In the first two posts in this series, we talked about dairy items and fresh produce that can be frozen. Yoghurt and onions might have been a bit of a surprise for you but this post is where we’re going to get really radial, and random, and reckless!
Foods You Didn’t Know You Could Freeze – Surprise Items!
Let’s dive in and discover some surprising foods you can freeze, to save time and money and also reduce waste.
How to Freeze Chips
Have you ever ordered way too many chips from the chippy, and felt sad and guilty about putting them in the bin? You can open freeze them, then bag them. Then next time you fancy some chips, you can reheat them from frozen, for around 10-15 minutes in the oven. No more waste and an extra take away experience!
To make home-made chips for the freezer, you can peel and chip the potatoes as normal then parboil, open freeze and bag for later. This is a great way to rescue any potatoes you may have in the fridge which need using up.
How to Freeze Pasta Sauce
Pasta sauce is really easy to freeze and is a great thing to batch cook for easy meals from your freezer. You should let the sauce cool completely before you freeze it. Putting food into the freezer which is still hot will put a lot of pressure on the freezer to return to the right temperature, and this can reduce its lifespan.
You could use these Pour and Store containers for efficient storage of sauces in your freezer. They’re also a great option for freezing homemade soup. Soups and sauces are a brilliant way to “hide” vegetables from small children too!
How to Freeze Herbs
Fresh herbs don’t last long in the fridge, and often there’s some left over if you’ve bought some for a specific recipe. All too often, they can moulder away in the bottom of the fridge and end up in the compost bin.
But there is another way. Herbs can be frozen to be used at a later date. There are multiple different methods, including chopping and bagging or mixing with oil or water and freezing in ice cube trays. It’s probably a case of experimenting and seeing what works for you. Some texture will definitely be lost in the freezing and defrosting process, but the flavour can be maintained and waste reduced.
How to Freeze Flour
Flour can be much cheaper to buy in bulk, but it can go rancid if stored for too long, or succumb to the dreaded weevils. Freezing flour actually kills weevil eggs, so some people recommended freezing flour for 48 hours after purchase even if you intend to use it fairly soon.
But you can also freeze flour to prolong its life. Just make sure it’s in an airtight container and properly labelled. You don’t want to confuse self-raising flour for plain or bread flour, or your recipes could go quite badly wrong!
How to Freeze Rice and Pasta
To save time by having meals fully prepped and available in the freezer, you can actually batch cook pasta and rice and freeze them in whatever portion sizes you like, to use later. Some people find the texture of defrosted and reheated pasta unpleasant, but you can rectify this by cooking it for a couple of minutes less than it says on the packet before freezing. This can prevent that sogginess on reheating which some people experience.
With rice, there is a risk of food poisoning if it’s left at room temperature for too long, so after cooking you should cool it rapidly and place in an airtight container then freeze. On reheating, ensure it is piping hot throughout.
How To Freeze Avocados
Avocadoes are one of the greatest food trends of the 21st century. If you search for #avocado on Instagram, you will get over 8 million hits, and the avocado had the third-highest growth of any consumable product in the UK in 2017.
But they’re pretty expensive, so you don’t want to waste any! You can cut them in half and freeze in portions (you might want to peel them first), or you can freeze mashed or pureed avocado in zip-lock bags, for that perfect Sunday morning smashed-avo-on-toast combo.
How to Freeze Mashed Potatoes
This is a controversial one. Some people find reheated mashed potato watery and unappetising, but others cook it in huge batches and find it a convenient way to prep and meal plan.
You should wait until it has cooled completely, then freeze in airtight tubs. You can even use an ice cream scoop to portion out the right amount and open freeze then bag the scooped out portions. Some people prefer to add milk or butter when reheating, rather than before freezing, as this can help to retain some of the texture of fresh mash. Try it and see what you think!
How to Freeze Cake (and icing!)
Finally, let’s talk about cake! Now, left-over cake is no a common thing in many houses (much like leftover wine…), but it’s feasible that after a big party you could have a glut of cake that you want to freeze to enjoy at a later date. Or you might be super organized and want to batch bake cakes for handy future treats.
The best method is to allow the cake to completely cool, then double wrap it, either using cling film or foil or specialist food wrap. Some people like to do a double layer of wrapping to really lock in the freshness. Then you can place the cake bundle inside an airtight container and pop in the freezer. The same approach applies for slices of leftover cake too.
Make sure you write somewhere on the container the cake and the date of freezing. Most baking experts advise that cake shouldn’t be kept in the freezer for more than three months, without freshness and texture deteriorating. Decorated cakes don’t freeze very well, but you can make icing ahead of time and freeze, then decorate your cake once the icing has defrosted. It may need a little warm water adding to loosen up before icing though.
Surprise Foods to Stock in Your Freezer
We’ve come to the end of the series now on foods you didn’t know you could freeze. I hope you now feel inspired to experiment with batching and preparing a wide variety of food for your freezer, to reduce waste and save time and money.
You should always label and date everything you freeze, so you can keep track of what needs using up first. We will look at how to organise and look after your freezer in another post soon, and also turn our attention to that other crucial kitchen appliance, the fridge!