I heavily rely on the freezer to make my life infinitely easier when it comes to cooking. It is extremely helpful to have a deep freeze or standing freezer in addition to the one that comes with fridges, but you can make it work either way.
FREEZE YOUR CHEESE
- If your cheddar and marble bricks are on sale and you love cheese, get some, get as much as you want/can afford. The freezer will protect your cheese. I haven’t tried this with soft cheese like mozza, ricotta, etc. but brick cheese has been self-tested and it works great
- Freezing will change the texture. Take a couple minutes to pre-slice the cheese to your desired thickness for sandwiches and freeze them in baggies. You don’t have to do this if you don’t have time, but it’ll save you work later.
- When your cheese thaws it will taste the same, but will be more prone to crumbling. This isn’t a bad thing, especially if you ever need grated cheese. You can easily hand crumble the slices over your food.
FREEZE YOUR ONIONS
- I always have onions on hand because I use them in a ton of dishes. When I have a few minutes I will dice up a few, pop them in baggies and toss them in the freezer.
- Freezing will change the texture and take away the crispness, but that doesn’t matter if they’re going to be cooked, such as in soups or sauces. It’s only an issue if you need fresh onion for something that’s staying cold. I’ve had it in tuna salad, etc. and it doesn’t bother me at all that it doesn’t have the crisp, so it’s up to you if you also want to have a fresh one on hand for that sort of thing.
- Other veggies that I do this with (buy fresh, prepare and freeze myself) is celery, bok choy, zucchini, tomatoes and green onions
SAVE YOUR FRUIT
- If you love fruit in the summer, but end up buying too much to keep up with, pop those babies in the freezer. As soon as you think it might be turning, slice it up, bag it and freeze for smoothies, milkshakes, sauces and fillings
- I do buy frozen fruit separately, but this tip is just specifically to save fresh fruit I won’t manage to eat in time. If fresh fruit happens to be cheaper than frozen fruit, then by all means buy up a storm, eat your fill and freeze the rest
- This also applies to bananas that are getting a little brown and squishy. You can save them for banana bread or “ice cream” made from frozen bananas.
- These can be cheaper and more nutritious than fresh and canned options.
- They are way less effort than fresh veg
- They cook really fast too. Ex. frozen broccoli on a plate in the microwave will be nom ready in like 2 minutes. I love it it topped with some cheddar cheese for a snack
- Some staples that I use for a ton of recipes are frozen broccoli, cauliflower, chopped spinach/kale (as opposed to just the full leaves), peas and cabbage. I’ll be providing recipes that use pretty much all of these.
FREEZE YOUR DELI MEAT
- If you love sandwiches and your fave deli meat is on sale, you can safely stock up, the freezer has your back. You never have to worry about your meat going bad in the fridge if you end up not being able to eat it immediately.
- I usually put a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper between the slices, bag them up and pop in the freezer. Then I can remove one slice at a time, microwave it for 30 second and it’s ready to go for my sandwich.
FREEZE YOUR BREAD
- We freeze pretty much all our bread. We buy on sale, keep one fresh loaf out and everything else is frozen. You can either thaw out the entire loaf at once, or pry out slices as needed.
- Pro-tip, don’t try to pry apart half-thawed bread. It probably won’t go well lol. The center will be frozen and the rest will be soft, leading to some very mangled bread
FREEZE YOUR TREATS
- Cake can be frozen, even if it has icing. Muffins, sweet breads, baklava, cookies, etc. I have not yet met a starchy dessert that is ruined by the freezer. You can thaw it in the fridge overnight or if you’re impatient like me, on a plate next to your laptop’s hot air vent
FREEZE YOUR BUTTER
- I buy butter on sale in large quantities. I have Ziploc containers that perfectly fit ¼ of a brick of butter so I’ll slice the brick into 4 sticks, container them up, keep 1 out for use and the rest get frozen.
- Take out a new frozen stick when you’re running low on the current stick and you never have to worry about your butter going bad on the counter and it’ll always be soft for use.
- You can pre-slice all your bricks if you get more than one and bag the sticks, or if you have enough containers, use those.
FREEZE YOUR HERBS
- If you don’t have space to grow your own herbs, then if you need them, chances are you’re buying them in a bunch at the store. What do you do with all the extra? Wash, dry, chop and freeze. Grab a sprinkle out whenever you need. It’s not quite as delicious as fresh, but works so you don’t lose your fresh herbs
- This also works for green onions
ASSORTED THINGS YOU CAN FREEZE
- BAKED POTATOES. They’re easy to make in bulk for only a couple minutes more work than making what you need that day. They’ll thaw just fine and be delicious with butter. You can also do this with restaurant ones – I buy the plain baked potatoes from Wendy’s sometimes and pop them in the freezer, then microwave it up whenever I’m craving baked potatoes
- Leftover drinks – COFFEE can be frozen for iced coffee, WINE for cooking recipes or chilling wine at a later time
- CRANBERRY SAUCE. This is used a lot at Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you have leftovers, it’ll freeze perfectly well to be there for the next holiday
- SAUCES that come with packaged meals, sauces you make yourself (unless they’re cream based), etc can all be frozen for later use. We have packets of bbq sauce, hot sauce and curry hanging out in our freezer for whenever we end up needing it
- GINGER can be peeled, sliced and frozen so you don’t end up abandoning 90% of the ginger root you just bought, but only need a tiny amount of.
- GARLIC same as above. If you like the ease of the squeeze tubes of garlic, ginger, etc but you’re getting close to the expiration date, squeeze out portions onto some waxed/parchment paper and freeze, then bag them for later use
- GRAINS. Rice, lentils, whatever you want. Pre-cook it, let it cool, bag it and toss it in the freezer so you have the options without the wait.
That’s all I’ve got for you today! I hope some of this is helpful for you ^_^