If you are like me managing the household food sometimes is no easy feat. There are only two of us and yet it can be a bit of a quest to get through a weeks cooking. A midweek fish and chips on the local pier is much appealing on a sunny summers evening or you perhaps have not got the energy to stir the risotto that sounded like such a great idea the previous night. The fresh food in the fridge can easily be forgotten and before you know it you are guiltily clearing out once-perfectly good food. Sound familiar?
Here are some foods that can actually be frozen and most don’t even need defrosting when you need them!
Ginger – Ginger is one of those roots that can easily get lost in the fridge that you find weeks later shrivelled into what looks like a wrinkly old thumb. Avoid the waste by wrapping and freezing and just grate it when you need it. It grates well from frozen and I use for my stir-fry base or into a tasty curry.
Chilli’s – Another vegetable that can get lost if not used regularly. Like ginger, I freeze these whole and take as I need. Once out of the freezer these can be finely diced after a couple of minutes with a good knife.
Egg whites – When a recipe like lemon curd calls for just the egg yolk and you are left with a handful of egg whites promising yourself that you will make meringues…sound familiar? Save yourself the time and effort by freezing the egg whites for a day you really want meringues! Note – egg whites freeze well but the yolks, not so much. (These need defrosting but depending on the amount, shouldn’t take too long).
Parmesan & other hard cheeses – I got a gift of a lovely hunk of parmesan all the way from Italy last year and knew I would never get through it unless we were to survive on 24/7 Italian cuisine (could think of worse things). I resisted and instead I grated the cheese and put in an airtight container and into the freezer. Now I take what I need straight from the freezer and throw into my bolognese. (No defrosting necessary). Blue cheese also freezes well and can be grated from frozen into a lovely beet and walnut salad.
Rice – If you have leftover rice, rather than throwing in the bin, cover and put into the freezer and use another day for a comforting homemade egg-fried rice dish. Rice that is just freshly cooked doesn’t work as well in egg-fried rice dishes so this is worth doing. I like this one by Donal Skehan, and as he mentions, you can pack in lots of veggies and turn it into a healthy treat. Winner.
Bananas – My bananas are ripening in the blink of an eye these days – not sure if it is the weather but either way these can be thrown into the freezer, brown or not. Freeze with skin on and put straight into the freezer for a yummy banana bread or for a smoothie. You can also peel, chop and put into freezer bag so less work when you need them.
Rosemary, thyme and other ‘woody’ herbs – Woody herbs freeze well and also don’t need defrosting. Throw straight onto your roast veggies or meat or chop finely for your your base. Great to do this if you don’t grow your own. (The likes of mint and basil which are less woody, don’t freeze too well, unfortunately). Bay leaves/Curry leaves are also leaves you may not thinking of throwing in the deep-freeze but work great.
Bread crumbs – Use up stale bread by whizzing into crumbs and storing in an airtight container. Use as you need in homemade burgers, for kievs, or with some of your frozen parmesan to make a delicious crust on a lamb chop.
Berries such as raspberries, blueberries & blackberries all work well and are a great addition to plain old porridge or can be added to a crumble or simply served with some greek yogurt and a sprig of mint. Great to buy berries when in season as you are getting them at the freshest and best price.
Everything that goes into the freezer should be well-wrapped to avoid freezer burn and if you are a superhero, unlike me, you could even go as far as labelling them.
Happy Freezing. Any comments or questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch.