Freezing foods for later consumption seems like a pretty mundane subject, I know. However, once you're out on your own, knowing what you can save, stockpile, and preserve is kind of important. In addition to freezing a variety of fruits and vegetables, there are so many great foods and drinks you can keep fresh in the freezer. Saves time, saves money, saves hassle -- what could be better?
Table of contents:
- 1. Aw, Nuts
- 2. Herbs
- 3. Pesto
- 4. The Glory That is Bacon
- 5. Ginger
- 6. Butter
- 7. Open Wine
- 8. Eggs Freeze Forever
- 9. Ripe Bananas
- 10. Tomato Sauce
- 11. Grapes
- 12. Stick Your Milk in the Deep Freeze
- 13. You Can Freeze Cookies, Omg!
- 14. So, Cookie Dough, Too, of Course
- 15. Bread
- 16. Cook Your Pasta, then Freeze It
- 17. Do the Same with Your Favorite Grains
- 18. Save Your Brown Rice
- 19. Coffee
- 20. Citrus Juices
- 21. Maple Syrup Forever
- 22. Shredded Cheese, Please
1 Aw, Nuts
Freezing nuts is A-OK. That's great news, since buying nuts is one thing and actually eating all of them is another. They're so good and so filling but so fattening, too, and it's way too easy to let them go bad while you're just trying to enjoy them in moderation. They go rancid pretty fast anyway, given their oil content. You can freeze pretty much any nut – peanut, pecan, macadamia nut, cashew, walnut, hazelnut, almond – as long as you wrap the nuts tightly in plastic, then place them in a freezer bag. You can freeze nut flours, too.
Keep your fresh herbs aromatic and delicious by freezing them in between uses. Chop up your herbs, then grab some ice cube trays and fill each tray about halfway full of herbs. Pour in some extra virgin olive oil, wrap the ice cube trays in plastic wrap, and freeze them overnight. The next day, remove the herb cubes, store them in freezer bags, and thaw a few when you need them. To thaw, you simply pop a few cubes in a pan and put it on low heat or throw the cubes in with a pot of soup or stew.
Pesto freezes exactly the same way fresh herbs do. Just freeze the sauce in ice cube trays, then put the cubes in a freezer bag.
4 The Glory That is Bacon
If you don't know this already, you can thank me later because you're about to be able to enjoy a lot more bacon. Bacon freezes beautifully and it lasts forever. It also thaws quickly just left at room temperature. Great tip? When you buy a pack of bacon, open it, and wrap up individual slices or a portion's worth, then store the bacon in freezer bags.
Enjoy the ease of working with frozen ginger, as well as the benefit of saving it. Wrap up an entire, unpeeled piece of ginger in plastic, put it in a freezer bag, and pop it in the freezer. When you want to use it, you don't even have to wait for it to thaw.
Love butter? Love buying big bricks of fresh butter? Worry about letting too much go to waste? Tired of all these questions? No problem! Butter also freezes beautifully. Store extra sticks in the freezer, right in its original packaging, but wrap it tightly in plastic. When you're running low, toss a stick in the fridge.
7 Open Wine
Wow. Game changer. If you have a bottle of wine you can't finish, freeze it in ice cube trays (I think ice cube trays are maybe the most underrated fridge/freezer accessory, you guys) and then put the cubes into freezer bags. Like chilled wine? Place a wine cube in your glass. Oh, the cubes are also pretty handy for cooking, actually.
8 Eggs Freeze Forever
Not literally forever, but they'll freeze for a year. A YEAR. That is awesome. You just thaw them in the fridge overnight or you can run them under cold water. It's also possible to crack them into freezer bags or freezer safe containers, and mix them with salt or sugar – labeling them clearly, of course – because then you can use them for savory or sweet dishes when you thaw them.
9 Ripe Bananas
I did not know this and now I am so glad I do because my beautiful wife buys bananas all the time and they almost always go over before she finishes them. You can salvage super ripe bananas by putting them in freezer bags, squeezing out all the air you possibly can, and arranging the bananas so they aren't sticking to each other. You can keep them frozen if you use them in smoothies, or set them out and let them thaw at room temperature for an hour or so.
