Monday, July 22, 2013

5 Foods you can Freeze

In the busyness of life it is nice to have some little short-cuts to save both time and money in the kitchen.  One of the best ways to do this is to use your freezer to great advantage.  A while ago I posted on my facebook page a tip to cook double the amount of rice you need and then freeze half to use another time.  I was surprised at the number of Mums that had never heard of this and weren't sure if the rice would turn out ok once defrosted.  That got me thinking about some of the 'strange' things I freeze that work well for me.

  1. Cooked Rice - When I need to cook rice, I always cook double or triple the amount I need, then immediately freeze the extra in 'freezer to microwave' containers to use another time.  I cannot even tell the difference between re-heated frozen rice and freshly cooked rice, and its a god-send when I'm busy or tired to pull out rice from the freezer and either a frozen casserole or pop something easy in the oven like store-made enchiladas.  If you have a little left over from your meal, don't throw it out, use it the next night to make a rice pudding.
  2. Grated Cheese - I used to be lazy and buy the expensive ready grated cheese from the supermarket.  But now what I do is buy a couple of big blocks when they are on special, then set up my food processor with the grater on and grate it all, then divide it up into freezer bags.  Pop in the freezer, and you have a big supply of grated cheese to use!  I also got put off buying grated cheese for 2 reasons - quite often it was mouldy and I had to chuck it out, and they put some sort of coating on the cheese which I feel really suss about, it seems like some strange chemical to stop it sticking together.
  3. Tomatoes - If you see tomatoes on special, buy a big bag and put them in the freezer.  Do not peel and do not blanch.  To use, just run warm water on the frozen tomato and the skin will come off easily, then use in stews, casseroles, or to make sauce (you can't use tomatoes that have been frozen on sandwiches or in salads).
  4. Nuts - I quite often have to throw away nuts I have in the cupboard because they do go rancid after a while.  So freeze any nuts or ground nuts to prolong life and prevent wasteage.
  5. Bread and Bakery Products - I'm a bad one for putting off grocery shopping so I always try to buy 2 loaves of bread and put one in the freezer (I double wrap).  That way I'm not short on bread for school lunches if I can help it.  You can also freeze baked goods, which saves wastage as they go off quickly sometimes.

Rule of thumb to keep in mind is don't re-freeze anything that has already been frozen, and keep a supply of different sizes of freezer bags on hand!

There are some areas I definitely need to explore further with the freezer, one main one being making sandwiches for school lunches in batches and freezing until the day you need them.  If any of you do this I would love to hear your tips for doing it successfully!


Emily Morgan said...

I am all about buying or cooking more at one time and freezing it, especially now I'm on a strict budget. I buy cauliflowers, pumpkins, etc on special, chop them up and freeze them - instant frozen veg ready to throw into whatever I'm cooking. The only thing I don't find freezes too well is cooked potato and cooked pasta -well, the pasta is OK, but often if combined with sauce (e.g. frozen instant dinners), the sauce gets watery and the pasta can get a bit floury. Thanks for sharing! catching up from Digital Carnival.

Your Cheeky Monkey said...

Thanks Emily.. totally agree with you about potato and pasta! Monique x

jacqfruit said...

Thanks for posting this short and sweet and helpful blog entry! I'm trying to prep myself for the time when I have to go back to work after this wonderful time of mat leave and every little tip helps! :)
Found your blog through Digital Parents! :)

northmelbournemum said...

I'm a big fan of freezing rice - in the ice cube tray for re-heating and mixing for dinner for my little girl. Even quicker than cous cous!