These days, grocery store runs are few and far between. We’re all trying to make the most of each trip, but sometimes that means we’re grabbing more than we need in the short-term. Fear not – here are a few simple tips to help you make the most of your freezer and prolong the life of some of your favorite fresh foods.
1. How to properly freeze fresh vegetables
Vegetables are usually the first thing in your fridge to go bad, so freezing them is a great way to ensure you’ll have them for weeks to come. But, here’s a tip – blanch your veggies before you freeze them.
Blanching prevents oxidization, which means your veggies won’t turn brown (have you ever seen what happens to a frozen banana?) and they’ll last much longer in the freezer.
This is also a great way to preserve flavor, so your veggies taste just as good as they did when they were fresh! Veggies that are best for blanching pre-freeze include Brussels sprouts, carrots, zucchini, squash, dark leafy greens, corn (off the cob) and peas.
2. How to properly freeze fresh fruits
Freezing fresh fruit is generally the most common thing to freeze (smoothies, duh). When you’re freezing fruit, make sure you wash everything thoroughly and let it dry before freezing it. This will prevent little ice crystals from forming all around it.
When it comes to bananas, make sure you’re removing the banana from the peel, then slicing it up. From there, you can put it in a baggy to freeze. If you just toss the banana into the freezer whole, it will oxidize and lose a lot of that nice banana-y flavor. Plus, if you want to use the banana frozen (again – smoothies, duh), cutting it ahead of time makes it easier to work with. Have you ever tried to peel a frozen banana? Not pretty.
3. How to freeze your grains
There are a few missteps you might be making when it comes to freezing grains. For bread, make sure it’s sliced before it goes into the freezer. If you do this, you don’t even have to bother thawing out a loaf – just grab a couple of frozen slices, pop them in the toaster and voila!
For rice, if you decide to make a huge batch to last you the week, consider freezing it instead of putting it in the refrigerator. It’ll defrost easily in the microwave day-to-day, and this ensures that nothing is wasted.
4. Yogurt ice cubes
Freezing yogurt is a great smoothie hack. Instead of adding ice to your smoothie, freeze some yogurt cubes in your ice tray and add them straight from the freezer to your blender! This ensures your yogurt doesn’t go bad before you’re done with it, plus it adds great texture to your smoothie.
5. Egg muffins
Crack your eggs and scramble them like you normally would, then divvy up the scramble into muffin tins – you can leave them as is or jazz them up a bit. Take them out of the freezer and plop them straight into the oven, then you’re set for breakfast for the whole week!
You can also put your raw scramble into any freezer-safe container, defrost it, then cook your eggs as you normally would. Egg muffins are just way more fun!
6. What NOT to freeze
Unfortunately, you just can’t freeze everything. Don’t freeze anything with a high moisture content, like raw potatoes or lettuce. It won’t keep a nice texture and it’ll just be blah.
When it comes to meat, stick to freezing it raw. Avoid freezing cooked meat, unless it’s something like ground beef. Also, if you’ve taken raw meat out of the freezer and defrosted it, don’t put it back in the freezer if you don’t end up using it that day – it’s a recipe for bacteria.