If you are reading this blog post I have to assume you may be looking for ways to manage your home and simplifying your life as a busy mum? Well if you are, then super freezing is a great start, along with efficient Meal Planning.
I simply LOOOOOOVE freezing anything and everything where I can. It not only helps me Meal Plan effectively, but also saves a lot of my precious time and money. Having a large chest freezer has allowed me to freeze so much more than I could previously, allowing to batch cook ahead, avoid wastage, buy in bulk and catch those special offers at the supermarkets.
Surprisingly there are quiet a lot of foods you can freeze that you may not be aware of (some are still on my list to do for myself). Take a look at these 115 ideas and see what you could be freezing to make your life more simple!
* Tip – when freezing anything in ziplock bags, containers etc make sure you expel as much air out as possible to help avouch freezer burn.
Aside from ice-cream there are some surprising dairy products that you can freeze. I think most people just do not think about actually freezing these as they are seen more as short term fridge items. The thing to remember with diary is that freezing most of these you will get a fat separation happening within liquids, so it’s important to stir/whip the product once thawed before using so they are back to their original consistency and taste.
1. Shredded Cheese – Store brought can be placed straight in the freezer either in its existing resealable bag or in your own. If you are grating your own cheese it will clump together so either place in a container to ensure it does not get squashed or sprinkle some corn flour in to ensure it doesn’t all stick.
2. Sliced Cheese – Store brought cheese that’s pre sliced is good to go in containers. Freezing an entire block is not the best idea instead pre cut or cube. Single freeze all separate on a lined tray first and then bag to ensure they do not stick together. Then bag up in ziplock bags and freeze.
3. Butter/Margarine – Margarine you can freeze your entire container and then just bring out when you need onto the bench first to thaw then refrigerate. A stick of butter you can do the same. For me personally I cut my butter sticks into 50g amounts and freeze in ziplock bags so I have them proportioned for baking.
4. Milk – I do this all the time now as we go through A LOT OF MILK with bottles, cereal, coffee etc I was out purchasing every second day as we have a small fridge. Now I just buy 6-8 at a time and freeze in the chest freezer. To do so keep upright and make sure there is a good amount of space (most supermarket brands are right to go) as the liquid does expand. You will notice it also has gone a yellow colour once frozen. This will return to white once defrosted as it is just the fats separating. To Thaw pop out on your bench for a few hours and shake well before using to ensure well mixed.
5. Cream – whipped or non whipped will need to be stirred once thawed out again to regain its consistency and taste. Much like the milk.
6. Cream Cheese – best used for cooking or frosting once thawed.
7. Sour Cream – Will need to be stirred as per milk to regain its consistency and mix through those separated fats.
8. Yoghurt - pouches preferably not tubs as they do not freeze as well. Perfect for lunch boxes, just pull out of your freezer in the morning and they should be thawed by lunchtime at school! It’s a great ice block in summer too!
9. Butter cream Icing – Once thawed mix it well before using to have the same consistency as it originally did.
10. Dips - Store in sealed containers
11. Garlic Butter – Make up your mix and roll up in cling wrap as a log. Put in the freezer and when you need some just unwrap and cut off what you need.
12. Custard – Custard pouches work best just like the yoghurt, however you can freeze your pre made custard in its carton no problem. Just again shake it up before using once thawed.
Even though most sites will tell you to blanch your vegetables first before freezing, I only have had the need to do that with potatoes to help avoid them going black. I know, I know, it helps keep in the nutrients better, but for me I just do the quickest option where possible! So for what I freeze I dice, cut, grate, bag up and throw straight in the freezer. That works fine for me! It’s not always necessary to defrost your vegetables before cooking. It just depends on what you are using them for. Most, such as diced and grated can be thrown straight into your meals you are making and will thaw out no problem with the heat as you stir through. If I’m steaming smaller vegetables they can go in frozen, but if I’m wanting to do larger vegetables or ones that I roast I thaw out first on the bench a couple of hours before hand. For a quick defrost run your ziplock bag/container under warm water to help move faster.
13. Potatoes – Blanch first or they will go black. Another option is to mash and scoop out onto a tray, single freeze on a tray and once frozen bag up in a ziplock bags. Defrost out on bench then heat up in your microwave before.
14. Carrots – cut or shredded.
15. Peas – pre bagged straight into the freezer. Doing your own from the garden? Its said best to blanch and blind freeze first.
16. Corn – on the cob or kernels.
17. Zucchini – cut or shredded.
18. Brown Onion – diced or ring cut.
19. Spring Onion – diced.
20. Red Onion – diced or ring cut.
21. Pumpkin – cut or mashed.
22. Celery - diced.
23. Capsicum – diced or sliced.
24. Cabbage – use only in cooked meals afterwards as it will be too soggy for uncooked dishes such as salads.
25. Broccoli – cut up broccoli head and freeze those pieces only.
26. Cauliflower – cut up as you would broccoli and freeze in pieces.
27. Beans – ends removed.
28. Garlic – diced cloves or minced from the jar.
29. Brussel Sprouts - grouped as much as you need.
30. Asparagus - grouped as much as you need.
31. Mushrooms – cut or diced.
32. Squash - small whole or cut.
Cooking ahead baked goods saves so much times especially when you are planning out 1+ weeks of school lunches. If Items are snack size (eg donuts) I freeze in ziplock bags individually, so I can pull out what I need the morning of school and straight into the lunch box. I also do this now with sandwiches for school. I make a weeks worth and pull out the night before I need into the lunch box. By the time recess or lunch comes around they are defrosted and good to go! Bigger items such as cakes, loafs, pies and main meal left overs I either freeze in larger ziplock bags, glad wrap or well sealed containers. When needed I pull out onto the bench to defrost a few hours before I need them. If anything defrosts faster than needed eg in summer, then I put into the fridge to keep at a safe temperature.33. Pancakes/Pikelets - cooked in batches.
34. Donuts - single for school or in batches.
35. Cake/Cupcakes Standard - as whole or single serves.
36. Banana Cake/Loaf - as whole or single serves.
37. Fruit Cake - as whole or single serves.
38. Slices - as a slab or bigger portion is best then cut after defrosted.
39. Muffins - single serves.
40. French Toast - separate with baking paper between each slice and bag or seal in airtight container.
41. Hot Main Meal Left Overs - in portions that you will need later.
42. Cookie Dough - raw in balls flash freeze then put in sealed containers or bags.
43. Crumpets - as packaged or premade.
44. Waffles - as packaged or premade.
45. Pies Of All Sorts – fruit, meat etc
46. Bread – loaf, rolls or sweet.
47. Pasta – cooked or raw to make last longer. If plain you can freeze in ziplock bags and then run under warm water to defrost and heat within the bag.
48. Pizza Dough – raw in a ball or made as a base.
49. Pastry - raw sheets.
50. Soup – cooked and cooled first before freezing. A great option is to freeze in muffin trays first then pop out and keep in a large ziplock bag or container. Then you have smaller portions to choose if you are only wanting a cup of soup.
51. Rice – cooked.
52. Sandwiches/Made Rolls – with fillings such as spreads, meat & cheese. When adding in salads do once pulled from freezer and when ready to eat.
53. Wraps/Tortillas - in airtight containers or ziplock bags.
54. Garlic Bread – Make your own it’s cheaper!
55. Omelette – cooked.
56. Breakfast Rolls – Ingredients precooked, placed in the roll, Wrap in baking paper and then cling wrap.
57. Premade Pizzas – either cooked or prepared ready to cook.
58. Brownies - as a slab or portions
Peeling and slicing fruits (excluding berries) is best. The best way to freeze most fruits is to flash freeze first on a tray so they don't stick together. This is freezing all cut fruits & individual berries individually first by placing on a lined tray separately so they are not touching. Once frozen transport into a ziplock bag. This will stop them all from sticking together. If you’re freezing for smoothies/juices pre make up your combinations for a faster convenience.
59. Banana – Have bananas ready to throw out? Freeze whole in your freezer then use to make a banana cake when you have time. Just take from freezer, zap in the microwave until defrosted, peel and squeeze into your bowl and mash for baking straight away.
60. Apple – shredded, cooked or pureed.
61. Blueberries - flash freeze first.
62. Strawberries - flash freeze first.
63. Mango – diced or sliced.
64. Raspberry - flash freeze first.
65. Lemon – sliced, quarted or juiced and freeze in a ice cube tray.
66. Lime – sliced, quarted or juiced and freeze in a ice cube tray.
67. Watermelon – sliced or cubed.
68. Kiwi Fruit – peeled or sliced.
69. Tomato – cherry, grape or diced for salsa.
70. Grapes - flash freeze first.
71. Pineapple – sliced or crushed
72. Smoothie/Juice Fruit Mix – Precut ready to go straight into the blender.
73. Peaches - sliced.
74. Pears - sliced.
75. Plums - sliced.
76. Nectarines - sliced.
77. Apricots - sliced.
78. Cherries - flash freeze first.
79. Dates - flash freeze first
80. Cranberries - flash freeze first
81. Sultanas - flash freeze first.
NEVER FREEZE ITEMS IN JARS as the glass is usually not safe proof and will crack with expansion of contents. Instead transfer the ingredients eg sauce into small well sealed containers. There are many things in your pantry that you can freeze either in their existing packaging, well sealed containers or ziplock bags. If items are for cooking eg sauces you can put straight in from frozen to mix through your hot dish. Other more snack items can be either defrosted on the bench a hour before needed or in the fridge hours/the day before. If needing for lunch boxes pop straight in of the morning or the night before and keep in the fridge until leaving fro school the next day.
82. Flour – in well sealed packaging will help kill any bugs.
83. Dry Yeast – once container is open freeze your dry yeast in a well sealed container, if your not going to use within the time suggested. Yeast at a frozen temperature will halt any activation as long as there is no humidity or condensation.
84. Sugar – only really necessary if you are living in a humid area where the humidity is causing unwanted moisture clumps etc Just break a large bag down into smaller portions stored in containers. When needing, defrost to room temperature first. If you have any moisture it's best to stir it through or remove that portion.
85. Cake Mix Boxed – Buy in bulk when on sale! If you don't think you will use within the use by date, remove the bagged ingredients and seal in a ziplock bag along with the instructions off the back of the box (cut off).
86. Sweet biscuits - store brought or homemade.
87. Dry biscuits - savoy, rice biscuits, cruskets etc.
88. Sauce’s Basic – Tomato, BBQ, Mustard etc store in containers not in glass jars or they may explode from expansion.
89. Spreads – Jam, Peanut Butter, Vegemite etc store in your own containers not glass jars in case they explode.
90.Chutney - in your own container not glass jars.
91. Pesto - in your own container not glass jars.
92. Stock - liquid or powder.
93. Juice - juice boxes, bottles (plastic only) or freshly squeezed.
94. Tomato Paste - tubs or transfer from cans into ice cube trays.
95. Pizza Sauce - home made or store brought transfer into your own containers in serving portions.
96. Potato Chips – take from the original packaging and re-bag, otherwise the pressure will cause the bag to pop open.
97. Pretzels – re-bag as you would chips above.
98. Chocolate – I don’t know about you but we have so much chocolate after Easter due to the multiple Easter egg hunts that occur! As much as we LOVE chocolate we don’t eat it everyday so it lasts us months and months. If you find your Easter chocolate is close to use by dates or you have stocked up after the sale then pop in the freezer for a tasty treat later on. It doesn’t take long for it to thaw enough to eat just by leaving out on your bench for a hour.
99. Nuts – in sealed containers/ziplock bags
100. Seeds – in sealed containers/ziplock bags
101. Salad Dressing – make in ice cube trays and thaw as needed.
102. Muslie Bars - home made or store brought.
The safest way to defrost meat (especially raw) is to transfer the night before into the fridge. If you are going to be there to keep an eye on the progression of your item, you can defrost faster out on your bench the day you need. Just make sure that its temperature doesn’t go into an unsafe zone. You do not want bacterial growth occurring causing food poisoning.
103. Chicken – roasted, marinated, herbed, shredded, mince, breast, tenders, crumbed, battered, raw, cooked etc
104. Beef – roast, mince, chunks, marinated, cooked, raw etc
105. Pork – roast, crumbed, shredded/pulled, raw, cooked etc
106. Deli Meats – Sliced or shaved
107. Kabana – stick or cut
108. Salami – pre sliced
109. Hot Dogs - cocktail, full size, skin or off.
110. Fish – crumbed, battered, plain
111. Prawns – shelled and non shelled
112. Turkey – whole, shredded, sliced
113. Sausage – beef, pork, chicken etc
114. Lamb – roast, chops, cutlets etc
115. Bacon – full pieces, diced etc
So was there anything new on the list for you to try and freeze ? Let me know in the comments if you have anything else to add!