10 Tomato Sauce
Ice cube trays, y'all. You can also save open cans of tomato paste if you simply didn't need the entire can. Drop dollops on a cookie sheet and freeze them or put them in ice cube trays and add a little water, then transfer your dollops or cubes into freezer bags.
Grapes are the best when they're frozen! They keep forever, they're delicious to eat on hot summer days, and they taste just as delicious when they thaw.
12 Stick Your Milk in the Deep Freeze
Milk, buttermilk, half and half, heavy cream – dairy does really well in the freezer, which is perfect when you accidentally buy another jug but you still have half of a current one (that's about to go bad, probably). Some sources say you can keep it in the jug and stick it in the freezer, but that gets a little messy when it thaws. It's a bit of a hassle, but pour your dairy into a freezer safe container and make sure it's tightly sealed. Leave a little space, too, don't fill it all the way to the top. You can also try the ice cube trick if you tend to just use a little bit of milk at a time. If you keep your milk in a container, you can rinse out the jug and save it, then return the milk to it when it thaws. To thaw, by the way, just stick it in the fridge.
13 You Can Freeze Cookies, Omg!
I didn't know this! I mean, I know you can freeze the dough, but I didn't know you can freeze them after they're baked! Let them cool down, wrap them up in plastic wrap, and put them in freezer bags. You just thaw them in the fridge – or try them frozen. I haven't tried them frozen. I hate to try them frozen. I have to make cookies and freeze them!
14 So, Cookie Dough, Too, of Course
Just in case you didn't know about this one, you can freeze your cookie dough in a ball, a log, dollops, ice cube trays – and just bake it when you're ready! Or leave out the eggs and enjoy it frozen. Mmm …
Who knew? Well, probably a bunch of you did – but I didn't! It makes sense now, though, given the cookie thing. My beautiful wife also buys a lot of bread and never eats it, so this is likewise helpful. You can freeze homemade bread or store bought loaves, just wrap them tightly in plastic (for homemade bread, wait until it's entirely cool), then put them in freezer bags. When thawing, toast it a bit to restore the flavor and texture.
16 Cook Your Pasta, then Freeze It
Oh, awesome! If you know you're going to have leftovers, cook your pasta until it's just al dente, then freeze it – sans sauce – in freezer safe containers. When you're ready to serve it, you can microwave it by itself or with a little butter, you can microwave it with leftover sauce, or you can add it to sauce simmering on the stove.
17 Do the Same with Your Favorite Grains
This works with quinoa, rice, and similar grains. Cook it up, let it cool down, then put the leftovers in freezer bags. Pour it into a bowl and pop it in the microwave when you're ready to enjoy it, or simply heat it on the stovetop with some water or stock.
18 Save Your Brown Rice
Brown rice is oilier than white rice, so it goes bad faster. You can also freeze it, however, and you don't even have to cook it first. Freeze it in a freezer safe bag or container and it'll keep for a few months.
This is fantastic, especially if you spot a sale on your favorite brew! In addition to storing extra containers in the freezer, you can freeze brewed coffee into ice cubes and thaw it or add some extra caffeine to a steaming hot cup.
20 Citrus Juices
Again, ice cube trays!
21 Maple Syrup Forever
Maple syrup pretty much does last forever in the freezer – but it has to be 100 percent pure maple syrup, no fakes! Just put it in the freezer. Let it thaw at room temperature when you're ready for all that sweetness.
22 Shredded Cheese, Please
You frequently have leftover shredded cheese, right? Then you leave it in the fridge, it gets moldy, and the next time you need it, you discover gross moldy cheese instead. Save yourself the horror and freeze the leftovers. Just put the delicious little shreds in freezer bags.
Are you ready to go freeze-happy? Make sure to stock up on freezer bags and ice cube trays, though!
h/t: epicurious.com stilltasty.com goodhousekeeping.com mnn.com
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