5 Foods You Never Knew You Could Freeze
A freezer is a budget-savvy foodie’s best friend. Think of it as a magic box that has the magic ability to freeze time (ha!) on your food’s aging process, keeping it fresh for longer. This means that when certain foods go on sale, you can stock up and freeze what you can’t immediately use, as well as preserve foods that you don’t have time to finish before they go bad.
I know, I know. You already know this—you’ve been using your freezer for years. But hear me out. I mean, sure, you know all about freezing meat, popsicles, and those supermarket packs of frozen green peas, but did you know that your freezer is great for storing a laundry list of less obvious items? Read on for our list of less common freezer-friendly items.
If, by some fluke, you can’t finish a bottle of wine (we know, we know, you were having an off night), don’t pour it down the drain—freeze it! Pour it into ice cube trays and freeze until solid. The cubes won’t maintain the quality of the original, but they’re great for cooking, and even better as ice cubes for chilling homemade sangria.
Freeze eggs for up to a year by mixing together the whites and yolks and freezing in a freezer-safe plastic bag. This is great for large-scale baking, pancakes, or anything else you need whole eggs for. It’s also great if you live in a cold climate and face potentially being snowed in for a few days. If you run out of regular eggs before you can get to the grocery store, you’ll still always have a back-up for impromptu meals!
Going out of town before you can finish that carton of milk? No worries–freeze it! It will keep for up to three months in the freezer, and will be ready for your coffee, cereal and milk shakes when you return. The texture will change slightly once thawed (it will be slightly grainy), but it will still be perfectly usable, especially if you stir it into a batter or smoothie, where the texture will be unnoticeable. This also works for soy and almond milks, half-and-half and heavy cream.
Butter is almost always on sale, and comes ready to freeze, so buy it in bulk and freeze it! I keep salted and unsalted butters in my freezer so I am ready for guests or baking projects at a moment’s notice. I like to put the wrapped sticks in a freezer bag, zip, and store with the date marked on it. Butter lasts for up to six months in the freezer. To soften it, 11 seconds in the microwave seems to be the perfect amount of time to take frozen butter from hard to spreadable. Alternately, let it come to room temperature (takes about an hour on the kitchen counter).
Soft and semi-soft cheeses, such as mozzarella, Fontina, Parmesan, cheddar, and Monterey Jack can be frozen for up to six months. Not only is this a great way to store them, but frozen cheese is often easier to crumble or grate, since the texture is hard and doesn’t smear all over your grater or knife. I prefer to freeze cheeses in their original packaging, tucked in a freezer bag, but if you’ve already taken them out, give them a double wrap in plastic wrap and tuck into a freezer bag with the date marked on it.
How do you use your freezer to save money? Let us know in the comments!
Gabi Moskowitz is the editor-in-chief of the nationally-acclaimed blog BrokeAss Gourmet and author of The BrokeAss Gourmet Cookbook (May 2012) and Pizza Dough: 100 Delicious, Unexpected Recipes (November 2013). Most recently, she developed “Young and Hungry”, an ABC Family sitcom based on her life and writing. It premiers this summer (2014).