I like to cook in big batches. Another thing we do to keep costs down is to buy in-season foods and freeze them. Surprisingly, a lot of foods are freezer-friendly and keep well when stored in zip lock bags. I also always re-use the same bags. I haven’t bought new ones in a long time as a result. So without further ado, here’s a quick list of freezer-friendly foods:
- Fresh Herbs – Believe it or not, fresh herbs freeze very well. Just spread all your herbs onto a lined baking sheet side by side. After they are all frozen, pull them off the sheet and store in a zip lock bag.
- Baked Goods – This is one I do all the time. I make a double batch and freeze one. I store my muffins, donuts, waffles and pancakes in freezer-safe containers or zip lock bags. I just make sure to separate them with a sheet of parchment. It’s also a good idea to let them completely cool out of the oven before putting them in the freezer. This way they don’t steam in their container as they cool.
- Fresh Fruits – These work just like the herbs. Wash, cut, and line them up side by side on a lined baking sheet. Once they are frozen, place them in a bag or freezer safe container.
- Vegetable Scraps - Save those odds and end from cutting veggies! You can use them to easily make a homemade broth. There is never a reason to buy broth when you can make it cheaper.
- Citrus Rinds – Yes you can freeze your rinds. Don’t discard them. If you have a recipe that calls for zest, they can be used without having to buy more fruit. Just store them in a freezer-safe container or zip lock bag.
- Rice - Cook a batch of rice and spread it out on a baking sheet to freeze, once frozen, you can transfer it to a container to store. I love doing this with wild rice since it takes so long to cook. I love to use mine in stir fries.
- Pesto or Tomato Sauce - I usually make these and freeze in serving size containers. That way, you don’t need to thaw a huge amount at once. You can also freeze individual serving size portions in a ice tray.
- Cookie Dough - Make a batch of your favorite cookie dough and spoon it out onto a baking sheet. Freeze and then throw into a zip lock bag. So when you have a cookie craving, you can just bake a few. I let mine thaw out slightly on the counter before baking.
- Ketchup – If you are like me and only use ketchup on occasion, you can freeze most of it. Spoon the ketchup into ice trays and freeze so you can easily pop some out when needed. When it is time to warm it back up, just put the container under some hot water. You run the risk of burning it if you try to thaw it out in the microwave, plus it will lose its freshness.
- Ginger - Trim and peel ginger into 1 inch pieces. Wrap them in plastic and store them in a bag in the freezer. They should be used within 3 months or thrown away. Thaw them out on the counter before using. We do this with the ginger we use for homemade juices.
- Nuts - Store nuts in an air tight container and freeze. Pull them out to thaw before using. They should be used within 6 months for best quality.
- Tomato Paste – Spoon the paste into ice trays and freeze. Just pop one out when you need it. When we make spaghetti sauce, we pull our frozen tomato paste out, add some water to a sauce pan, and let the nice warm bath do its trick. The paste should last about 6 months.
- Bread – We are not big bread eaters in our house, so when we buy a loaf, we usually store it in the freezer. Just pop a slice out when you need it and stick it in the toaster. Bread should last about 6 months in the freezer. In addition to bread, save bread scraps and heels in a bag in the freezer. They can easily be made into healthy breadcrumbs.
- Wine – Ever open a bottle of wine and not finish it? Instead of pouring it out, freeze it in ice cube trays. It will not be fit for drinking, but you can use it in cooking, and we all know wine is a great way to take your creative kitchen experiments from ordinary to gourmet.
- Fresh Squeezed Juice - If you don’t drink juice often, juice an orange or an apple and freeze the juice in ice trays. Stick a popsicle stick in it and give it to your kids too. They will love that they are getting a tasty treat.
This is my list of foods that freeze, but I’m sure there are other things that freeze that I didn’t mention. What do you like to freeze? Feel free to add them in the comments!