10 foods you can keep in your freezer
There are numerous ways to battle food waste in the kitchen. You can make a dinner plan, only buy the amounts that you actually need and keep leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. But another effective way to battle food waste is to freeze foods to keep it fresh for later use. This way you are not only battling food waste, you are also making sure that you always have some key ingredients in stock. You might be surprised at all the foods you can actually keep in the freezer!
A lot of different types of fruit can easily be frozen for later use. This makes an ideal base for smoothies and healthy breakfast. In summer we always have a ton of fresh strawberries from our own garden; too much for us to actually eat during those summer months (and we DO try). All the leftover strawberries end up in our freezer to use in the winter and spring, when strawberries are scarce and overprized. The same goes for any leftover banana that we won’t be able to eat before it turns brown. If you defrost the fruit it won’t be as firm as before, but when you mix it up in a blender to make a delicious smoothie, sauce or nicecream you won’t even notice the difference.
I’ve said it before and I will keep repeating myself until everybody is just as big of a fan of frozen cheese as I am! It might sound odd, but it really isn’t. Any leftover cheese in our household will be grated and stored in the freezer. This goes for Parmesan cheese, but also Dutch grass cheeses. I even heard that you can actually freeze soft French cheeses, although I haven’t tried this myself. Whenever we need a certain amount of grated cheese for a dish, whether it is risotto, nachos or a sauce, we just take what we need out of the freezer. It works like a charm.
#3 Fresh herbs
I can’t even remember how many times I bought some fresh herbs from the supermarket for a dish, only to use up about a quarter. The rest of the package just ended up brown in the bottom of my fridge or the rest of the plant wilted away slowly in my kitchen. I always find it such a waste when I have to throw this out, but keep fresh herbs actually fresh is a real challenge, especially when it’s bought in the supermarket and meant for single use. Nowadays we just freeze our leftover herbs for later use. You can either keep them in oil, water or even lemon juice, it all depends on the type of herb and what you are going to use it for at a later time.
#4 Tomato Puree
Most dishes only need one or two tablespoons of tomato puree, but a regular can or jar contains quite a lot more puree than that. Usually tomato puree can’t be kept in a fridge for more than just a few days and throwing the remaining puree away is such a waste. Try freezing the tomato puree the next time you buy a jar. You can freeze it in an ice cube tray for ready to use portions and the puree will unfreeze in the pan in no time.
If you have a piece of ginger or laos and you aren’t going to use the entire root, it is best to store it in the freezer. You can either cut it up in pieces or freeze the whole root. That way you will never have to waste another perfectly good spice because you bought too much at once.
If you just need a splash of wine for a recipe it would be a shame to have to open a whole new bottle if you have no intention of finishing it. Wine, when opened, usually declines in taste after only 1 or 2 days and throwing out a perfectly good bottle of wine is just a waste. It’s much smarter to just freeze the wine in portions so you will always have that splash of wine at hand.
#7 Coconut Milk
We don’t use coconut milk often in our kitchen, but when we do, we usually don’t need the whole can. So you can imagine I was delighted to find out that you can actually freeze portions of coconut milk. That way you always have some in stock for that delicious curry. Don’t forget to stir after it defrosted; it can look a bit unappetizing at first, but it tastes just the same.
I love me some cookies, but making them is not my forte. I am more of a cook, not a baker; I simply don’t have the accuracy or patience to measure everything precisely and work according to a strict recipe. My husband on the other hand is a great baker, but he simply doesn’t always have the time to make the dough, let it rest and then make a bread or a batch of cookies. We found a solution to this problem though! Nowadays he just makes a big batch of dough, for either bread or cookies, and we simply freeze a portion of it. That way we can skip a whole step when making bread, pizza or cookies and that saves up a lot of time and effort.
#9 Lemon Juice
Usually when we buy lemons, or limes, we buy a whole bunch of them at once. When we aren’t going to use them in time, we just freeze the bits that we need at a later time. We squeeze out the juice and freeze it in an icecube tray, we save the peel for our favorite oven dish and sometimes we even freeze the whole lemon to use at a later moment. This way you will never have to waste any part of the lemon, or lime, every again.
#10 (Herb) Butter
Butter is something that keeps very well in the fridge, but if you don’t use it regularly, like we do, I actually suggest that you keep it in the freezer. You can easily freeze butter and herb butter in portions so you always have some in stock and don’t waste any of it.