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Contents of freezer door, Flickr

Freeze foods, save money! Photo: L. Marie, Flickr

Maximize your dollars by making good use of your freezer. It's amazing how much you can save by freezing on even a small scale. For example? I now buy cheese in bulk at Costco or when I spy a good sale, and I freeze it in small batches. I was surprised to learn that cheese freezes beautifully ... and I now regret years of tossing moldy cheese!

Cheese is actually just one of many foods that freeze surprisingly well. So get creative and start using your freezer for more than just meats and casseroles! Here's a handy list for you to keep in mind next time you're shopping:

Yes, Freeze Them!

Fresh whipped cream, butter, milk, cheese, root ginger (grate it as you need it), nuts, grated coconut, homemade pancakes, herbs (e.g. fresh rosemary and basil) and spices, meat or vegetable stock, cooked rice, tomato paste, bread dough, pizza dough, cookies, cakes, pies, sauces, Chinese takeout, vodka (and rum and tequila – the alcohol won't freeze, but the cold keeps them chilled).



Eww, Don't Freeze These!

Salad greens, baked potatoes, raw potatoes, cabbage, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, tomatoes, cream sauces, cream cheese (okay in a casserole), meringue, citrus fruits, mayonnaise (but okay in a casserole), egg whites (they turn rubbery), cream and custard pies, cooked pasta (freeze in a sauce instead), gelatin, fried foods, fruit jelly sandwiches.

Get around the do-no-freeze list by knowing food preparation tricks for each of these food. For example, lightly cooked potatoes freeze well even though raw ones don't. Also, pickled vegetables freeze well, too. For example, picked cabbage and celery would keep well where their fresh cousins would turn to stinky mush after freezing.

Check out the Former Fat Guy Blog for a fantastic overview of how to prep fresh foods for freezing!



Source

  • ben

    Milk freezes well, not sure if it is organic only because thats all my wife buys, but it has no ill effects when thawed. Not to our knowledge or tastebuds at least. That way, when we see it on sale, we buy a ton & put it in our freezer.

    Reply
  • Heather in MTL

    I disagree about the not freezing tomatoes. Yes, don't freeze them if you expect them to be like yummy fresh tomatoes when you thaw them, but DO freeze them if you have an abundance and don't have the time to do a sauce right away. My mom used to pop extra tomatoes from the garden in the freezer in the fall (in a container of some sorts of course). Come mid-winter when she wanted to make a batch of spaghetti sauce, instead of using canned tomatoes, she'd put a pot of boiling water on the stove and take out however many tomatoes she'd need for the sauce, and pop a few at a time in and out of the boiling water. The skins would split but the flesh would stay frozen, and they were super easy to peel for the sauce! Even years later in college, when I followed all of mom's directions to make her sauce, except using canned tomatoes, I have to say nothing compares to the taste of frozen garden-fresh tomatoes in the middle of winter to make a sauce taste wonderful!

    Reply
  • Tawnia

    I have to agree, Heather. I freeze tomatoes all the time. I put them in freezer ziplock bags, peels and all, when I take them out the peel slips right off. It is actually easier, and I have stopped canning tomatoes altogether.


  • Diane Rixon

    Thank you Heather and Tawnia! I will definitely follow your advice about freezing tomatoes!


  • Charlotte

    I love the list, but disagree about the celery. If you chop the ribs up into 1 inch pieces you can freezer bag them for later use for making broths, stews and add to other veggies when making a roast.

    It always bothered me to lose the whole darn thing when I've purchased it for tuna salad. Now, I have it on hand for those items I listed above.

    Happy eating!

    Reply
  • heather

    YES!! freeze waffles! I make bisquik waffles, then flash freeze them on sheet pan. I pop the froen waffles off pan and pop into a freezer bag. Mine fit perfectly in my toaster, quick breakfast. And I can just reuse the bag.

    Reply
  • Angee

    Bell peppers do not freeze well. They're soggy, no longer crisp! They work okay in soups, but that's about it.

    Reply
  • ava tunney

    you can buy some of these foods frozen

    Reply
  • sandy

    I disagree about pasta. I cook 1# pasta al dente, divide in single portions and freeze in plastic storage bags with air expressed. To use I microwave a few minutes. Experiment for your microwave, container and portion size. I am picky about my pasta and can,t tell the difference.

    Reply
  • MYRNA

    One of the things that says to NOT FREEZE is cabbage, but I have this utterly awesome recipe for a "frozen coleslaw" and that does mean cabbage can be frozen, it's crispy and wonderfully flavored. Want the recipe, just get back with me...... I'll be glad to share it with you...but it's NOT your traditional salad dressing, but a sweet vinegar dressing - exceptional

    Reply
  • Syndi

    Hi Myrna,
    I make a vineager cloeslaw at least once a week and would love to have a new receipe. If you want to share it with me, I would really appreciate it.
    Thank you
    Syndi


  • MYRNA

    MOLLY'S FROZEN COLESLAW

    1 med. head cabbage, shredded 1/2 C. carrots, shredded
    1/2 C. green pepper, diced 1 small onion, minced
    1 t. salt

    Dressing:
    1 C. sugar Pepper to taste
    1 C. vinegar 1/2 t. celery seed
    1/4 C. water 1/2 t. mustard seed
    1 t. salt

    Mix cabbage and other prepared vegetables together. Add 1 t. salt. Toss and let set for 1 hours. Drain cabbage as much as possible, squeeze juice out - squeeze hard!!! While the cabbage sets for 1 hour, combine dressing ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer 3-4 minutes and COOL. Toss with well-drained coleslaw mix and spoon into freezer cartons. Label, Date and freeze. Remember -- if you don't eat it all for your BBQ or dinner, simply refreeze it -- that's what is so great about this "Frozen Coleslaw"




  • Deborah

    I would appreciate the recipe


  • KingBrian

    Thanks for the recipe!!


  • Deborah

    Thanks - I'll try it soon !!

    Reply
  • hpena232

    I have tried freezing fresh "cilantro" and "basil" but it hasnt worked for me. They turn brown. Any tips on how to preserve these wonderful herbs?

    Reply
  • runnergirl90

    when you freeze any kind of herb, put it in an icecube tray with water. they freeze in the icecube. my grandmother does it with basil


  • Debbie

    Dry them first, then you can put them in the freezer to retain freshness.


  • Victoria

    Additionally, flour freezes nicely and should be pre-frozen when you bring it home to kill any possible infestations (ugly topic, I know, but flour sometimes comes into your house with little eggs in it). I also now automatically freeze paprika for the same reason. I'm sure lots of spices would fall into this category.

    Reply
  • Gerri Pillarella

    I would love to try your frozen coleslaw recipe, but being a novice cook I have a couple of questions. I don't know what sugar pepper is, could you clarify? Also, you have used t., Is that a teaspoon or a tablespoon? We love coleslaw and this sounds like the perfect solution for when we want it, as opposed to running to the store to buy it. Thanks for your recipe and your help.

    Gerri

    Reply

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