Stop letting good food go bad! Get storage savvy and check out this list of foods that you may not know you could freeze for later use. Just remember to freeze items right away in order to maintain maximum freshness, and mark each bag/container with the contents and freeze date.
Freeze Up to 1 Year
You probably know that cooked potatoes freeze well, but what if you want to store potatoes longterm and still have your choice of cooking options? Blanch before you freeze! This allows potatoes to remain in a mostly uncooked state until you're ready to boil, roast, fry, or whatever you'd like to do with them later.
Less starchy (i.e. waxy) potatoes such as Red Bliss and New Potatoes are preferred for this method over starchy potatoes like Russet and Idaho. For more information on freezing uncooked potatoes, visit this article.
First, make sure they are uniform in size (small potatoes can be left whole). Then blanch by dropping into boiling water for 4 to 7 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes or potato pieces, then transfer right away to ice water to stop the cooking process.
Let them cool completely, peel, place in a freezer bag and freeze up to one year. No need to thaw them out before cooking.
Blanching is standard for freezing uncooked vegetables in general, as this allows them to retain both their color and nutrient content while frozen.
Freeze Between 1 - 3 Months
Some types of sandwiches (with low-moisture fillings) can be assembled in advance, frozen, and then thawed out in the fridge the day before eating them. Really handy for preparing lunches for weeks (even months!) ahead of time.
Fillings that freeze well:
- Deli meats
- Hard cheeses
- Tuna salad
- Chicken salad
- Nut butters (minus the jam/jelly)
- Egg salad, as hard-boiled egg whites become rubbery
- Moisture-rich sandwich fillers like tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, and sprouts which will make the bread soggy and/or get wilted. Add these in after thawing.
- Jellies or jams
Wrap whole sandwiches as airtight as possible (without smushing it!) with plastic cling wrap.
Then place inside freezer bags. The day before you'd like to eat your sandwich, place it into the refrigerator and allow to thaw overnight.
Fresh Citrus Slices
Freeze Up to 6 Months
If you've got a citrus tree, you probably end up with an overabundance of fruit. Instead of spending loads of time juicing them, slice them up to use for drinks and garnishes later.
Simply place slices in between pieces of freezer/wax/parchment paper (so they're easy to separate), stack in a freezer-safe container and use as needed. You can add frozen citrus slices directly into drinks, a drink pitcher, or punch bowl. To use as a garnish, place in the refrigerator to thaw for a couple hours or at room temperature for about 30 minutes before using.
Freeze Up To 6 Months
Hard cheeses such as gouda, cheddar, and Swiss stand up well to freezing. Soft cheeses may be frozen as well for shorter periods of time (a couple weeks to a month), but there may be a significant change in texture.
Wrap well in plastic wrap, place in freezer bags and freeze for up to six months. Allow to thaw completely in refrigerator around 24 hours before eating.
Freeze Up to 2 months
It can be difficult to judge how much whipping cream you need for topping desserts and other applications, especially when it's in a liquid state. No need to worry about waste, though, because you can easily freeze any extra whipped cream for later use.
Place individual dollops of whipped cream on a freezer/wax/parchment-lined baking sheet or roasting pan. Place entire sheet in the freezer just long enough for the dollops to harden (for easy handling).
Finally, transfer the frozen dollops into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container.
If using to top a dessert, you can place frozen dollops directly on top of the dessert and let sit at room temperature for about 20 minutes, or in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. You can also place frozen dollops directly on top of hot cocoa, if you don't mind it cooling down your drink a bit. If you'd rather keep your cocoa piping hot, let the whipped cream thaw in the fridge for a couple hours, or around 20 minutes at room temperature before using.
Freeze Up to 3 Months
It's surprising how many people let milk go to waste when it can easily be frozen and stored. The preferred method is in mason jars for their freezer-safe and preservation qualities and because they have a freeze line on them which makes it easy to know how much space to leave within the container to allow for expansion of the frozen liquid.
Fill a mason jar to the freeze line or if using another freezer-safe container, fill up to 3/4 full. Let defrost 24 hours in the refrigerator before using.
As with all frozen food items, don't forget to mark the freeze date on the container.