain foods – especially meats – should first be wrapped in foil and then in a bag or other storage container.
- Remove air from your freezer packaging – Freezer burn is caused by air coming in contact with food and drying it out. So try to remove as much of the excess air from your freezer containers as possible. If you’re using freezer bags, squeeze the air out. If you’re using a glass or plastic storage container, choose one that is appropriately sized for the amount of food you have.
- Label and date your freezer foods – Even with thorough freezer prepping and careful packaging, your food isn’t going to last forever stored in your freezer. Remember to label your containers, noting what food is stored and the date you put it in the freezer. This will help you keep track of the age of your food and avoid having mystery items in your freezer.
- Freeze fresh food – If possible, freeze produce at its peak freshness. Some fruits and vegetables taste just as good frozen as they do fresh. Avoiding freezing fruits and vegetables that are getting old (with the exception of bananas, which can be used later for banana bread and other baked goods).
Foods That Freeze Well
- Liquids – Liquids (including soups, broths, tomato sauce, buttermilk, coconut milk, coffee, and fruit juice) freeze extremely well. Empty liquids into a freezer bag, press out excess air, and lay flat in your freezer. Once frozen, these bags can be stored in an upright position, stacked side-by-side.
- Vegetables – If you find a good deal on vegetables, purchase them, cut them up, and place them in small freezer storage bags. Onions, peppers, green beans, carrots, celery, peas, and corn all freeze well.
- Tomatoes – To freeze tomatoes, wash and dry them, and place in a single layer in a plastic freezer bag. Take them out as you need them to use in chili, pasta sauce, and other cooked tomato dishes.
- Tomato sauce – If you have extra tomato sauce, either place in a plastic bag and lay flat in the freezer, or pour into an ice cube tray to freeze, then pop them out as needed.
- Cookie dough – Form cookie dough into balls and freeze. Take them out and bake one cookie or the whole batch.
- Butter – Butter has a tendency to take on the taste and smell of other foods relatively quickly in the freezer. To avoid, store butter sticks in a thick plastic storage bag when freezing. When ready to use, allow the butter to come to room temperature so it softens.
- Shredded cheese – Shredded cheese freezes well and thaws quickly. Take out as much as you need, reseal the bag, and refreeze.
- Bread – Freezing bread within a day or so of being baked preserves its freshness. If you don’t eat a lot of bread, freezing it is ideal. You can take it out piece-by-piece as needed. Allow the bread to thaw and use as you normally would – or pop it right in the toaster oven.
- Breadcrumbs – Instead of tossing out old bread, allow it to sit out on the counter and dry, crumble to make breadcrumbs, and freeze.
- Rice – When you make extra rice, allow it to cool and place in the freezer for future use.
- Beans – Beans of all kinds freeze extremely well. Whenever I have a few beans leftover, I put them in a plastic bag in the freezer. When I have more beans on hand, I keep adding to it. I usually end up using the mixed bag of beans in chili.
- Meats – For optimal taste and texture, store raw or cooked frozen meats no longer than three or four months in the freezer.
- Bananas – When bananas are very ripe and brown, place them in freezer. You can use these later to make banana bread or other baked goods.
- Apple cider: Freeze apple cider in plastic popsicle bags to make delicious, refreshing treats.
- Citrus zest – Before you toss out lemon, lime, or orange peel, zest and store in small plastic storage bags.
- Fresh herbs – Fresh dill, parsley, chives, and other herbs have a short shelf life. Freeze them in small storage bags and use as needed.
- Ginger root – Store ginger in the freezer grated or whole, wrapped tightly.
If you have additional tips on freezing food, please share them below! I may add your suggestions to this or a future blog post about cheap recipes or money-saving tips.