How well-acquainted are you with your freezer? That may sound like an odd question, but if I asked you what was right down the bottom of your freezer, would you know? Your freezer can be your absolute best friend when it comes to food storage, and avoiding food wastage. That’s why I’m bringing you my Top 10 Freezer Hacks so you can really make the most of the chilliest part of your kitchen!
Is it Freezable?
It’ll probably come as no surprise when I say the most important step to making the most of your fridge is to learn what you can and can’t freeze! I have a feeling, however, that some freezable items may surprise you. For example, did you know you can freeze milk and butter? So next time you’re heading away on holiday, don’t throw them out! Just pop them in the freezer for your return.
Grated cheese, cakes, sliced bread, porridge, stock, diced onion, cookie dough, berries, rice, grains, and vegetables can all be stored in your freezer. Some things, in fact, are better stored in the freezer: nuts and seeds are best stored frozen, where their shelf life improves dramatically and they stay nice and crunchy. Potato chips are also kept extra crispy when kept in the freezer!
Some things don’t love being frozen, though. These include cooked eggs, salad greens, fresh tomatoes, celery, cucumber, mayonnaise, cream cheese, fried foods, and soft cheeses don’t love being frozen, and won’t be anywhere near as delicious. It’s best to use these up if you know they’re nearing their expiration dates.
Veggie storage is one of my absolute favourite freezer hacks! I really love having vegetables in my freezer ready to go if I need to prepare a meal in a hurry. The best way to freeze vegetables is by blanching or steaming them first, until their about 50% cooked. Then pop them in airtight freezer bags to use as needed. Broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, peas, corn, carrots, beetroot, Brussels sprouts – all these vegetables work perfectly. If you have excess pumpkin or sweet potato, you can also steam it in your Varoma then puree it, ready for freezing. You can then use this puree in pasta sauces, or in my delicious Pumpkin Rolls!
A really important part of freezing food is to keep your freezer nice and well-stocked. Your freezer runs much more efficiently when it’s nice and full, so it’ll actually save you money on electricity to have a lot of things frozen! Use that as a good excuse to make a double batch of your pasta sauces, casseroles, soups or even cooked rice, and freeze half for the next time you’re looking for a speedy weeknight meal. It really is a win-win!
If you’ve done your weekly shopping and you’re unpacking it, but you’re not sure when you’ll use those chicken thighs, or that tray of sausages – don’t freeze it straight away. Food will still be perfectly fine if frozen on it’s use-by date, so you don’t need to worry about freezing your groceries until that date rolls around. You may end up using it in time, and it’ll save you defrosting time if you’re trying to get your meal ready in a hurry.
Ice Cube Trays are your BFFs
Ice cube trays are basically the #1 contender for freezer hacks! If you thought they were only good for making plain old ice cubes, think again. Ice cube trays actually create perfect frozen portions of all sorts of goodies to make your cooking easier and more efficient!
Fill the trays up with stock to add to soups and stews, or for deglazing your pan while cooking. Leftover wine can also be frozen to be used for deglazing, and in pasta sauces. Avocado and yoghurt can be put in the trays for a quick addition to your morning smoothie. Got fresh herbs that are nearing the end of their life? Chop them up and place them in the ice cube trays, then cover with oil for the perfect way to add fresh herbs to any meal – this also works really well with garlic! Pesto is also great frozen in ice cube trays.
There’s nothing worse than rummaging around in your freezer, only to come across what you think is bolognese, only to defrost it and realise it’s actually something completely different. It may seem obvious, but labels are your best friend! It’s easy to think “oh, I’ll remember what that is!” but when it’s been in the freezer for six months, chances are you probably won’t. When labelling, don’t just put what’s inside – add the date as well, so you know what to use up first.
Freeze it Flat
When it comes to freezer storage, the best way to be nice and organised is to freeze flat, where you can. If you have freezer bags of soup, casseroles, vegetable purees, stocks, or mince, or, for example, my veggie bolognese, squash the bag nice and flat before freezing, this way all the bags can be stacked nicely which will not only reduce clutter, but it’ll be so much easier to see what’s in each bag at a glance.
Forgot to put that bottle of wine or beer in the fridge before you needed it? Chill it super-quickly by wrapping it in a damp kitchen towel or tea towel, then placing it in the freezer. It’ll chill in record time! Just don’t forget it’s in there…
I totally get it – when it comes to freezer hacks, this one is probably the most annoying, but it will save you disappointment in the long run! Often when you buy meats from the supermarket, the packaging contains excess air which keeps the products looking nice on the shelf. It will not, however, keep your meat looking nice in the freezer. The excess air will create freezer burn on your meat quite quickly, which really isn’t pleasant to eat, and will result in a lot of waste. The best thing to do to is to remove the meat from the packaging and pop it into an airtight freezer bag to avoid this happening.
Stocktake your Freezer
It’s time to get list-making! Go through your freezer and make a list of everything in there, then stick this list up on your fridge. Cross off and add items as necessary, so you always know what you’ve got stored. This way you’ll never end up with four bags of frozen peas, or more frozen sliced bread than you can poke a stick at. You’ll also find mealtimes easier, when you look at your list and realise you’ve actually got a batch of soup frozen and ready to go. Yum!
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Are you feeling inspired yet? Now is the perfect time to organise your freezer! Do you have any favourite freezer hacks? Let me know in the comments below – I’d love to hear from you.