If you're anything like us, your freezer is full of the usual suspects - frozen peas, meat and a few tubs of ice cream, but it can be used for so much more than that! Here are some items you may not have know you can freeze...
Did you know that you can freeze nuts? Herbs? Cake? No? We’ve rounded up
some of things that you probably didn’t know you could freeze.
If you’re anything like us, your freezer is full of the usual suspects –
frozen peas, meat and a few tubs of ice cream, but it can be used for so
much more than that!
We’ve teamed up with our friends at Love Food Hate Waste to round up some of the more unusual things you can freeze – take a look through our gallery of unlikely freezable foods – we bet you’ll be surprised by a few!
First on the list is eggs. Ever frozen an egg before? No you don’t stick it in there whole, but if you crack it into a bowl, give it a little whisk and pour it into a freezer bag or individual ice cube trays, you can make your eggs last much longer.
If you’re an avid baker, it can be handy to freeze the egg yolk and whites separately. This way you can use the whites for recipes such as meringues and the yolks for making dishes like mayonnaise – and you don’t have to worry about wasting the leftovers.
Yes, you really can freeze this delicious superfood. To prepare your avocado for freezing you need to wash it, cut it in half, peel it, remove the stone, pop the avocado into a ziplock bag and ta-dah! If you're pureeing, either mash the avocados with a fork or in a food processor, add a dash of lemon or lime and store in a resealable bag and freeze. Easy!
If your block of cheese is soon to go out of date, never fear - it can be frozen! It's best to grate the cheese and store in airtight Tupperware container, cling film or freezer bags, this will make it easier to grab handfuls when you need it. You could also slice the cheese into portions and freeze separately.
Stilton is the best cheese to freeze as it stays the same texture as when fresh and doesn't crumble. Other cheeses may crumble but as long as they are left in the fridge to defrost overnight they should be just as good as fresh.
Bananas tend to go off quite quickly - but this doesn't mean they should
be heading for the bin. Over-ripe (or brown) bananas can be frozen,
with or without the skin, and used at another time. You don't need to
wait for them to go off either - you can stick bananas in the freezer as
soon as you buy them if you don't think you'll get a chance to use them
Frozen bananas can be used to make lots of different
dishes. You can defrost them with a little burst in the microwave (even
if they have the skins on), if you need them to be a little mushy - this
is good for baking banana cakes or muffins.
From frozen, you can
blend bananas down with milk or yogurt to make a smoothie or simply
blend on their own with a little sugar to make a low-fat ice cream
Potatoes? In the freezer? Yes, you really can freeze potatoes - especially when they're starting to sprout and you're thinking of throwing them in the bin.
Peel the potato skin and then blanch in boiling water for about 5 mins. Once they're piping hot, pop into a bowl of freezing cold water and leave to cool for 10 mins or so then pack your potatoes in portions using airtight bags or Tupperware pots.
A useful freezing tip is to freeze cooked potatoes on a baking tray, so they're not touching each other, and when they are solid, pop them into a plastic bag or container. This stops them sticking together so you don't have to defrost them all at once.
For roasties, use the potatoes straight from the freezer, add oil and roast. Mashed potato can be frozen in meal-sized portions and then defrosted overnight in the fridge - use for toppings on shepherds pie or as a simple side.
Chop your mushrooms, toss them in some melted butter and freeze -
they're great on pizzas and in casseroles. It's a great way to ensure
you don't waste any mushrooms and it can be done when they're fresh out
of the packet or when they're starting to look a little ropey.
You can also store chopped onions and peppers in the freezer so you always have the essentials for a good sauce.
cuts of mushrooms will take longer to defrost, just make sure you leave
them in the fridge to defrost, otherwise they can end up pretty soggy!
You've probably heard of frozen yogurts but have you ever actually frozen your fresh yogurts?
Freeze when you reach their use-by date and they make great healthy alternatives to ice creams. You can use straight from the freezer for a quick treat for children or blitz in a blender with more fruit and a splash of milk or juice for a thick smoothie.
Another idea for your frozen yogurt is to freeze them in lolly moulds. These will make great treats for the kids in the summer months plus yogurt or smoothie ice lollies are much better for you than your average ice lolly!
Did you know that you can freeze milk? Best frozen in individual portions, milk is great for storing away in the freezer if it's nearing its expiry date. Freeze in an ice cube tray for even portions and to save space in your freezer.
If you decide to store the milk in a carton or bottle, make sure you pour a little bit of the milk away from the top so it has room to expand. When thawing, leave it in the fridge overnight and every now and then shake the bottle or carton to mix the milk and the fat back together.
There's nothing more disappointing then going to use pesto and
discovering it's gone off. Once opened, a jar of pesto has quite a short
shelf-live. You can keep it in the fridge for the duration stated on
the jar and when it's nearing that date - stick it in the freezer.
your pesto will mean that you can grab exactly how much you need, when
you need it. An ice cube tray gives you nice portions of pesto, but you
can also store it in freezer bags.
Pasta? In the freezer? Yes, you really can freeze pasta and it's pretty simple to do too. Make sure you cook your pasta beforehand - al dente is best, this means your pasta is cooked ever so slightly with a bite to it. This will help your pasta maintain its quality when you re-heat it after it?s thawed.
As pasta lasts for quite a while dry, it's not really worth cooking pasta up just to freeze it but if you cook a little too much, it's good to know that it doesn't have to go to waste.
Pasta that is cooked in a sauce or leftover pasta, spag Bol for example, can be frozen altogether - meat, sauce and pasta all-in-one - just make sure you leave it in the fridge to defrost fully before re-heating.
A few drops left in your wine bottle? Don't pour it down the sink - pour it into an ice cube tray or ziplock bag and freeze instead. The freezing process doesn't effect the wine at all and it means you'll always have some to hand to add to dishes and sauces.
Using an ice cube tray will allow you to judge portions clearly - one cube is normally enough to add flavour to your dish.
Bacon is best frozen from fresh, in individual slices. Wrap each slice
in cling film and freeze in a Tupperware box. You could also freeze the
whole packet of bacon if you think you'll use up the whole batch once
Another cost-effective and space-saving way to store
bacon in the freezer is by rolling it in wax paper. Lay the strips of
bacon vertically on a large sheet of paper, just make sure they?re not
touching so they don?t freeze as one big block. Roll the paper, making
sure the bacon doesn?t move, and place your roll of wax paper into the
You can grill or fry your bacon from frozen but if you want to add it to a dish, you can thaw it out in the fridge.
Got a few lemons rolling around in the bottom of the fridge? Cut a lemon
in half and have no idea what to do with the leftover half? Pop it into
If you want to keep your lemon for baking just
cover it in cling film and freeze. You can grate the skin for when you
need to add zest to a recipe.
If you want to save your lemon for
adding to drinks or herbal teas (it's much more refreshing than normal
ice cubes) cut into slices and freeze individually so you can just use a
segment at a time.
If you've made way too much rice and have a heap leftover from dinner don't bin it - freeze it!
Make sure your rice is cooled before freezing. You can do this by portioning your rice into Tupperware boxes.
it comes to defrosting your rice, you can leave it in the fridge to
defrost overnight or give it a quick blast in the microwave (you can add
a little water if it looks a little dry.)
Once defrosted it's
time to re-heat, this can be done on the hob, just make sure it's piping
hot before serving. Serve with curry, chilli con carne or stir through a
sauce to turn it into a stir-fry.
If you?ve finished decorating your cupcakes or cake and have some buttercream left over, just pop it into a ziplock freezer bag and store in the freezer.
Make sure you defrost your buttercream in the fridge overnight and then, once fully defrosted, you need to whisk it back together to get the creamy, light texture so it's easy to pipe or spread.
Fresh herbs do not have a long shelf-life and do not lose any flavour when frozen.
if you've got a window box of herbs or some leftover from a meal,
finely chop and push them into ice cube trays, top with water and
freeze. Once frozen, you can pop them all into a bag and label. Allow to
thaw on a plate before adding to meals.
You can also freeze
herbs in bunches. Just pop into zip-lock freezer bags, label and freeze.
Simply chop when needed and add to meals - no need to defrost.
Once baked, your plain cake can be wrapped in cling film and popped in the freezer to be used at a later date. Make sure it's not decorated, as the icing and edible decorations will not freeze as well.
Freezing your cake is also a great way to reduce the crumbs around the edges - so when it comes to the crumb coat or fondant layer, it'll be smoother and easier to work with. You can also cut your cake into slices and wrap individually in foil and defrost slice by slice as you need it.
Freezing nuts or seeds is a great way of keeping them super fresh and
full of flavour. It?s also a good way of avoiding waste when they're
near their use-by date.
Freeze your nuts in a zip lock bag and
use from frozen. You can leave on the side to defrost or add to cake
mixtures or warm foods like porridge without defrosting them.
Save time and avoid waste by freezing crushed garlic. Store in ice cube trays and freeze - it's that simple. You can also add a dash of oil to the mix or oil your ice cube tray before freezing so the garlic can pop out easily.
This technique can be applied to crushed ginger too ? it?s always handy to have both of these flavour-packed ingredients in the freezer on stand-by. You can add the garlic or ginger cubes to stir-fries, curries and many more dishes.
Butter is best frozen in portions especially when it comes to baking - measure out your butter and pop into an airtight container or Tupperware box to freeze. If you freeze a block of butter you can grate the block when it?s frozen instead of defrosting the whole thing.
Add your butter to cake mixtures or melt in a pan as a base for a sauce. There's no need to defrost - just cook straight away.
It's always nice to know you can whip up some cookies when people just stop by. Next time you make cookies, make a large batch and freeze some of the dough. Roll it into a long tube so you can slice off cookies when frozen - or freeze in small ball portions. They'll need a couple more minutes to cook but will be just as tasty!
This can be done with pastry and other dough recipes like bread also.