Sigh. We need a bigger freezer. I’m getting tired of wasted food and would really like to take advantage of freezing more of it. But with a baby in the house (frozen breast milk, frozen homemade baby food) and a sugar fanatic in the house (ice cream and ice pops), we’re running out of space. Once I invest in a bigger or a second freezer, I’m really going to start taking advantage of it so that we can reduce our food waste and save money.
For many people, frozen vegetables, meats, ice cream, and a loaf or two of bread is the extent of the foods they keep in their freezers, but did you know that there are many more foods you can store there safely? Some of these may just surprise you!
Surprising Foods You Can Freeze
Whether you have purchased these at the store or made them at home, small containers or freezer bags of bread crumbs are great to have on hand. I also keep a bag in my freezer and throw in the heels of bread loaves or any pieces that are going stale. These are perfect to use for making croutons or bread crumbs.
Not only does flour keep well in the freezer, it also helps protect it from those nasty little bugs that might infest it.
I find that pizza dough not only keeps well in the freezer but it actually often does another rising as it’s thawed. It results in the most delicious, fluffiest pizza dough ever.
When I grate some lemon zest for a recipe, I always seem to end up with some left over. And in the past, I’ve always tossed it in the composter. Not anymore! Now that I know I can freeze it, I’ll always have zest on hand for my recipes!
It always seems that when I need buttermilk, I need just 1/4 cup or so for a recipe. I’m always left then wondering, what do I do with these leftovers? I’ve tried in the past to schedule the making of several recipes needing buttermilk at the same time but it was just too difficult to coordinate. Now I can freeze it in small containers or ice cube trays and take out just what I need.
Think you can’t freeze hard cheeses? Think again. I will admit that it changes texture a bit (dries out a little) and I wouldn’t want to use it for snacking on, but in recipes, it’s still just fine!
I can’t seem to keep garlic in the house. It always dries out and shrivels up so quickly! Now, I’ll be honest. I usually buy those squeeze bottles of minced garlic that you keep in the fridge. But being able to keep some cloves in the freezer would be super handy. Freeze it on a baking sheet or tray and then pop into a freezer bag (to avoid having it stick together).
There are several different ways to freeze fresh herbs including in water and in olive oil. This article outlines it quite well.
Raw cookie and muffin dough
Have you ever purchased tubs of cookie dough or muffin batter from a fundraiser? You could easily do this on your own too. Or freeze tubes of cookie dough for slicing and baking. Or I’ve even dropped it by the spoonful onto a cookie tray and frozen it that way. Once frozen, you can put the chunks of dough into a container or bag.
Are you as bad as I am at measuring out and cooking just the right amount of pasta for your family? Pasta actually freezes quite well. Drop it into a pot of boiling water to heat it back up again or defrost by running lukewarm water over the bag of frozen pasta in a colander. We used to do the same with rice – even sticky rice – and it worked like a dream.
I never finish off a bottle of wine. I’m not a wine drinker so I only use it for cooking. Freezing it in ice cube trays gives me the perfect portions to dole out just what I need for a recipe.
I freeze these without even peeling them. Just pop ripe or overripe bananas into a bag or container and use them for making smoothies, banana bread, muffins, and more.
We freeze bacon all the time. We don’t have it often but when we want it, it’s great to have some on hand. And it can be so expensive, so this way we can take advantage of sales. Sometimes I will cut some up into small pieces and freeze in portions that way. It’s perfect when adding to dishes rather than serving as a main dish.
Chunks of fresh ginger
Honestly, this one took me by surprise! Buy a chunk of fresh ginger and pop it in the freezer. Pull out of the freezer and grate when ready to use it! Don’t bother defrosting – just grate off what you need and put it back in the freezer so it doesn’t get mushy.
Corn on the cob
We just love fresh corn on the cob but honestly, the season here is just so short. If you buy it fresh-picked from a farmer’s market, you can actually pop it in the freezer, husks and all! From the grocery store, you should clean it and blanch it before freezing.
