I was literally throwing money away every year.
Now, I’m happy to say that I have discovered how to save myself a ton of cash. The solution was there all along, right in front of me! What was it?
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Your Freezer Can Save You Money!
I tried, and failed several times, to use the food in my fridge before it all wilted or spoiled. Each week, I head off to the supermarket armed with my list, confident that this will be the week I finally cook and eat all of my groceries. Of course, within the next few days, I ended up dumping half of that produce in the garbage, all the while, kicking myself for letting this happen again.
Proper use of your freezer can save you hundreds of dollars each year. In addition to that, freezer meals are convenient and save you time and money. If you’re thinking that you only have a small amount of space in your freezer, don’t worry. Simply using smart storage techniques will get you utilizing whatever room you have available.
What Will You Need?
I prefer to store my food in freezer Ziploc bags. Regular bags don’t prevent freezer burn. The size you use will depend on your family’s needs.
Lay them flat, squeeze all the air out and stack them up. Once the contents are frozen, you can stand the bags upright, if you prefer. You can also use aluminum foil pans so you don’t tie up your casserole dishes.
Label the bags or foil pans using a permanent Sharpie. Adhesive labels can fall off after a while in the freezer. If this happens, good luck guessing what you have stored. Write the name of the contents and the date to use the food by directly on the bag or pan.
What Can You Freeze?
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering what can you freeze and the answer to that is— just about anything! Of course, you can store meal-prepped dinners or leftovers in the freezer but there’s so much more you can do to save you time and money.
I’m sure this one is obvious to most of you. Meats, poultry and fish are great for freezing especially when you buy in bulk. Store cooked chicken or ground beef in the freezer, as well as chopped raw chicken with added marinade. These tricks will save you time when you’re ready to cook. Your marinated chicken will have absorbed all that flavour and your cooked meats can be thawed, then added to various meals.
Most proteins last between 3-6 months and poultry can last up to nine months in the freezer.
Now, this is where I got the most excited when I started freezing food. I knew you could freeze vegetables because they sell in the supermarkets that way all the time but I had never actually thought of doing it myself. You can store pretty much any vegetable in the freezer as is. The great thing is that your vegetables stay fresh much longer when frozen and they retain their nutrients. Frozen vegetables can last up to one year.
I prefer to wash and chop my vegetables first so that I don’t need to do it when I actually want them. Store your vegetables in portions so you don’t have to thaw a huge bag when you just need a small quantity.
Keep in mind that Irish potatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, endive, lettuce, parsley, radishes and celery do not freeze well.
Bread was another pain in my side. I don’t consume a ton of bread so I would ultimately throw most of the bag away before I started storing it in the freezer. I simply take the bread I need out of the freezer and let it thaw, then toast or grill it. It tastes as fresh as the day I bought it.
You can also store uncooked pie crusts and pizza dough in the freezer, as well as cookies.
I love fruit and always like to have some on hand. Sometimes though, it goes bad quicker than I can eat it especially when my mango tree is bearing fruit. Now I store fruit that I know I can’t or won’t eat before it goes bad in the freezer. Fruits can be stored up to one whole year when frozen.
Frozen fruit tends to be a bit mushier than fresh, so incorporate the frozen ones into recipes rather than eating on their own. Frozen fruit makes awesome smoothies as the fruit adds yummy flavour and you don’t need to add ice. (No watery smoothies!) You can also add the fruit to oatmeal, muffins etc. Sliced frozen fruit added to plain or sparkling water and juices makes for a fun treat. Not only does it look amazing, it adds flavour to plain old water too.
Peel your bananas and store in a Ziploc bag before freezing. Mango, pineapple and grapes all freeze really well.
Tired of your milk spoiling before you can dunk your cookies into it? Store it in the freezer. Just be sure to leave room at the top of the container because it will expand. Hard cheeses such as cheddar can also be frozen. Shred the cheese before hand, so it’s not a pain to get what you need later.
Whole eggs and yolks don’t fare so well in the freezer but egg whites do. Place egg whites in an ice-cube tray and then pop them into a Ziploc bag for easy use.
Herbs And Other Flavourings
If you have a herb garden at home, this last category may be particularly useful to you. Chop herbs and sprinkle into an ice-cube tray. Add just enough olive oil to cover the herbs and freeze. Once frozen, you can throw the cubes into a bag.
Use this same method with stocks and pastes. Freeze into cubes and store in bags. When you need them, add the herbs, stock or paste to your meals for delicious flavour.
Ginger can be stored whole in the freezer too. It’s easy to grate into foods when you are cooking.
See the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s list of foods that should not be stored in the freezer, here.
Now, that I let you in on the secret to possibly saving hundreds of dollars yearly, I’ll bet you are just as excited as I was to begin storing your foods in the freezer. That’s why I’d like to introduce you to the Ultimate Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle. The super bundle is an incredible collection of 38 resources that costs just $47!
One of those resources is a book called The Ultimate Guide To Freezer Cooking by Crystal Barton. This book contains everything you need to know about freezer cooking.