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This month it is all about Simplicity here at MAK. How to organize and streamline your kitchen, must have kitchen tools, how to use your leftovers. Some pretty fabulous topics.

Today, let us look at things we can and/or should be freezing. I despise waste, especially any coming from the kitchen. As far as food preservation goes, there are lots of options: canning, dehydrating/drying, using a root cellar, and freezing to name a few.

Why Freeze?

Save Money. Buying things in bulk is usually cheaper. Buy bulk, freeze. When things go on sale, take advantage. Stock up, freeze. One of our contributors waits for raw milk to go on sale from $8.99 to .99 and buys the store out (yes, you can freeze milk)!

Save Time. Below are recipes for several freezer meals/dishes. When you have some extra time, use it to set yourself up when things are busy.

Reduce Waste. Have you seen the documentary about America’s food waste, Dive? People waste and throw away a lot of things, but there is no reason we should throw out food! If you haven’t had those leftovers from Monday night yet, don’t throw them out-freeze them. Produce about to go bad? Freeze it! More tips for reducing food waste here.

stocked freezer

Containers to Use

Glass works great for liquids, bulk items like nuts, and homemade things like applesauce or purees. Just be sure to leave 1/2 inch to in inch of “headspace” when freezing liquids–room for expansion to prevent the jar from busting (I’ve made that messy mistake). Mason jars work great, but if you are looking to save money, then save your old salsa, marinara sauce, mayonnaise jars.

Plastic works great as well. Plastic tupperware or old yogurt containers can safely house your liquids or bulk as well. I use these as a last resort, when my glass is gone because you can’t see what’s inside. To help with that, simply use tape or a permanent marker and write on the top and/or side what is inside.

Freezer bags can be used for sliced bread, scraps for veggie broth, breakfast burritos, and bean (or meat) burgers.

Vacuum sealer bags work great for freezing meat. If you buy your meat fresh, freeze it first, then seal it as you don’t want any liquid to get sucked into your vacuum sealer. Label with what the meat is and the date and use within 6-12 months.

peaches in ice

Blanching Vegetables

Vegetables need to be blanched before they are frozen. Blanching simply scolds the vegetable to prevent the action of enzymes, by doing so the vegetable will retain its texture, flavor, and color. To do this, peel/skin then cut into bite-size pieces, place the vegetables in boiling water for specific amount of time, then immediately move to a bowl/sink of ice water to prevent the vegetable from cooking. If blanching sounds like too much work, check out Joanna’s Lazy Freezing Techniques.

Here are some blanching times for commonly frozen vegetables.

Asparagus, corn (off the cob), carrots, squash, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet peppers: 2-3 minutes.

Potatoes: 6 minutes.

Flash Freezing

This method allows you to easily remove only part of something that’s frozen. For example, when freezing cooked rice, beans, berries, or other fruit lay flat on a cookie sheet/baking stone and freeze for 2-3 hours. This allows them to freeze individually. Then place them in your container. Now, when you go to get some berries for your smoothie, only what you need will come out.

What You Should/Can Freeze

Produce

Most fresh vegetables and fruit, dried fruit

Meat

Fresh or frozen meats, cooked or uncooked, (including bacon, sausage, and deli meat for 2-3 months)

Strawberry Mini Muffins

Baking Supplies/Goods

Flours (including but not limited to wheat, almond, coconut, rye, ground flaxseed)

Baked goods (muffins, pancakes, french toast, waffles, banana bread)

Pizza dough, pie dough (or a whole pie!)

Homemade or store bought bread, sliced

Raw cookie dough, baked cookies

Dairy

Cheese (tends to get crumbly, so shred/cube/slice before freezing)

Butter (sticks are especially useful when making pies that call for frozen butter)

Eggs, cooked or uncooked (raw eggs need to be cracked and placed in container or ice cube trays)

Milk (look for raw to go on sale, stock up, freeze)

Chicken Broth

Homemade Goods

Broths (vegetable, chicken, turkey, beef)

Pumpkin puree

 

Applesauce

Pizza sauce

Jam

Pasta sauce

Ketchup ( recipe on Ezer Wife soon)

chili 2

Freezer Meals

Crockpot Refried Beans

Bean Burgers

Breakfast Burritos

Porridge

Pot Pies

Most soups/stews

Freezer Treats

GF Peanut butter cups

Fudge drops

Cupcakes (one of our contributors makes a grain-free kind and sends them with her kids to school when someone has a birthday!)

Fore even more delicious, whole food meals to freeze, check out this post. While some freezing takes a little preparation, sometimes you can literally toss goods into the freezer. If you are looking to save money (aren’t we all?) then consider buying in bulk or when things are on sale. The freezer is your friend, he’s happy when he’s full.

Do you freeze anything that wasn’t listed here? Was anything on this list surprising to you?

 

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6 Comments

  1. Thanks for this. We plan to freeze, can, and dry a lot this summer and this will be helpful. I added it to my pinterest.

    Reply

    • NicoleW, that’s great. I am new to canning, I got a water bath canner last year and preserved jam and salsa. We planted as many tomato plants as we could in our little space, and I want to make salsa, marinara sauce, and ketchup! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply

  2. Thank you for the tips! I am planting my first, organic garden this Summer and I am being so optimistic that I think I will have a surplus! LOL – This gives me lots of good ideas! Great blog 🙂

    Reply

    • BrittneyD- Thanks for the encouragement. I too am putting in my first garden. A couple more tips not regarding freezing that I just came across is to store squash and onions (and maybe other veggies) so they aren’t touching one another, it leads to quicker ripening and potential rotting. I’m actually hanging my onions in pantyhose with clothes pins separating them. 🙂 I just wanted to share that with you since I am learning about gardening myself. What all are you planting?

      Reply

  3. Great advice! I only have the freezer above the refrigerator, but even so I manage to freeze a lot of things. Two you didn’t mention: Toast old bread or unwanted crusts or heels, make it into crumbs by hand or in the food processor, and freeze 1-cup portions to use in recipes. Freeze some orange peels when you get nice thick ones, and use them in cranberry bread–or freeze a whole lot and then make candied orange peels.

    The bags inside boxes of cereal, crackers, and similar foods make great freezer bags. They don’t have zip-tops, but I just leave some extra space at the top to fold over, then put a rubber band around to hold it closed.

    Reply

  4. […] $10-20/mo16. Meal plan17. Make a grocery list18. Just shop organic for the dirty dozen19. Freeze leftovers20. Preserve foods by canning21. Stock up when you find a deal22. Buy a quarter […]

    Reply

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