Did you know you can save money and stop wasting excess food by using your freezer to store it before it goes bad. In a report by the National Resources Defense Council estimates that the average American throws away 25% of their food and beverages. Here are some foods you probably didn’t know can easily freeze.
Tortillas in the Freezer
Tortillas usually come in packs of six or eight, which is inconvenient if you only need one or two at a time. Freeze tortillas in individual zip-lock bags to prevent them from sticking together. They only take about 15 minutes to defrost at room temperature.
You can stock up on butter when it’s on sale and keep the extra packs in the freezer. Leave sticks of butter in their wrappers and cover them in foil. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before use.
Keep cookie dough in the freezer for fresh, hot cookies any time you like. Make a batch of dough, then arrange individual cookies on a baking sheet and place it in the freezer. Once they are frozen, store them in a resealable bag. You can bake them from frozen, just add a couple of minutes to the cooking time.
To preserve fresh herbs, chop them finely and place in an ice cube tray. If you plan to use them in soups or stews, cover them with vegetable stock. If they’re destined for Italian dishes, fill up the tray with olive oil. Once frozen, the herb-cubes can be transferred to a plastic freezer bag. Just drop one or two straight into the pot when cooking.
You can freeze a whole block of hard cheese, but it will tend to become crumbly and difficult to slice when defrosted. The best way to freeze cheese is to grate it first and store it in freezer bags or plastic containers. You can use the grated cheese straight from frozen in dishes like lasagna, pizza or macaroni and cheese.<
Peel and chop garlic cloves, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the freezer. Break off small amounts of frozen chopped garlic as needed and add directly to soups or sauces.
If your milk’s near its ‘use by’ date, you can freeze what you don’t need. If you wish to freeze a whole plastic jug of milk, pour a bit out first to give the liquid room to expand. Defrost milk overnight in the refrigerator and shake the jug to mix the fat back into the liquid.
If your potatoes are starting to sprout, don’t throw them out. After peeling them, boil for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl of cold water and let them cool. Arrange the spuds on a baking tray (so they’re not touching) and freeze for a few hours, then store them in a plastic freezer bag. You can roast them straight from frozen, just add oil.
Chop mushrooms, sauté them in butter or olive oil and freeze in plastic storage containers. You can toss them straight into hot stews or pasta sauce as you’re cooking. Defrost in the microwave for use as an omelet filling or pizza topping.
If your eggs are near their ‘best before’ date, you can whisk them and freeze them. Many recipes call for two eggs, so it’s convenient to freeze batches of two beaten eggs in small plastic containers. If you cook a recipe such as meringue that only uses egg whites, you can freeze the yokes for later use in mayonnaise or custard.
Corn on the Cob
If you grow your own corn, or get it fresh from the farmer, you can freeze it in the husks. Just pack it into freezer bags. If you buy corn from the supermarket, the enzymes that break down flavor and texture will have already started to work. In this case, corn should be husked, blanched in boiling water and quickly cooled in cold water before freezing.
If your bananas are going brown, you can freeze them without peeling. When you want to use them, they can be quickly defrosted in the microwave with the skin still on. They’ll be just the right texture for use in banana bread or muffins.
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