Your freezer is your friend. Whether you have an awesome deep freezer or just the freezer that’s attached to your fridge, you can learn to use your freezer to help save you time and money. (And just for the record, if you don’t have a deep freezer but you have space for one, I would definitely recommend making the investment- it will pay itself back!)
I use my freezer all the time. Of course, there are the normal things in there, like ice cream (yum!) and ice, but there is also a plethora of other things in my freezer.
When I spot a sale for onions or bell peppers, I buy a ton, chop them up, put them in freezer bags or even sandwich bags, and stock up the freezer. When I need some for a recipe, I just pull some out and use it (no need to thaw!). This saves a ton of time; it saves money by getting a good sale price plus not having to run to the store for these items; and it also saves a lot of tears– I get the onion crying done all at one time, instead of several times a week!
I recently bought a huge bag of peeled garlic at Costco (it was a great deal, but I didn’t realize it was close to expiring), so I went ahead and threw entire cloves of garlic in the freezer. They are too hard to cut with a knife, but I use my garlic press, and and they’ve been working great for me!
Some vegetables will freeze better if they’re blanched first.
For some reason, when I was first married and heard people talk about blanching vegetables to freeze, it sounded like something that was really difficult. However, when I decided to try it, I was amazed at how quick and easy it really is.
The time needed varies depending on the vegetable, but here is the main idea: you boil the vegetable for a couple minutes and then immediately submerge it in an ice bath. It’s so easy, it takes hardly any time, and it helps your thawed product to turn out better, and not so mushy. If you are freezing vegetables, I suggest checking to see if they need to be blanched first. My Betty Crocker Cook Book has timetables for blanching.
Another great way to use the freezer is to freeze fruits.
My kids love grapes, but it doesn’t seem like we make it through the grapes fast enough. Plus, when the kids are little, giving them whole grapes is a no-no, but cutting them up is kind of messy. I’ve found that pulling the grapes off and then putting them in the freezer makes for an awesome treat that’s really easy to cut.
Any other fruits we have that are starting to go bad, I chop up and bag them. For things like strawberries, if I have enough I put 2 cups of chopped strawberries in a bag, so I can pull them out to use for making Fresh Strawberry Muffins. (I also do this with grated zucchini during the summer, bagging enough for my recipe of zucchini bread or zucchini bars.) If I have bananas that are starting to go bad, I peel them and put them in a freezer bag, and when there are 3 bananas (or whatever your recipe calls for) I make banana bread. When there isn’t enough of a fruit to use for a recipe, I chop the fruit and bag it in a sandwich bag to use for smoothies.
These are just a few of the ways you can make your freezer work for you, saving you time and money.
Are there any other ways you freeze fruits and vegetables?
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