Actually, they sell bags of frozen avocado at my grocery store. It’s perfect for making guacamole, adding to smoothies, and so on. Once again, it goes through a texture change after being frozen so it’s not the best for adding to things like tacos and salads. Wash the avocadoes and cut them in half. Peel and freeze as halves or in chunks. Some people like to brush them with lemon or lime juice to help protect from any colour changes.
Y’all, this might just change my life. I love love love hummus and being able to keep some in the freezer is just going to be amazing. Drizzle some olive oil over top of it to keep it moist. I am going to freeze in single serving portions. Pop one out, let it thaw, stir and it’s snack time!
I’ll be honest. I read about this one and I’m a little dubious. I cannot imagine them coming out of the freezer and not being soggy. If you try this, please let us know in the comments. I really want to see if it works!
Organic natural peanut butter.
Regular peanut butter from your grocery store pretty much lasts through an apocalypse doesn’t it? Okay, maybe not but long enough that you don’t need to freeze it. But the organic natural kind can go rancid much more quickly. So, freezing it might be a good idea!
I do this ALL the time. Now, don’t try shoving a carton of eggs in the shell into the freezer. As they freeze and expand, the shells will probably crack open and yuck! You can simply crack them open, add to a container and freeze or you can whisk them up a bit first.
Whenever I cook up some bone broth, I package a bunch of it into serving sized and recipe sized containers. There is nothing as good as homemade broth for a base for soups and other recipes. Or to sip on a cold winter’s day or when you have a cold.
Leftover pasta sauce, tomato paste, and gravy.
Pour this into ice cube trays and pop out the number of cubes you need for that meal.
I’ve heard some people have had success with this. They freeze leftover chocolate from the holidays so they can eat it or make use of it by melting down for a recipe later. If you try this, it’s important to cool the chocolate slowly. Put it in a cool place first. Then the refrigerator. Finally it can go into the freezer. This apparently helps to counteract the usual issues of it getting all crumbly and brittle when you take it out of the freezer again.
When I find nuts on sale, I stock up and freeze them to protect them from going rancid. It’s as simple as putting them into containers or bags and sticking them in the freezer. That’s it!
When we have leftover bits of veggies, I add them to a container in the freezer. Peas, corn, carrots and so on all work beautifully. Once I have enough, I make a vegetable quiche, soup, or casserole like Shepherd’s Pie with these.
Pancakes and waffles.
It’s just like the pasta. I always cook way too many. So I freeze the extras for use at a later date. These make simple quick breakfasts for those busy weekdays. Pop the waffle in the toaster just like the popular brand or warm them in the microwave or oven. The trick here is keeping them from sticking together. You can separate them with pieces of parchment paper or freeze them on a baking sheet first before putting them together in freezer bags.
Our milk comes in bags so I simply put a few bags in the freezer as is. Confession time: I don’t really care for drinking it once it comes out of the freezer. I’ve heard some people simply give it a good shake and they find it just the same as fresh but there’s something different about it to me. So, this is the milk I use for cooking or smoothies. Or I add a bit of chocolate syrup to it and enjoy it as chocolate milk.
If we have a container that we just aren’t going to use up before it goes bad or we buy extra on sale, I freeze some. I usually do it in ice cube trays so it’s easy to take out just the amount I need. Straight from frozen, this is perfect to add to smoothies – it helps give them flavour and a nice thick texture.
You can’t freeze them and then defrost them. I find they get mushy. But frozen grapes have been a hot day treat in my house for years.
Leading up to holidays, butter always goes on sale around here at crazy low prices. So I stock up and pop some in the freezer. Both salted and unsalted freeze well.
This is a new one for me. I had no idea it would freeze well. And this could become dangerous because I LOVE buttercream frosting.
So, what have I forgotten? Do you freeze any out of the ordinary items? Tell me about them in the comments below. And seriously, if you try that freezing chips thing, I wanna hear about it!