Tired of wasting food, especially at these higher prices? There’s a simple solution…your freezer! Knowing how to best freeze your favorite foods will cut down on food waste and boost your food budget.
Cultured dairy products
With things like sour cream, yogurt, and buttermilk, you’ll lose that smooth texture after freezing, but they can still be used for cooking. Flavored yogurts are the exception as the fruit and sugar keep them stable, though they will be more acidic. For all of these, it’s best to use them within 3 months of freezing.
What about non-cultured dairy? You can freeze heavy cream if it is 40% or more in butterfat. Milk can be frozen though it may change in quality upon thawing. These will be good for 1 to 2 months.
All kinds of cheeses
Any cheese can be frozen from hard to soft. It will be a little crumbly and dry, but the flavor won’t change. Cut your cheese into small pieces, wrap in foil, and freeze, making sure you use it within 6 to 9 months for harder cheeses.
Cottage cheese and ricotta can be frozen for a month, though they may separate a bit. Cream cheese will do just as well, but it will be best when used in cooking, dips, or frosting, not for slathering on your bagels.
Asparagus, celery, and other raw veggies can be frozen. Freezing asparagus requires blanching it first to preserve the color and texture. It can be frozen for up to a year. Celery needs to be washed and chopped before stowing in a container. All veggies can be frozen by spreading them on a sheet pan in a single layer, then tossing them into freezer bags. Take care to squeeze the air out and you’ll get to enjoy them for 18 months.
Cooked potatoes and rice
Leftover cooked potatoes are a breeze to freeze. Simply put them in airtight freezer bags and they’ll keep for about 3 months. Cooked rice freezes well too, and this will prevent bacteria from developing. You can store all types of cooked rice including brown, white, and fried rice with meat and veggies for up to 1 month.
Flour and bread
Flour can be placed in a freezer bag, or even better, a vacuum-seal bag. So buy it in bulk and let your freezer keep pests out as flour will keep there for 2 years. Loaves of bread are great for freezing though wrapping each loaf in 2 layers of plastic wrap first before putting it in a freezer bag will ensure it tastes great for 4 to 6 months.
Bananas, strawberries, and other fruits are simple to freeze. Put them on a sheet pan in a single layer, freeze them solid, then put them into freezer bags, removing any excess air. Your bounty of frozen fruits will be good for up to a year.
Go ahead and buy in bulk, for now, that you know how to freeze with ease, you’ll waste less and make more from the foods you have!