After an un-resounding yes to this post on Twitter, I am finally settling down to write it. I didn’t realise things like this interested you so much, but I am glad that I am not alone in my love of freezers. Totally a sentence I never thought I’d write, but alas I am totally here for it. Yes freezer crew! The freezer is one of the best tools in the home and if you use it properly, you can not only save yourself money, but time. The added bonus is that if you get creative, the freezer can turn things from minus to major pretty quick.
OK, I literally share this tip with everyone, but it’s a gooden. Making pesto from scratch is expensive, but I would much rather know exactly what was going into my pesto over buying a jar. I also enjoy making my own combinations, changing the nut, using different vegetables, you get the idea. My daughter also happens to love pesto, I perk up her vegetables with it, she has it with pasta, on chicken etc. So my freezer tip here is, make a batch, grab a silicone ice cube tray and decant the pesto into perfect size portions. When you need some, simply pop out one or two straight into the pan/ ping in the microwave for thirty seconds/ or allow to defrost. Saves the pesto going to waste in the fridge or binning leftovers (absolute sacrilege.)
So many possibilities here, recipe calls for half of a lemon or lime? Either slice the rest and freeze for a refreshing slice in water (honestly it’s made me drink more), or a cocktail, G&T, anything. Or you could squeeze the juice into an ice cube tray and when a recipe calls for half a lemon/lime again you have exactly the right amount. Other things I’ve done is save citrus slices from seasonal fruit (like blood oranges) for summer sangria or mocktails. Or simply defrost the slices and use to decorate cakes. You’ll never throw half a citrus fruit away again.
Ah, the humble potato, something I forever used to leave on the side until it started going green or growing roots. Not any more friends, nope. Sweet potatoes are my favourite to freeze, because I adore wedges or chips made from them. Simply slice up your potatoes into chips or wedges, add them to a freezer bag or container with 1 tbsp smoked paprika, a pinch of chilli flakes, a pinch of salt and 2 tbsp olive oil. Close and shake until coated, freeze and when ready, cook at 200c for 35-40 mins. Perfect, tasty and brilliant if for some reason you have half a potato.
Leftover mash? Allow to cool and form into a croquette, coat in breadcrumbs and freeze flat. Amazing potato croquettes for another time. Forgot to buy roasters for your Sunday lunch? Get ahead and part boil some potatoes, drain and toss until edges are a little fluffy, season and add to a freezer bag with a little oil. Shake and then freeze flat until solid, then you can stand them up. Simply toss into a hot baking tray with hot oil, some rosemary and sea salt and cook on 200-220c for an hour.
I shouldn’t have to tell you that eating seasonal fruit is best, but if you’re craving summer berries in the middle of winter, buy frozen bags. Things like mango, pineapple and peaches also freeze well. You can freeze bananas that you think have seen better days (unless you’re putting them into my famous banana bread!) Frozen bananas are great for smoothies, or you could make these ice lollies.
But the most fun? Nice-cream, simply chop the bananas and freeze flat until completely frozen. Then, to make your nice-cream add them to a food processor with any flavour you so desire. A tsp of cocoa powder for chocolate, some strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter. The possibilities are endless and it’s a healthy way to indulge, super great for the kids too. Smoothie bags are also a great way to grab, blend and go. Grab some freezer bags or containers, add your ingredients like chopped pineapple, some kale, chia seeds and chopped banana. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible, then freeze flat. When you’re ready simply add to a blender with your chosen liquid.
Herbs & Butter
I’ve popped these two together as you can totally make tasty herbed butters, which are great for veg, meat or fish. Or you can freeze herbs in olive oil. Simply add your chosen herbs to an ice cube tray and top up with olive oil. I like to freeze tarragon for chicken, or Italian style herbs for soups, parsley for fish etc. It’s also a great way to use up wilting herbs you know you’re more than likely chuck in the bin. For the butters, the possibilities are endless. Simply buy a block of butter, allow to warm to room temperature, bash flat onto some baking paper and then add your chosen ingredients. Mix it all together and then roll up, twisting the ends like a cracker. You can then slice off sections when you need it. I like making garlic and herb butter for potatoes.
Ok, I’m not taking about freezing burger baps (although you totally can). The main thing here is breadcrumbs, you guys, if I hear you’ve thrown away a few slices of bread ever again I’ll be disappointed. Did you know that bread is one of the biggest contributors to landfill? Yep, and if it gets to the stage where you have too many breadcrumbs, still blend the bread and feed some birds. Don’t chuck it in the bin, no sir.
Ok, so stale bread works best, any kind of bread, just let it go stale. Best way to do this is just sit it out on a plate for an hour or so…mega stale. Then, simply rip it into chunks, add it to a food processor and blitz until you have a crumb like consistency. Add it to a freezer bag, where you can either keep it plain or add things like garlic powder, grated Parmesan cheese, finely chopped chillies or herbs. Then you can either top mac and cheese, pasta bakes, toast them off to make a crunchy topping for fresh pasta. Make them super herby and add them to fish, so many options. Also, bread and butter pudding, totally freezable and delicious.
Bag & Dump
Dump bags are great, especially when you are short of time. These work best for things like soup, or if you have a meal that involves a lot of chopping. I often chop onions for my husband and freeze them, it’s the one thing he really struggles with (all the eye watering and overwhelming smell.) If you’ve had a long day and still want to eat a home cooked meal, dump bags are the way forward. Simply spend an hour week chopping and it will save you a lot of time every evening. You could make my sweet potato soup, those ingredients freeze well, minus spices and liquid. Or as mentioned above, frozen root vegetables keep well. So if you fancy a bunch of roast veg, all you have to do is dump and cook. Along with smoothie bags, meat in marinades and most one pot dinners.