Feel Free to Freeze These Foods
You recently bought a 14.9 cubic foot chest freezer with an interior light and lock. You love that it's Energy Star qualified and that its slide-out baskets make for easy storage.
Since your freezer is large, you feel tempted to clear out your fridge and freeze everything. You envision prepping and freezing meals, so you always have something tasty on hand. You also think about buying items in bulk so you can maximize on your savings.
However, your mother warned you that some items aren't freezer friendly. For example, egg yolk expands when frozen, cracking the shell and making a mess in your freezer.
So what foods are best for freezing?
Blocks of Cheese
While soft cheeses (such as cottage cheese, ricotta, and cream cheese) lose their fluffy texture when frozen, hard cheeses are fine to freeze.
For best results, cut cheese into portions no larger than half a pound and seal in a heavy-duty freezer bag. To minimize crumbling, allow cheese to thaw completely before putting it in the fridge.
You can also consider shredding the cheese prior to freezing. To minimize clumping, add a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour to the bag and shake it thoroughly.
Homemade Baked Goods
From homemade apple pie to chocolate chip cookie dough, homemade baked goods are ideal for freezing.
How to freeze:
- Bread and rolls - when completely cool, wrap bread or rolls in plastic wrap or foil. Consider double-bagging to prevent freezer burn.
- Brownies and cookies - when cool, place brownies and cookies in re-sealable bags or storage containers with tight-fitting lids.
- Pies - when cool, wrap pie in freezer paper and then place in freezer bags.
Keep in mind that you can also freeze many common baking ingredients. Chocolate, nuts, flour, and sugar all do well when frozen.
Potato Chips, Crackers, and Pretzels
Prepping for a vacation or a party? Having plenty of pretzels, chips, and crackers on hand can help everyone stay happy in between activities or meals.
But these snacks can quickly go stale, even with all their preservatives and flavourings. If you want to stock up on chips and crackers, consider freezing them in their original sealed package they can stay fresh for up to 3 months and will remain crisp even after freezing.
Herbs and Spices
Fresh basil, chives, parsley, and other soft herbs do not do well in the freezer if you leave them as sprigs. However, you can try several methods to ensure your herbs and spices stay fresh.
- Option 1: Freeze herb leaves individually by stripping the leaves from the stem. Spread leaves on a single layer on a cookie sheet, then put the cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen, remove the leaves, and then place them in a freezer bag to put back in the freezer.
- Option 2: Freeze herb leaves in ice cube trays. As with the first option, you'll need to strip the leaves from the stem. Fill each ice cube slot halfway full with water, then place about a tablespoon of the herbs in each slot. Try to cover the herbs with the water as much as possible. After they are fully frozen, pop the herb cubes out of their tray and then store in a freezer bag.
When you're ready, you can add the frozen herbs to soups, stews, and other meals.
Bananas, Berries, and Other Fruit
If you plan to snack on your fruit whole, don't put them in your freezer. Frozen fruit often becomes soggy when thawed. But if you want to save fruit for smoothies, jams, and other recipes, then feel free to freeze away!
Before freezing fruit, carefully wash, dry, and divide fruit into large portions. This will enable you to grab the fruit you need without thawing an entire batch. Then spread the fruit on a cookie sheet so the pieces freeze separately. You can put the fruit into freezer bags later.
Broth, Stock, Soup, and Chili
Broths, soups, and chili are among the easiest foods to freeze. You can keep a gallon bag of broth in the freezer along with any vegetable pieces (including onion peels, celery stacks, etc.) to make vegetable stock. For heartier soups and stews, divide them into 1 or 2 cup portions in freezer bags for easier defrosting.
Corn on the Cob
Water-based vegetables such as cucumber, lettuce, and peppers do not freeze well. Fortunately, you can freeze and enjoy corn on the cob all year round. Simply put the fresh corn into a freezer bag (husk and all), and it's good to go.
If you purchase traditional corn from a grocery store, rather than a farmer's market, you'll want to husk and blanch it (boil for 4 minutes) before freezing. This helps stop enzymes that breakdown your corn, resulting in loss of flavour and colour.
These are just some freezer-friendly foods you can enjoy. Feel free to experiment with your freezer meals so you can enjoy fresh food year round.