If you went and had a look in your freezer right now, what would you see?
If it’s anything like mine, there’ll be oven chips and potato waffles, some frozen veg and fish fingers and a pile of ice pops. And I think we’re missing a trick here, and not making as much use of our freezers as we could be.
Especially in the lead up to Christmas.
There are things that you can prepare ahead of time and pop in the freezer to save time later, and things that you can stock up on and freeze to save frantic trips to the shops.
Here are 7 things you might be surprised that you can freeze:
1. Roast potatoes.
This is a really great way to make life a bit easier for yourself if you’re the one cooking lunch on Christmas day.
Peel and cut up your potatoes, then parboil them until they’re just tender. Drain the water and then put the potatoes back in the pan to steam dry a bit.
Add a bit of vegetable oil to the pan and toss the potatoes to cover them evenly. Then spread them out on a baking tray, cover the tray with cling film and pop it in the freezer.
You can then cook them from frozen at 220 (200 for a fan oven) for about 45 minutes.
2. Baked goods.
If you’re planning on baking some cookies or cakes to give as gifts for Christmas then it’s great to know that you can make them advance and then freeze them.
Make sure they’re completely cool after baking, then wrap them well and put them in the freezer.
3. Spice pastes and pesto.
If you make up too much spice paste or pesto, or have half a jar left over, then you can freeze these too.
Grab a baking tray and line it with clingfilm. Then put spoonfuls of the paste or pesto on and open-freeze the whole thing. Once the paste is frozen then you can take the blobs off the tray and put them into freezer bags and pop them back in the freezer.
Now I know for a lot of people the idea of leftover wine is a crazy one, but it does happen now and then!
And if you do have some left in the bottle that you know you won’t get round to drinking, then all you have to do is pour it into ice cube trays and pop in the freezer. Once the cubes are frozen you can pop them out of the tray and put them into a freezer bag.
You can also do the same with gravy and with stock. One quick tip for stock though is to reduce it a bit to concentrate the flavour before you freeze it.
If you find you have bananas that are ripening faster than you can eat them, you can peel them, cut them into chunks and freeze them.
These frozen banana chunks are perfect for using in smoothies or banana milkshakes.
You can also whizz them up with some greek yoghurt and a bit of honey to make a healthy alternative to ice cream.
Hard cheeses like cheddar and parmesan can be grated and frozen ready to use in recipes or to top pizzas and gratins.
This is worth keeping in mind if you spot a great offer on cheese at the supermarket. Take advantage of cheaper prices and stock up a bit, knowing you can freeze what you won’t eat quickly.
You can freeze plastic bottles of milk, and then simply defrost them at room temperature and shake them well before drinking or using it recipes.
Keep in mind that whole milk doesn’t freeze quite as well as semi-skimmed due to the fat content. And don’t try and freeze milk in glass bottles as there’s the risk that the glass will shatter as the milk expands as it freezes.
It’s handy to have a bottle of milk in the freezer over the festive period, along with a loaf of bread, so you have your basics covered and won’t have to do any emergency runs to the shops.
Now you have plenty of ideas for things to pop in the freezer, do keep in mind that there are some things that really don’t freeze well:
- Meringues. This is one type of pudding that just doesn’t really freeze well. Unless you’ve made them into a roulade, and filled them with whipped cream and fruit, in which case go for it.
- Icing. Buttercream is ok to freeze, but pretty much all over types of icing tend to go sticky once defrosted. The best option is to freeze your cakes un-iced, and then ice them once they’re defrosted.
- Soft cheese. Cream cheese and cottage cheese, as well as egg custard and mayonnaise tend to separate if you freeze them.
- Jelly. Gelatin based puddings like jelly don’t cope well in the freezer. The structure breaks down and they ‘weep’, which isn’t what you want at all.
- Watery vegetables. Things like avocados, cucumbers and lettuce which have a high water content break down in the freezer.
Did you know all of these things were suitable to put in the freezer? Are there any other things you store in your freezer that might surprise people?
Please do leave me a comment and let me know!