How many times have you bought something, used a little, and had the rest go bad in the refrigerator? It’s not only frustrating to realize you’ve had to throw away ingredients you need for a recipe but it’s a waste of your hard-earned money. There are a surprising number of foods that you may not realize can be frozen. This list will help you save money on groceries by freezing things you didn’t know you could.
In this post I suggest using freezer bags but, in the interest of full disclosure, I usually use my FoodSaver to ensure that freezer-bound items are sealed airtight.
- Store bought breads, rolls, buns, etc. – wrap tightly to keep out air which will cause freezer burn.
- Homemade doughs (pie, cookie, pizza, bread, tortillas, etc.) – If required, knead dough and allow to rise according to the recipe then place the uncooked dough in the refrigerator for several hours to slow the yeast. Wrap tightly and freeze. Cookie dough can be portioned per the recipe then frozen on parchment paper and transferred to an airtight freezer bag after its’s frozen. You can simply take out as many cookie portions as you want leaving the rest for next time.
- Homemade batters (cake, cupcake, pancake, waffle, muffin) – Store in a freezer container leaving a bit of headspace to allow for expansion. Defrost in the refrigerator slowly.
- Chocolate, baking chips, nuts, shredded coconut, marshmallows – store in freezer bags with all the air removed. First cool chocolate and baking chips in the refrigerator to avoid them becoming brittle and crumbly.
- Flour and sugar can also be frozen.
Broths and Stocks
- All broths (chicken, beef, ham, etc.) and stocks can be frozen. I like to freeze broth and stock in ice cube trays so I can pull out just what I need instead of thawing a large amount I don’t need.
- Milk can be frozen, even in the jug. Just pour some out to leave headspace. It’s best only to freeze milk to be used in recipes.
- Buttermilk for baking can be frozen in ice cube trays then moved to a freezer bag when frozen.
- Cream cheese can be frozen right in the original box & wrapper but only freeze it for use in recipes. The texture changes and it’s not great on crackers.
- Yogurt can be transferred to freezer bags if you find that the large containers are less expensive than the individual ones. I can’t buy plain yogurt, which I use in recipes, in less than a 32 ounce container. I just divide it up into cup portions and freeze.
- Heavy cream can be frozen in the amounts you’ll likely use in recipes. I like to freeze them it in ice cube trays. Each little compartment is 2 tablespoons.
- Sour cream can also be frozen although it should be used only for cooking.
- Eggs can be frozen raw or cooked. Do not freeze in the shell. You can separate eggs before freezing or just freeze the whole egg. I like to freeze some whole and some whites separated from yolks for recipes. I’ve saved a step when cooking when I can pull out the yolks or whites I need.
- Apples, bananas, berries, cherries, kiwi, mango, oranges, peaches, pineapples, and just about every fruit you can think of can be frozen. Plan on using frozen fruit in baked goods, recipes, or smoothies. They won’t be quite perfect for snacking on like fresh.
- Avocados; I’m never sure it they’re fruit or vegetable but they can be frozen. While thawed avocados aren’t great for salads they can be frozen for guacamole. Wash and cut in half, removing the pit then freeze that way or puree with lime or lemon juice and store in a container with a bit of headspace or a freezer bag with the air removed.
- You can chop garlic or just put whole cloves in the freezer.
- Herbs can be frozen in an ice cube tray with a little water. Once frozen pop them in a freezer bag and use them long after your garden is under snow.
- All meats can be frozen cooked or uncooked. It’s best to repackage meats as the store packaging often allows air in and that causes freezer burn. Use freezer bags and squeeze out as much air as you can. Thaw meats in the refrigerator. If you thaw using cold water or any other method use the meat immediately. Meat thawed in the refrigerator can, if necessary, be refrozen.
- Freezing pasta is usually considered a big no-no but I’ve found that cooking the pasta very al dente allows me to freeze it without it turning mushy. I just finish cooking it to the perfect al dente after I’ve thawed it in the refrigerator.
Peanut Butter (Organic)
- Since non-organic peanut butter has a shelf life of about a year you probably won’t need to freeze it but organic peanut butter can be frozen and thawed tastes just fine.
- Freeze, leaving room for expansion in whatever portions you choose.
- Almost any sauce can be frozen. I portion sauce into freezer bags, lay them flat and squeeze out the air. I lay bags on a cookie sheet so they’ll freeze flat and will be more space efficient in the freezer.
- Freeze tomato paste by the teaspoonful on parchment paper then transfer to a freezer bag when frozen. You won’t have to keep buying 6 ounce cans of tomato paste to use just one or two teaspoons.
- You can freeze almost any vegetable imaginable. Before freezing wash and dry thoroughly. Today green onions on sale but we had to buy 3 bunches to take advantage of the sale price and, although some will be used tonight, most are now in my freezer. Most vegetables should be blanched before freezing. There are several excellent websites that give proper blanching times for various vegetables. Even chard, kale, and spinach can be frozen. Chop them up, blanch them and freeze. Corn, onions, pumpkins, squash, and tomatoes can be frozen and there are tutorials online to teach the proper methods for those items.
By freezing foods you can take advantage of sales and bulk buys. By freezing things in the amounts you normally use you’ll eliminate a lot of waste and save even more money.