30 Foods You Probably Didn’t Even Know You Could Freeze
Every savvy shopper knows you should buy in bulk when food items are on sale and find ways to preserve them until needed. While canning, pickling, and dehydrating foods all have their uses and merits, there is a much simpler way to preserve many foods, even prepared foods, for a rainy day. Simply put, pop them in the freezer!
While that seems like a no-brainer for some things, I had no idea until recently just how many foods could be frozen and refreshed. Following is a breakdown of 31 money and time-saving food storage solutions:
Pancakes, Waffles, & French Toast
The next time you whip up a huge batch of any of these breakfast breads, freeze the extras on a cookie sheet and then simply put them in a freezer bag. They can easily be reheated in a microwave, toaster, or toaster oven for quick and delicious breakfasts.
The next time you cook a big batch of rice, spread the extra on a cookie sheet covered with freezer paper and freeze. When the rice is frozen, just put it in containers or freezer bags for quick and easy rice for your next casserole, soup, or side dish. This is an especially nice time-savor for brown rice that can take a long time to cook.
Place your favorite meat in a freezer bag, add marinade, and freeze. Voila! When you are ready to use, just thaw the meat which will be fully marinated and ready to cook.
Freezing is a great way to preserve corn on the cob. Without removing the silk or husk, just pop ears of corn straight into the freezer. When you’d like fresh corn on the cob, just pop it into the microwave the same way. For a single cob, just cook 4 minutes on high or up that to 5 minutes for two ears. The silk and husk will naturally trap steam and help the corn cook as fresh as the day it was picked!
Whole blocks of cheese can be frozen without becoming crumbly if you allow them to thaw completely before refrigerating. Shredded cheese can also be frozen and won’t be clumpy upon thawing if you simply shake in a spoonful of cornstarch or flour before freezing.
Try oven-roasting Roma tomatoes with a drizzle of olive oil, some fresh herbs, and garlic at 224 degrees for about 4-5 hours. Allow them to cool then transfer to freezer bags for tasty additions to your next chili or homemade tomato sauces.
The next time you make pasta, feel free to cook the whole package and freeze leftovers for use in soups and casseroles. Just put cooked pasta in a bag and squeeze out excess air. To reheat simply run under hot water for a few minutes.
Flour and Other Grains
You can control insect activity by freezing flour and grains for long-term storage. Just freeze for a few days before putting in the cupboard. You can also store grains in the freezer, but for best results, you should double wrap the bags to limit condensation and the soaking up of other smells within the freezer.
Fresh made (or purchased) pesto can be frozen conveniently in ice cube trays. Once frozen, take the cubes out and pop them in a freezer bag for a neat and convenient portion of pesto the next time you want some.
You can save extra mashed potatoes for 2 months or more by simply scooping them onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze until hard then transfer into a freezer bag.
The best way to freeze fruit is by first spreading them out on a cookie sheet covered with freezer paper and freezing them before bagging. That way the fruits will remain frozen individually and will be easier to remove the amount you next need. This method works great for apple wedges, peaches, pears, bananas, chunks of melon, pretty much any kind of fruit.
To preserve whole bananas for baking, simply freeze them with the skin on, and when needed for a recipe, just pull out what you need, microwave for a few seconds, then cut off the top and squeeze the contents into your mixing bowl.
Make an extra big batch of dough the next time you’re baking cookies. Spoon the extra dough onto a lined cookie sheet and freeze. When solid, put the dough balls into a freezer bag so the next time you want cookies all you have to do is put the balls on a sheet and bake. They will just need an extra minute or two of cook time compared to fresh dough.
Soups and Chili
Leftover soup and chili should be cooled and then transferred to a freezer-friendly container. Leave a little extra space at the top of the container to allow expansion during freezing. For best reheating results, move the container to the fridge to thaw the night before you want to use it, then reheat and enjoy!
Broth and Stock Mixes
By keeping a large empty freezer bag handy, you can preserve and utilize leftover veggie pieces like onion peels, celery stalks, carrot shavings, etc. When the bag starts getting full, use these trimmings to make up a fresh batch of vegetable stock which can also be frozen for future use.
Pan drippings and meat juices from cooking things like chicken can also be preserved in this way and make a wonderful additive to future soups and recipes.
If you love to bake pies in the fall, you can easily store extras to enjoy throughout the year! Just wrap them with freezer paper and put in a freezer bag until the next time you want a fresh pie. To reheat simply pop in a 200 degree oven for 2 hours.
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