Whether you have a chest or upright freezer, the principles of successful freezing are the same. Here, we’ve come up with 15 foods that we believe you didn’t know you could freeze but will do just fine in your freezer for days. What’s more? The freezing method saves time and money. But before we get to the list, let’s talk about a few additional reasons why freezing foods is a great choice!
- It saves money! You can buy in bulk and then freeze what you won’t use right away.
- It’s convenient! Having a stocked freezer can help you avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store.
- It saves time! Cook things ahead of time and then freeze them for a quick meal or snack later.
- It’s fresh and delicious! Freeze your favorite fruits and veggies when they’re in season, so you can enjoy the delicious bounty of summer any time of the year!
So, let’s take a look at 15 foods that you can freeze
You can freeze cheese in whole blocks! Just thaw it completely on the counter before putting it back in the fridge. You can also freeze shredded cheese and put a tablespoon of cornstarch or flour in the bag to prevent clumping when it thaws.
2. Homemade Pancakes, Waffles, French Toast
Make extra pancakes, waffles, or french toast during your weekend breakfasts and freeze them for quick and easy breakfasts during the week to come. Place your pancakes (or waffles, or french toasts) on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to a freezer bag. Reheat them in your microwave, toaster, or toaster oven.
When freezing fruit, it’s a good idea to freeze them on a lined cookie sheet first, and then transfer them to a freezer bag. Freezing them on a cookie sheet first makes it so the fruit won’t stick together, which makes it easier to pull out a small amount at a time as needed.
You can freeze bananas whole and use them later to make banana bread. If you have bananas that are starting to get too brown, just toss them into the freezer with the skin on. Then when you’re ready to use them, pull them out, microwave for a few seconds, then squeeze the insides into your mixing bowl.
Keep a “Smoothie Bag” in the freezer. Toss in extra apple wedges, peaches, pears, bananas, chunks of melon, or any kind of fruit. When the bag gets full, dump it in the blender and make a smoothie!
4. Veggies & Herbs
Dice onions, chilies, or bell peppers, then freeze them flat in gallon-size freezer bags. As they are freezing, press “score lines” into the bags using a chopstick so you can break off as much or as little as you need for your recipes.
You can freeze ears of corn whole, then use your microwave cooking method to cook it (see the link below for details). Cook a bit longer for frozen corn, or let it defrost before cooking. You can also cut the corn off the cob and freeze it that way.
Roast tomatoes in the oven at a low temperature (225 degrees or so) with garlic, fresh herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil for 4 to 5 hours. When cooled, transfer the tomatoes to freezer bags. Use them in chili or or to make tomato sauces.
Freeze fresh herbs in ice cube trays with a little water or leftover stock. Use the frozen herb cubes in soups, stews, or casseroles later in the year.
To freeze leafy greens like spinach, blend it up in your blender with a little bit of water and then freeze in ice cube trays. Drop a couple of cubes in your blender with frozen fruit for easy green smoothies!
Keep a gallon-size bag in the freezer to store leftover veggie pieces, including peels, stalks, ends, etc. When you’ve filled the bag, use the veggies pieces to make vegetable stock. Keep another bag for pan drippings or sauces that are left after cooking meat, which you can use to add flavor to soups.
Cook a big batch of rice, spread it on a lined cookie sheet and freeze. When the rice is frozen, transfer it to a freezer bag and you’ll have frozen rice you can use in a pinch. This tip is especially great for brown rice, since it takes so long to cook!
6. Baked Goods
When your favorite bread is on sale, stock up and freeze it. Or when you’re in a baking mood, make extras of your favorite baked goods and freeze them for later. (Here’s a tip for defrosting baked goods or breads – place them in your microwave overnight, but don’t turn it on. The enclosed space helps to keep them from drying out.)
Make apple pies in the fall to enjoy throughout the year! Bake them, then freeze them in freezer bags wrapped in freezer paper. Then when you have a hankering for pie, just take one out of the freezer, remove the wrappings, and place in your oven for 2 hours at 200 degrees. (You can also freeze SLICES after baking a whole pie, or just freeze the filling. Follow the link below for more details.)
Whenever you make pasta, go ahead and cook the whole package. Freeze any leftover pasta to add to soups later. Just put the cooked pasta in a freezer bag, lay flat, and make sure to squeeze out all the air. Reheat the pasta by running hot water over the bag for a few minutes. You can also freeze uncooked pasta just to make it last longer.
8. Flour and Other Grains
You can store flour in the freezer to make it last longer. If you don’t want to store flour in the freezer, you can freeze it for three days when you first bring it home to kill off any bacteria or critters trapped inside.
9. Sauces, Stocks, and Juice
Freeze sauces in ice cube trays. Once frozen, pop the cubes out and put them in a freezer bag. The tip above is also great for things like canned tomato paste! Most recipes only call for a small amount of tomato paste, and then you’re left with an open can that’s nearly full. Freeze it instead!
Squeeze lemon juice or lime juice into ice cube trays, then pop the cubes out after they have frozen and store them in freezer bags. Now you have “fresh” lemon and lime juice whenever you need it. And don’t forget to ZEST the lemons or limes first, and keep the zest in the freezer as well!
10. Mashed Potatoes
Using an ice cream scoop, place even portions of mashed potatoes onto parchment-lined cookie sheet. Freeze until hard, then transfer the potatoes to a freezer bag. These will keep in the freezer for at least 2 months.
You can freeze all kinds of homemade dough – cookie dough, pizza dough, focaccia dough, pie crust, etc.
For things like pizza, pie, or bread dough, shape it into a ball and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap.
For cookie dough, scoop it out onto cookie sheets and freeze. When they are frozen solid, put them in freezer bags. When a cookie craving hits, bake as few or as many as you want! Just add 1 to 2 minutes to the cook time specified in your recipe. You can also make “slice-and-bake” cookie dough by shaping it into a cylinder, and freezing it in foil.
Freeze canned biscuits, crescent rolls, pizza dough, etc. right in the tube. Stock up when they are on sale!
12. Breakfast or Lunch Sandwiches
When you pack lunches for school or work, it’s a real time-saver to pull a sandwich straight from the freezer. Just throw it into your lunch box/bag in the morning, and it’ll be thawed by lunch time. It also helps keep the meat cold. If you’re adding condiments or veggies, pack those separately to add when lunchtime rolls around.
You can also freeze breakfast sandwiches! Cook scrambled eggs and sausage/bacon in bulk, pile them onto biscuits or english muffins, wrap them individually and then freeze, Grab one out of the freezer in the morning, then microwave and enjoy.
Yep, it’s true! Freeze leftover frosting, then when you need to frost something. let it thaw in the fridge. When it has thawed completely, whip it up a bit and use like you would if you just made it!
Frozen ginger is much easier to grate than the fresh stuff, so it makes sense to keep it in the freezer. Wrap it in plastic (either whole or in 1-inch pieces, if desired) and place in a freezer bag. Pop it out, grate the amount you need, and place back in freezer. You can also freeze chopped or sliced ginger. Wrap tightly and store in an airtight bag.
Have you ever had a frozen grape? They’re delicious! Wash and dry them thoroughly and spread them on a baking sheet to freeze overnight. Plop them into an airtight bag, and when you crave a snack, grab a handful and start snacking.