General ramblings

Learn to love your freezer…

January 29, 2013

I LOVE our freezers.

That’s right-plural…!

We have 3 drawers underneath the fridge in the kitchen, and then someone gave us their old freezer when we moved, so we have two! Yay!

Our kindly donated freezer, with it's improvised "Le Creuest" sticker...

Our kindly donated freezer, with it’s improvised “Le Creuest” sticker…

They are both rammed full of all sorts of things, and I am a little obsessive about making things to freeze. To the point I get slightly twitchy if we actually take meals out of the freezer to eat. I guess it’s a comfort thing knowing that they are there if we really need them…(wierd I know)

In the spirit of ‘Waste not, want not’ we all need to start embracing our freezers….

I saw this great post recently on Pinterest (I think it was tweeted by @fifesmallholder-you can find their lovely blog here).

It is called “31 Things you can Freeze to save Time and Money”, (now that should get your attention!) on One Good Thing by Jillie.

So it got me thinking…

Here are the things I already do/freeze to save time and money:

  • If I’m making biscuits or cookies, I always make a double batch, and then freeze a load. It takes no extra effort, and saves time next time you run out of biscuits
  • Same goes with bread or rolls, or hot cross buns, or welsh cakes….
  • We buy big bottles of milk and freeze them, in a (vain) attempt to avoid that ‘just popping in for some milk, and spending £30’ scenario

freezer31

  • I will often deliberately overcook, or batch cook some big meals, to portion up and freeze for days when I know time will be tight
  • Any bananas that are starting to go a little too black get made into smoothies, OR frozen in their skins. They can then be defrosted and used in baking, or smoothies. Or if you are super-organised, you can peel them, and chop them up before freezing and then add to smoothies, to avoid that slightly warm smoothie thing that can sometimes happen
  • You can do the same with any manky bits of fruit at all really
  • Pasta sauces-again, make double. I do this with tomato sauce, and also cheese sauce too
  • Ginger-the big old root stuff-we freeze it as we never get through a big ‘knob’ (cue sniggering) in time, and then grate it frozen into whatever we want it for
  • Soup-always make a big batch, and freeze some for another time

Here are some things I knew you could freeze, but always forget to:

  • Butter-never tried freezing a whole block, but have frozen homemade garlic butter before, which seemed to come out ok…
  • Herbs-you are supposed to chop them and freeze them in water in ice cube trays I think-I have never got round to this
  • Stock-You can freeze it if you are good enough to make your own. I am not unfortunately
  • Pesto-I keep meaning to try this-make some pesto, and then freeze in ice cube trays, ready to whip out and add to pasta
  • Chopped veg-a good tip from Jillie is to freeze them flat in a freezer bag, and then as they are freezing wedge portion sized ‘score lines’ into them, so you can break off just as much as you want
  • Smoothies and fruit juice-if these are ever reduced or on offer, snap ’em up, and stash ’em in the freezer

Here are some things I wasn’t really sure whether or not you can freeze, but it turns out you can!:

  • Rice-I think the key is getting it to cool down quickly, otherwise it can give you food poisoning… Jillie recommends spreading it out on some parchment paper on a baking tray and freezing it straight away. Then when it has frozen you can scoop it into freezer bags
  • Pasta-mine never seems that great second time around after it has been in the freezer. Will try again!
  • Mashed potato-Not sure why this didn’t occur to me-I freeze shepherds pie etc all the time, but have never frozen straight mashed potato when we have a glut

And here are some things it would never have occurred to me to freeze, but I’m going to start!:

  • Eggs-I freeze the whites, but apparently you can freeze the whole eggs too (not in their shells…)
  • Lemon/lime juice and zest. We often end up with a bullet hard zestless lemon in the fridge about 2 weeks after we have used the zest in some recipe or other. Well no more! Now I am going to freeze the juice in, yes you guessed it, ice cube trays!!
  • Buttercream. Who knew?!
  • Crisps and pretzels. I know. Slightly wierd. I would have thought they would go soft. Will let you know…
  • Sandwiches-make them in advance (without the salad-y bits) and then smugly pull them out of the freezer ready for a ‘hassle-free’ work-day morning (is there such a thing?)

freezer21

So there we have it.

Now, where can I find some secondhand ice cube trays…??

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11 Comments

  • Reply Zero Waste Week-Day 5 | My Make Do and Mend Year September 5, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    […] 1) Smoothies-any slightly manky fruit can be instantly disguised and made infinitely more edible (drinkable?) when blitzed up with a banana and a spoon of yoghurt2) My kids seem to generate a bread crust mountain every 3 or 4 days. It is very annoying. I have taken to freezing the crusts, along with any half eaten bits of toast or roll, and then making them into Dead Bread Pudding when I have enough. I have a savoury bag and a sweet bag in the freezer-don’t muddle them up…3) Frittatas-a brilliant way to use up leftovers-I bung any leftovers in a pan (pasta, risotto etc all work well) and heat it all up with a glug of oil and then pour 6 beaten eggs on top and cook until it’s cooked. I usually get away with this and the Smalls eat it without comment..!4) Soup-any cooked veggies can get whizzed up with some stock into soup. If it’s Summer and roasting hot (?) then freeze it5) Quiche-like the frittata thing, a quiche is a great vehicle for hiding leftovers in. It’s even better if there is enough left for lunch the next day-leftovers from leftovers-doesn’t get any better than that..!6) Gnocchi-I was super brave and had a go at making this last year, and it’s great! A fabulous way of using up leftover mash7) Dead things and custard/Dead things tart tartin-these appealing sounding puds are basically code for frying up fruit that is past it’s best in butter and sugar and then covering it puff pastr/cake and/or custard. Thereby making it much healthier…8) So that brings us onto custard-a fabulous way to use up egg yolks. I had a go last year, with this recipe, but now prefer to use one that was left in the comments:In a cold saucepan beat 2 egg yolks with 2 tablespoons sugar, mix in 1 heaped tablespoon cornflour. Stir in 350ml milk, pinch of salt and large piece lemon peel (without pith). (I leave out the lemon peel and use a half tsp vanilla extract) Heat slowly stirring continuously until thickened. Remove lemon peel. Eat custard.9) The Veg Machine-hubby found this great app from Riverford on his phone-you tell it what veg you have and it comes up with some recipes!10) The freezer is your friend. I freeze pretty much anything. I blogged ages ago about it, and had forgotten how much stuff you could actually freeze-check it out! […]

