Friday, October 19, 2007
Frugal Friday--Did You Know You Can Freeze These?
One day I will get my post completed the night before so it's ready to go on Friday morning--one day I'll be sure to do that.
Here are some freezer pointers for foods you may not have thought of freezing:
Wrap foods with foil or store in airtight containers or zipper bags. Air is the cause of freezer burn. Even bread needs to be double-bagged, as bread wrappers are not airtight.
Dairy products are one thing that you may not realize can be frozen. When you find milk, eggs, butter or cheese at a really good price, you CAN stock up!
Freeze milk in the carton and thaw in refrigerator. Stir or shake before serving. The texture of milk does change with freezing, so you may prefer the thawed product for cooking, though it is perfectly fine to drink it.
Butter can be kept for 6 months in its original wrapper in the freezer. Thaw in fridge before using.
Eggs take a little more preparation. Mix 1 cup of raw eggs with 1 teaspoon salt. Store in an airtight freezer container. When needed, let thaw overnight in refrigerator. For 1 egg, use about 3 tablespoons of mixture.
Beaten eggs, or those separated – yolks from the white, can be frozen and used again within three months.
Grated hard cheeses will last up to six months, but softer cheeses will separate. A good test – if the cheese is something you can leave out at a party and still looks edible at the end of the party, it will probably do well in the freezer. You might want to pack cheese in a zipper-top freezer bag before freezing. Shredded cheese can be added to recipes without thawing.
If you store your brown sugar in the freezer, it will not harden.
Nuts, shelled or unshelled, retain their freshness when kept in the freezer.
Honey will not crystallize if it is stored in the freezer. It does not freeze solid. Let thaw at room temperature.
Keep marshmallows in the freezer to keep them from turning hard.
Lemons, limes, and oranges can be frozen whole. When a recipe calls for juice, just defrost as many as you need in the microwave.
Here's a good one: after using, store your soapy steel wool pad in the freezer and it won't rust. Just remove from the freezer while you're cooking supper and it will be ready to use when you do the dishes.
Store your popcorn in your freezer. Pop while it's still frozen and it will pop lighter with fewer unpopped kernels.
If your freezer is not full, it will run more efficiently if you fill up the empty spaces with jugs of water.
Red, yellow, and green peppers can be frozen as long as you wash them thoroughly, cut off the stems, and remove the seeds and inner membranes. Cut, and then blanch. They?ll have a freezer life of one year.
Whole tomatoes can be frozen, but you won?t be able to eat them raw after freezing ? they collapse completely when thawed! You can, however, use them in cooking for other dishes. They have a freezer life of 10 to 12 months.
Onions can be frozen by laying them out on a small tray (enclosed in a plastic bag) in the freezer until firm. Then transfer them to a freezer container (you may wish to experiment with this first, as you may not like the way the unfrozen onions turn out. They should be usable for cooking purposes). Mushrooms can also be frozen using this open-freeze method. Raw mushrooms have a freezer life of one month, while cooked mushrooms are good for up to three months.
Flavors of spices have a tendency to deteriorate after three to four months in the freezer.
Most herbs can be frozen successfully if you wash and dry them before freezing. You can pack the whole sprigs into freezer containers or chop finely first. Ice cube trays can be used by placing chopped herbs in each section and covering with a little water. Once frozen, you can transfer them to another freezer container.
Alternatively, you can puree fresh herbs with a little olive oil, and freeze the mixture in ice cube trays. After frozen, you can transfer the cubes to a freezer bag, labelling what herb is in each bag.
Slice breads, coffee cakes, bagels, baked goods such as brownies or cakes into single serving sizes before freezing. This will enable quicker freezing, thawing and accessibility. Any product with frosting should be placed in the freezer uncovered until the frosting has hardened, then wrapped and completely frozen. This method will prevent the frosting from sticking to the wrapping. Most bread products will last up to six months in the freezer if well wrapped.
Cookies, pancakes, waffles and other moist bread products should each be separated with wax paper or aluminum foil to prevent them from clumping together. These products can then be grouped together in a container or bag. Moist bread products will last up to six months in the freezer if well wrapped.
Diced fruit can be frozen and used in recipes or drinks within a month. The water content does increase when the fruit is thawed and the coloring of the fruit may be depleted. Take this into consideration when using the thawed product.
Products that are delicate or will stick together, such as berries, hors d’oeuvres, shrimp or appetizers are best if frozen on a cookie sheet first and then wrapped in a bag or container. This will maintain the product’s shape.
Tiny portions can be frozen in ice cube trays; orange juice, leftover wine, tomato paste, gravy, coffee or herbs. These cubes can be added to recipes, sauces or broth.
Cooked rice also does well frozen with little if any change in texture on defrosting.
Keep a notebook just for listing freezer items. Cross-out items as they are used. This is very useful when it's time to go shopping or plan a menu. Label everything before freezing!
And just for fun, check out the frozen dessert recipes here.
More Frugal Friday at Crystal's Biblical Womanhood.