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10 Foods you Didn’t know You Could Freeze

Unlocking the Potential: Foods You Didn't Know You Could Freeze

Freezing food has long been a go-to method for preserving freshness, extending shelf life, and reducing waste. While the usual suspects like meat, vegetables, and fruits are common candidates for freezing, there's a wide array of surprising foods you might not have considered freezing. In this article, we will look into 10 unexpected foods that can be successfully frozen, offering both convenience and less food waste. Some of those, you may already freeze, but some may come as a surprise, so let's go:

1. Bread: Do you often find yourself with leftover bread that goes stale before you can finish it? Freeze it! Slice the bread (if it’s not sliced already) before freezing, and you'll have ready-to-toast slices for sandwiches or breakfast. It's a game-changer for keeping your bread fresh or for stocking up on bargains from the clearance shelf and storing them in the freezer.

2. Milk: Milk is not just for the fridge; you can also keep it in the freezer. Pour milk into airtight containers, leaving some room for expansion. When you need it, simply thaw it in the refrigerator. Remember to shake it well after thawing to restore its original consistency. If you don't have an airtight container, just pour a little bit out of the plastic container it comes in, and you are good to go. Touching on the use-by dates of the milk, use your senses. I've found that milk lasts a good few days after the use-by date, and if it is skimmed, it can last way over a week after the date.

3. Eggs: Surprisingly, you can freeze eggs, but not in their shells. Crack the eggs into a muffin tin or ice cube tray, freeze until solid, and then transfer the egg "cubes" to a container for future use. You can freeze them scrambled or not; the choice is up to you. You can also freeze them in a ziplock bag. Just watch out for that freezer burn. These frozen eggs or egg portions are perfect for baking or making omelets.

4. Herbs: Fresh herbs are a fantastic addition to any dish, but they tend to wilt quickly in the fridge. To preserve them, chop the herbs and freeze them in ice cube trays with a little water or oil. This results in herb-infused cubes that are ready for use in your cooking.

Alternative TIP: If you really don't have the space in your freezer, consider dehydrating or drying your herbs. This way, you don't need to worry about freezer space, and dried herbs last for years.

5. Avocado: Avocados, when ripe, can be quite finicky. If you find yourself with an excess, consider pureeing them and freezing in an airtight container or as cubes. Adding a touch of lemon juice helps prevent browning.

Alternative TIP: You can also make guacamole and freeze that too; it freezes very well. This can be a lifesaver if you are pushed for time.

6. Cheese: Hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan freeze surprisingly well. Grate or cut the cheese into portions before freezing. You'll have readily available cheese for your favorite recipes, even if it's just for sprinkling on top. In many instances, I don't even bother cutting the cheese and just freeze it as it is; once defrosted, it will still last you a while in the fridge.

7. Yogurt: Yogurt is another surprising item that you can successfully freeze. If you have more yogurt than you can consume before its expiration date, put it in the freezer. Keep in mind that the texture may change slightly after thawing, but it's perfect for smoothies or cooking.

Alternative TIP: You can even stick a wooden spoon before freezing to create a healthy ice cream snack for yourself or your child.

8. Cooked Rice: Planning your meal prep in advance? Cooked rice can be frozen for future use. Make sure to cool it down before freezing and store it in portion-sized containers. This is especially convenient when you need a quick side dish.

9. Tomato Paste: Many recipes call for just a small amount of tomato paste, leaving you with the rest of the can. Instead of letting it go to waste, freeze the extra tomato paste in tablespoon-sized portions. This way, you'll always have it on hand when a recipe calls for it.

Alternative TIP: If you always find yourself with leftover tomato paste and you don't use it often, consider buying tomato powder, which can be used to make a paste and it keeps for a very long time in your pantry without the need to be refrigerated or frozen.

10. Wine: Leftover wine from an open bottle can be a common dilemma. If you have some wine that you are really unable to drink, then freeze it in ice cube trays. The wine cubes can be used for cooking, particularly in sauces and stews. This not only prevents waste but adds flavor to your dishes. I must say that I don't have that kind of dilemma in my household as wine here just doesn't hang around, but I know some people do, so bear that in mind.

Alternative TIP: If you feel you really don't want to freeze the wine, as space may be an issue, put a muslin cloth over the top of your wine bottle and set it aside; in a few months, you will have red wine vinegar, voila!

Freezing food is a versatile and eco-friendly way to extend the life of a wide variety of ingredients. By knowing which foods you can freeze and how to do it properly, you can reduce food waste, save money, and streamline your meal preparation. The next time you find yourself considering tossing something out, think twice and consider freezing it instead. You might be pleasantly surprised by the convenience it adds to your culinary adventures. So, start exploring the world of freezer-friendly foods and unlock their potential to make your kitchen more efficient and less wasteful.

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