Are you looking for a way to waste less food in your kitchen? I’m sure at some point or another you’ve had food expire in the fridge or just weren’t able to utilize those veggie scraps. Today, we’re going to explore six foods you can freeze with ease to reduce waste and save you some cash the next time you shop.
In these unprecedented times, food cost is on the rise and NOTHING is more frustrating for me than spending money on fresh foods only to have them go to waste because they went bad. Not to mention, I seem to always have an endless supply of liquid containers (milk, broth, sauces, etc) that have just enough in them to warrant keeping, but not enough to use for, well, anything really.
Growing up we were poor and throwing anything away was a sin. I never understood who would want a half eaten browned apple. “Waste not, want not” was our motto! But now that I’m an adult I get it. It’s about utilizing what you have the best of your ability and saving money in the process. It wasn’t until college that this concept really hit home for me. Mostly because I was poor but also because I was a Dietetics major and we had a fun little class called Quantity Procedures. I must have cooked enough food to feed a HUGE army in that class and Chef Warner never let us waste even single slice of banana. She taught us that everything can be repurposed or saved. Vegetable scraps were turned into broth, pulp from juicing was baked into breads or sauces, and once we even learned how to plant an entire garden from vegetable and herb scraps.
That class really taught me how to make the most out of what I bought. So now, I can share with you how you can turn these missed opportunities into your next delicious meal.
Don’t worry, I’m not telling you to eat expired food! But there are several foods and staples you can freeze before they expire to use at a later time. You might think it seems pointless to save a spoonful or two of something, but if you devote even a single ice tray to hosting these kinds of things, you can pack more flavor into your meals. Once frozen, you can pop the cubes out of the tray, stash them in a labeled freezer bag, and use them as you see fit. Genius, right?
No need to run to the grocery store next time you realize you’re out of tomato sauce when you only need a dab for your recipe.
So, what can you freeze with ease? Let’s take a look!
1. Fresh Herbs
Before you turn around and find your fresh basil has gone brown, chop what’s left up and add a little olive oil to it. This works for all your fresh herbs! You can dedicate an ice-tray just for herbs, and even make some herb mixtures to try when you’re feeling adventurous.
2. Tomato Paste or Sauce
How many times have you forgotten about that little bit of it hiding in the jar in the back of your fridge? The next time you use tomato paste or sauce but only have a tiny bit, take it and put it in a ziplock bag and put it the freezer immediately so you can put it to good use next time. This is also a great way to utilize an ice-tray to keep things organized and you can save any sauce in the same fashion.
3. Broth or Stock
Whether you use veggie, chicken, or beef broth or stock, don’t forget that carton with a little at the bottom. Freeze it in an ice tray, and next time you need some with your recipe, you can drop in your frozen cubes of it to add more flavor to sauces and gravies.
Ever bought yogurt only to realize it’s going to expire before you have the chance to eat it all? This is one that surprised me, but yogurt freezes well. Dairy-free yogurt, as well, if you’re dairy-free. There are loads of different almond or coconut milk yogurts you can still enjoy. And it’s a delightful frozen treat too, not to mention easier to add into your smoothies.
5. Fresh-Squeezed Juice
If you have a juicer but never feel like whipping it out for just a small batch, there’s good news. Make as much as you want, then put it in your freezer. Thaw it out for when you want it, or like the yogurt, use it for your smoothies. I use a lot of lemon juice but buying lemons every week means I usually have a lot of wasted produce. When they go on sale I love to buy a bag, juice it, and freeze it.
Don’t let that avocado go to waste! Next time you have an abundance of avocado and need to salvage it before it goes bad, you can either:
- Make a large bowl of delicious guacamole and it all by yourself. Yum! …and just kidding…or am I?
- Freeze it! Freeze the avocado after it’s been washed and cut in half. Seal it in an air-tight container or a ziplock bag and pop it in the freezer. Once it’s thawed, it may not hold it’s firmness, but they’re perfect to use in sauces/dips or in your smoothie.
When you use your freezer to stash these little bits, you’ll find they’ll go a long way in your kitchen!
What freezer tricks do you love or use on a regular basis? Share in the comments below!