If you are looking to keep your foods fresher longer – and who isn’t? – you need look no further than your freezer.
Freezing is an easy and convenient way to preserve food. By freezing leftovers and foods that will spoil before you use them, you can save money and reduce food waste.
As a general rule, you can keep fruits and vegetables in the freezer for up to a year, poultry for six to nine months, fish for three to six months, and ground meat for three to four months. Use resealable freezer bags or freezer-safe plastic containers and label them with the date of storage.
But you can freeze many more food items than you probably realized. Here is our top 16 list of foods you didn’t know you could freeze.
1. Garlic – You can freeze whole garlic, garlic cloves or chopped fresh garlic. Frozen garlic does lose some of its texture, but the flavor remains intact.
2. Corn – You can freeze fresh-picked corn on the cob for up to one year. Pack it in freezer bags — husk and silk and all. For store-bought corn, husk and blanch it before freezing.
3. Avocados – The bad news is that frozen avocados lose their consistency. The good news is that they do not lose their taste, so you can use them for guacamole or dressing. Wash and halve them before peeling. Freeze as halves, or puree them with lime or lemon juice and then store for up to eight months.
4. Mushrooms — You can freeze raw button, creminis and portabellas mushrooms for later use. Chop and slice mushrooms and then spread them on a cookie sheet. Freeze. Then transfer the pieces to bags or containers.
5. Onion – You can save chopping time – and tears – by freezing onion for cooking later. Store peeled, chopped onion in plastic freezer bags. The best part is you can just toss them into your recipes without thawing them first.
6. Hummus – Scoop your fresh hummus into plastic containers. Then drizzle a thin layer of olive oil on the top to keep it from drying out. Thaw in the refrigerator for 24 hours before mixing and serving.
7. Bread and tortillas – You can easily freeze bread slices or loaves of bread and tortillas. If they are dry after thawing, just wrap them in a damp paper towel and microwave for a few seconds.
8. Chips – Potato and veggie chips can go stale quickly, so if you have extras on hand, try freezing them. They defrost quickly, but you may even like the taste of them straight out of the freezer.
9. Flour – Did you know that many bakers keep their flour in the freezer? It not only stays fresher longer, but it makes tastier baked goods as well.
10. Eggs without shells – Whether they are from your own chickens or whether you just got a good deal at the store, you don’t want to waste eggs. Did you know you could freeze eggs – just not in their shells? Crack them and scramble them. Then pour the liquid into cube trays and freeze. Next, remove the cubes and store them in freezer bags for up to six months.
11. Cooked rice and cooked pasta – You can safely freeze cooked rice and pasta in individual portions for later use in meals. When you are ready to prepare a meal, simply sprinkle the rice or pasta with a little water and then heat it in the microwave.
12. Chicken broth – You can freeze chicken broth for up to six months in the freezer. Be sure to use an airtight, freezer-safe container – not a can.
13. Pasta sauce and tomato paste – Did you only need a tablespoon of tomato paste or part of a jar of tomato sauce for that recipe? You can freeze the rest for later use. Just be sure to store it in a freezer-safe container – not a can.
14. Herbs – You can successfully freeze your fresh herbs in olive oil. Chop your herbs and place them in an ice cube tray. Then cover them with olive oil, allowing a little room at the top for expansion. You can transfer frozen cubes to a resalable bag. Then plop them right into soups and other recipes.
15. Cookie dough – It can save time to make a big batch of cookie dough at once, but you don’t save money if they go stale before anyone eats them. Your freezer can come to the rescue. Freeze homemade cookie dough in individual spoonfuls on a baking sheet. Freeze them and then transfer to a resealable bag for later use.
16. Fresh citrus – How many times have you only needed one slice of a lemon or lime? Did you know you could freeze the rest? Slice or section citrus fruits and place a piece of wax paper between each piece. Remove as many seeds as you can before freezing.
Now that you have some new ideas for freezing food, here are some basic rules to follow:
- Most meats, dairy, and some vegetables should not be re-frozen after thawing.
- Cool down cooked foods before freezing.
- Wrap foods properly to avoid freezer burn.
- Freezing retards bacterial growth but it does not kill bacterial growth.
Are there other foods you would add to our list? What freezing tips would you have included? Share them in the section below: