8 Clever Freezer Hacks That Will Save You Time & Money
You might say that our freezers are well stocked - with alcohol, ice cream, and, let's not forget, our jeans, which we want clean without having to spin them. But the freezer section of the fridge is actually useful when it comes to more than just cocktails and desserts. In fact, it's extremely helpful when preparing and planning meals in advance. Below you'll find useful tips and tricks for your freezer that make the case for actually storing food in it.
Spread berries and grapes on a baking sheet and freeze them solid before placing them in a freezer bag. Do the same with larger fruits like peaches and apples, but slice them and remove the seeds or core first. Puree melons before freezing to use in smoothies and aguas frescas. Bananas should be peeled before going directly into a freezer bag. To prevent the fruit from freezing, pat it dry before freezing. And keep in mind that the fruit will lose its crunchiness after freezing. Use them for dishes where their soft texture isn't important, such as mixed drinks.
Blanch vegetables such as green beans, broccoli and asparagus and pat dry before storing in freezer bags. Dark leafy greens - kale, spinach, chard - should also be precooked and then wrung dry before storing. Don't freeze tender greens such as lettuce. Winter squash (peeled, seeded and cut into pieces) and ginger can be frozen raw in bags. Like fruit, vegetables lose their crisp tenderness after freezing. Use it for dishes where you want a soft texture, such as casseroles and soups.
You can freeze herbs flat on a sheet pan before wrapping and storing them in freezer bags. Or you can chop them up and freeze them in ice cube trays with a little water; when frozen solid, you can put them in freezer bags. Tender herbs - basil, tarragon and oregano, for example - can also be mixed with olive oil to make a paste and frozen in ice cube containers. Place them in a freezer bag and add to sauces and marinades as needed.4. Casseroles
Cool your dish to room temperature (no rush!). Make sure you have used a freezer-safe casserole dish, or pour the casserole in batches into resealable containers that can withstand the cold (some amateur cooks prefer foil pans, as they can be placed directly in the freezer) Wrap the casseroles tightly with at least two layers of plastic wrap and place a final layer of foil over them before placing them in the freezer.
5. Soups, sauces and stews
Let cool to room temperature, then transfer to airtight containers with enough room for expansion. You can also put the soup in individual portions in freezer bags and freeze flat on a baking sheet. Once frozen, the slim envelopes are easy to shop in tight spaces in the freezer and thaw faster than the smallest pieces.
6. Rice and grains
Cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag.
Wrap dough tightly in plastic, wax paper or foil before placing in a freezer bag. Keep in mind that some yeast doughs aren't quite as light and fluffy after freezing. Portion the cookies on a biscuit sheet and freeze before transferring to a freezer bag to bake if desired.
For homemade tortillas, place wax paper between each tortilla before wrapping tightly and placing in a freezer bag. This is also handy for shop-bought tortillas if you know you won't be using the whole batch at once. Otherwise, wrap the tortillas tightly and place them in a freezer bag.