It seems silly, I know, but I really do love my full-size freezer. Why, you ask? For many reasons, but mostly because it has really cut down on the amount of food I throw away and that translates into saving time and money. If done properly, you can freeze almost everything. Let me give you a tour of my freezer…
- Bags of blueberries and strawberries. I buy fresh berries in bulk, but if we don’t finish them off before they go bad they go in the freezer. I lay them out on a parchment paper covered cookie tray and place them in the freezer for up to eight hours. Once individually frozen, I slide them off the cookie tray and into a ziplock bag. Just the other day I took a handful of frozen blueberries out to add to our pancakes. The frozen fruit is also great in smoothies.
- Brown bananas. Just toss them in your freezer as is and pull them out when you have enough to make banana bread or my favorite…Peanut Butter Banana Bread.
- Lots and lots of soup. Whenever I make soup I double the recipe. I mostly use containers that hold two servings. It makes for quicker reheating for lunch or dinner. Every container is labeled with blue painters tape and the name of the soup, date frozen and any special instructions for reheating.
- Bags of tilapia, chicken breasts and drumsticks. Just like the berries, I take the fresh chicken/tilapia and place it on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet. Once frozen individually they go into a ziplock bag. It’s much easier to grab a few pieces for dinner to thaw when they’re not in a frozen mass.
- Dessert, dessert, dessert. You never know when you’re going to have company or need to take dessert to someone’s house. Like the soups, I like to double the recipe for desserts as well. I always wrap my loaves, cupcakes or bunts in plastic wrap and then again in aluminum foil. Always remember to to label everything!
- Frozen vegetables. I buy bags of frozen corn and peas at Costco; we eat them all the time. In the summer, I buy bags of green beans and a bunch of butternut squash at the local farmer’s market. The green beans get blanched before hitting the cookie tray and then into the freezer. The squash I peel and cube and freeze on trays.
- Cranberries. I love cranberries year-round but it’s hard to find them in the stores much after Thanksgiving. I load up the bottom of my freezer with them come November.
- Leftover! Last week’s macaroni and cheese casserole that we didn’t finish, last month’s meatballs and sauce…all in containers and labeled. Frozen leftovers are great to take out when you need a quick dinner or a meal for fewer people than usual.
Don’t have a full-size extra freezer? No worries. I was freezing and making double recipes long before I had my extra freezer. The key is freezing things individually and labeling them well. Happy cooking and freezing!