Did You Know…?

freezer_openThere are many foods I didn’t know could be frozen, saving me from the inevitable time when I need something like buttermilk, which I never have on hand when I come across a recipe that calls for it.  Learning this led me on an internet search to see what other seldomly stocked foods can be frozen for use later.

You Can Safely Freeze:

  • Buttermilk:  Fill an empty ice cube tray.  Freeze overnight and transfer frozen cubes to a freezer bag.  Keeps up to 3 months and each cube slot measures 1 ounce (1/8th of a Cup)
  • Bananas:  Freeze them overnight when they are at their ripest point (when skin is browning but not going bad) in their skins. Using a sharp knife slice the frozen bananas in half lengthwise and peel off the skins.  Store in freezer bags for use in smoothies.  Homemade Frozen Bananas: Put two frozen halves together with a popsicle stick between them and coat with melted chocolate. Immediately sprinkle with/roll in nuts, coconut, or rainbow/other sprinkles and place on a pan lined with waxed paper.  Freeze an hour or two and enjoy for dessert.
  • Butter: This is particularly good to know since I rarely need unsalted butter and buy it 1 pound at a time (4 – 1/2 Cup cubes) when it’s on sale.  Now I can cut cubes in half  (1/4 C portions) and freeze them in freezer bags for later use!
  • Cheese: Don’t freeze whole chunks – it crumbles when you defrost and try to slice it.  Instead grate or shred it and freeze in 1 Cup portions in zip bags for recipes at a later date.
  • Eggs:  Remove the shells and freeze individually in snack sized zip bags.  You can also freeze egg whites separately from their yolks.  I’d recommend marking the bags with the number of egg whites or whole eggs you freeze per bag to make using later easier.  Frozen “pre-made” omelettes:  In a large measuring cup crack the desired number of eggs and whisk .  Stir in 2 TBLS milk, 1/4 Cup each chopped bell pepper (or any pepper you desire) and chopped ham (bacon, turkey, chicken breast, ground beef, sausage, etc.) and 2 TBLS chopped onion (if desired).  Pour into sandwich sized zip bags and freeze until needed. Great weekday breakfast option.  You can remove a bag to the refrigerator the night before to thaw, pour into a preheated pan to cook, sprinkle with a bit of frozen grated cheese & eat right before running out the door the next morning.
  • Garlic: Separate cloves but leave skin on and freeze in a doubled zip bag to keep freezer odor free.
  • Wine:  Unlike hard alcohol, wine does freeze solid.  Freeze in 1 ounce portions in an ice cube tray and transfer to a freezer bag to use in sauces or other recipes.
  • Yogurt: Measure it into 2 to 4 TBLS (aka 2 to 4 oz or 1/4 to 1/2 Cup) portions and freeze in zip bags.  Don’t forget to mark the bags for later recipe use.
  • Lunch meat: Can be safely frozen in zip bags for up to 2 months.
  • Bread:  You can freeze a loaf of sliced bread for up to 3 months and you don’t even need to thaw it before eating it. The freezer is a better storage option than the fridge, which can dry bread out.
  •  Milk / Half & Half:  Milk can be frozen for 3 months.  Half & half stays good for 4 months in the freezer, but never freeze heavy cream.  Cream doesn’t freeze well at all.  I never understood why my mother-in-law always shook the milk before pouring out of the carton, now I do!  She kept it frozen in the chest freezer in the garage and was breaking up the ice.
  • Grains:  Quinoa, farro and bulgur last 3 months in the cupboard but up to 6 months in the freezer!
  • Tofu:  Chop it in chunks and freeze for up to 5 months to add to smoothies, soups, stews, etc.
  • Tortillas:  That at room temperature, not in the microwave.

Important things to remember about freezing any food are:

  • Make sure you are using a bag or container meant for freezer use to ward off freezer burn, keep smells from escaping into the freezer, and keep your food fresher longer
  • Remember to mark the date frozen as well as the last date you should use the food directly on the bag or on a piece of tape with a permanent marker.
  • Don’t over stuff your freezer.  A well organized freezer gives you the ability to easily see what you have on hand and helps food freeze faster/stay frozen because cooled air can flow between and around the packages.

Are you on Facebook?  You might be interested in the things I may not devote an entire blog post to: recipes, food facts, nutritional information, photos and other things that make my mouth water. I may not write a blog post every day, but there are daily updates to my This Girl Loves To Eat community at: https://www.facebook.com/ThisGirlLovesHerFood

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