  • Reply Andrea McCulloch January 30, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Good luck with this. Some years ago I bought a book called ‘Not Buying It’ written by a American who spent the entire book philosophising about the “not buying for a year” experience and very little telling us what she actually did to manage.

    If this blog becomes a book (and I hope it does,) yours will be so much better. Please do bear in mind though, that for many people not buying new is a long -term reality forced upon them by economic circumstances – I bought India Knight’s The Thrift Book and her attitude of it all being jolly good fun when you are used to John Lewis and Waitrose really grated on me.

    Some practicals. Look carefully for freezing instructions when you come across ‘whoopsied’ items – I agree, it’s really surprising what can be frozen.
    I’ve been doing much of what you do for many, many years but it’s only in the last year that I discovered you can freeze whole salamis and packets of fresh pasta, for example.

    Ice cube trays – you could perhaps buy a six pack of whoopsied child-sized fromage frais and use those You could empty the fromage frais into a larger container and freeze that, or scoop the fromage frais into egg-cups to serve.
    Novelty-shaped ice cube trays frequently make an appearance at car boot sales and charity shops, if you are not bothered about the shape of the cubes. Though the unused ex-Ann Summers ice – cube tray I came across in a CS some time ago definitely wouldn’t have made it into my kitchen…!

    • Reply Jen January 30, 2013 at 5:45 pm

      Hi Andrea. Would LOVE to do a book.. 🙂
      I am very aware that lots of people make do and mend out of financial necessity, and do try to tread sensitively.
      Great tips for the freezing things, and for the fromage frais pots!! I am with you on the Ann Summers ice cube trays….
      Thanks for reading, and leaving such useful tips!

  • Reply Claire Benson January 30, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Second hand ice cube trays – I saw some a few months back at our local charity shop.

    I freeze blackberries straight after picking – the freezer’s still full of 450g bags (in case I want to make jam) but I like to keep some for rhubarb crumble season – they are delicious together. I have found the key to getting lots of blackberries in the freezer is to take a man blackberry picking. They are fiercely competitive!

    • Reply Jen January 30, 2013 at 1:58 pm

      Thanks Claire. We didn’t get to go blackberrying this year, but will make sure we make it this year 🙂

  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) January 30, 2013 at 3:39 am

    I buy up the “whoops” in Asda (reduced food) mostly bread,fruit & veg but sometimes free range chicken & fish, what I can’t use right away gets frozen. I also make large hotpots or currys & freeze into portions for workdays. Always remember to keep fresh food you put into freezer away from already frozen food. Seafood like prawns, Icecream etc need to be kept frozen solid with no temperature fluctuations or you risk food poisoning… so keep in a separate drawer or use freezer blocks to divide. A tip for those with a chest freezer … once frozen food can be stored like a filing cabinet with labels showing on the edge & large items lift easier from the bottom if you leave in the plastic bag you don’t have to reach in so deep !

    • Reply Jen January 30, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      MOre great tips! Thanks Vivienne 🙂

  • Reply Sue January 29, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    I love my freezers too! i too have a big one which gets a half a pig or lamb in it every now and then! Half a lemon left over? Slice it, freeze it, ready made ice and a slice for your G&T or water! Butter freezes well in whole pats do it regularly when yeo valley in offer. Yogurts freeze well, herbs during summer abundance, made raspberry/strawberry jam in the middle of winter from excess fruit from summer. If you cook a ham joint and get fed up of it after the third day running, chop into chunks, freeze in container and then use it for an instant spaghetti carbonara by stir frying for a few minutes before adding the other ingredients! Can’t think of anything else.

    • Reply Jen January 29, 2013 at 10:59 pm

      Some great tips! I especially like the G&T one 😉 Thankyou!

  • Reply Robyn January 29, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    I can’t imagine life without the freezers. we originally got the second one to enable us to buy a whole lamb, or half a pig, with the idea that we could just switch it off when it wasn’t being used for that purpose. Of course that doesn’t happen, it’s in constant use and normally full to bursting!
    Mash freezes superbly but be prepared for it to be a bit watery when you defrost it. give it a good beating as you’re heating it up and it’s fine though. I make breadcrumbs from the end of the loaf and freeze those in plastic boxes – just take them out and give them a shake about every hour or so while they’re freezing.

    • Reply Jen January 29, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      I would be soooo lost without our freezers! Thanks for the tups 🙂

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