How to freeze your way to zero food waste
I’ve turned into a bit of a freezer fanatic since I discovered a freezer can be your best friend in the war against food waste! With a third of all food globally being thrown away, food waste being the 3rd largest source of greenhouse gas emissions after the USA & China, and a typical UK family throwing away over £700 of food per year, it’s more critical than ever that we all get familiar with what we can and can’t freeze. So here are my freezer tips, from the obvious to the sublime — enjoy!
- Breads, cakes, pastries — 24 million slices of bread are thrown away by households every day in the UK. Bread, crumpets, pancakes, wraps, croissants, cookies, cakes and more can all be frosted — just pop a small piece of greaseproof paper between pancakes & crumpets so they don’t stick. Whenever you want something just pull it out and it can either be toasted right away, or defrosted in the microwave then toasted
- Milk, gravy, stock & other liquids — Can all be frozen. Just make sure to fill the container about ¾ full to allow for the liquid to expand as it freezes. And if you want to defrost the contents quickly in a microwave, make sure to store in half height containers that will easily fit into the microwave, otherwise you’ll need to leave them out to defrost first
- Cheese — Can absolutely be frozen! However make sure to chop it up into blocks so you can take out just what you need. And beware it does tend to go quite crumbly after freezing so is best for cooking rather than sandwiches (although if you cut it carefully it can work in sandwiches too!)
- Fruit & veg — I tend to chop up any remaining fresh fruit & veg before I go on hols and freeze them in tupperware; frozen fruit is especially good for smoothies! Leftover cooked veg can also be frozen and then reheated too
- Herbs — Can be frozen by chopping them up and then popping them in an ice cube tray with either some water or oil. You can then use them for stewing or frying directly from the freezer.
- Wine — Ever found yourself with the ends of a bottle of wine and not sure what to do with it? I freeze the remains in a jam jar which means I always have some white wine on hand for a risotto, or red wine for a stew!
- Meats — Cooked, processed and raw meat can all be frozen, just make sure to do this before the Use By date, if there is one. It’s also really important to make sure meat is properly dethawed before reheating, and when you re-heat it make sure it’s piping hot
- Eggs — Believe it or not, you can freeze raw eggs! You just need to make sure you either whisk the egg first, or separate the whites and the yolks and freeze them separately, although the yolks can lose their quality being frozen separately
- Sunday roast — A favourite of mine is to cook extra whenever I do a Sunday roast, and then freeze the roast potatoes, parsnips, brussel sprouts, Yorkshire pudding, and even the meat, in separate tupperware containers. Whenever I’m having a lazy Sunday I can then just pull a ready made roast out of the freezer, result! For everything apart from the meat I pop it straight into the oven and reheat from frozen, whereas I generally let the meat de-thaw first.
Someone recently asked if there’s anything I wouldn’t freeze, and I’ve honestly struggled to think of anything! How about you?