Do you find yourself throwing out food that, for whatever reason, has gone bad? Food waste happens far too often, but there are ways to combat it. With the proper techniques, your freezer can help to preserve your food. Follow these tips to stretch your food supply.
Ice Cube Trays
Water isn’t the only thing you can freeze in your ice cube tray. You can pour things like gravy, stuffing, stock, minced garlic or herbs in olive oil, and more into the tray. Once it is frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag until you are ready to use them.
Blanching & Freezing
Rather than buying frozen vegetables, buy them fresh and freeze them yourself. The best way to preserve most produce is to blanch it in boiling water for several minutes, and then dunk it into ice cold water to stop the cooking process. You can then freeze them, and your veggies won’t get mushy when you cook them. This works well for vegetables like carrots, eggplant, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, among others, and may work with some fruits as well.
Lemons, limes, or oranges can be sliced thinly, and then spread on a tray in the freezer. Once frozen, store in a bag and use them in soups, salads, or dressings. You can even put them in drink straight out of the freezer as a garnish and ice in one.
Stone fruit like peaches, nectarines, cherries, or plums can be frozen as is. Let it thaw overnight and you can enjoy it the next day. If you’re looking to make smoothies or use your fruits for baking, you may want to peel, slice, and spread on a tray to freeze, then transfer to a bag after frozen.
Opened a can but only need a portion of its contents? No worries – simply cover the can with foil or plastic wrap and keep it in the freezer until you’re ready to use the rest.
Whether fresh, stale, or as dough, an easy way to preserve your bread is to freeze it. For dough, be sure to thaw it completely before baking. Fresh bread can go in as is, or you can pre-make sandwiches and then freeze them. Stale breads can be frozen for future breadcrumbs (or you can grind them ahead of time and then freeze them). You can even prep emergency garlic bread by rubbing stale rolls with garlic butter before tossing them in the freezer.
Store your stock ingredients, like bones, vegetable stalks, or herbs, in a bag or container in the freezer. That way, when you’re ready to make stock, you can throw it all in the pot to simmer. You can then freeze your stock in old containers.
Bananas & Berries
To freeze bananas, it is easier to peel and cut them into 1 in chunks before freezing, rather than freezing them whole. You can do the same for berries also.
Because of a shorter shelf life, dairy likely goes to waste often. However, you can toss your milk, yogurt, cheese, butter, and whipping cream into the freezer and thaw as needed.
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