Ever feel just a leeetle bit guilty at throwing out food you totally meant to eat up? Well, you’re not alone as apparently in the UK we bin more than 7 million tonnes of food and drink each year – and more than half of it, we could have eaten.
But what can you do if you don’t make it home in time for the dinner you had planned? Or you accidently cooked way too much chilli con carne that even lunch tomorrow won’t make a dent in? Clue: it’s that big old white thing at the back of your kitchen. Yep, it’s time to become reacquainted with your freezer.
While ours is normally only ever full of half bags of ice, a sad amount of frozen peas and possibly a forgotten bottle of vodka (if we’re lucky) – there’s so much more that can be given a new home in the freezer. Stuff that you never even dreamed of freezing. So that means less food we’re throwing out, and making life easier for ourselves with little cooking hacks.
Here’s how to go from bin to win.
Get cracking, as you can’t just throw them in the freezer in their shells. Whisk them up, then pour it in to a freezer bag or ice cube tray. Or separate them and freeze them as egg whites or egg yolks for cooking and baking life-savers.
Great when grated. Put any leftover cheese in a Tupperware box or bag and feel free to sprinkle with wild abandon on whatever could benefit from some cheese being added. Which let's face it is everything, really.
Who doesn’t ever finish a cake? Well, should you live in a household of stronger resolve than ours, you can freeze a plain, un-iced cake. Cut into slices before freezing so you can enjoy the odd surprise piece with a cuppa.
One of life’s mysteries is how to cook the correct amount of pasta. Too little? We know who’s going to be snacking later on tonight… Too much? Those leftovers are on a one-way ticket to Binville. But not now you know that you can stick cooked pasta in the freezer. It can also be frozen in sauce for a quick, home-made ready meal.
Ditto rice. How hard is it to get the right size portion? Impossible. So chuck any leftover rice in the freezer then defrost it before adding to soups, sauces, chilli con carnes or curries.
Again, draining a bottle is something that most of us have no problem with, but if you are left with a small mouthful at the end, pour it into ice cube trays for cooking with. Whites will be perfect for risotto or fish, while red will pep up your bolognese sauce or beef stews no end.
There’s always half a lemon rolling around somewhere as you think, yep, I’ll deffo use that up later this week. Wrong. It’ll end up drier than a rice cracker in the Sahara. Instead, cover it in clingfilm and put it in the freezer to grate the peel in recipes, or slice into segments and freeze for drinks.
Tastes delicious, but the fresh stuff has an annoyingly short lifespan. So…freeze it. Stick it in ice cube trays to stretch it out to several portion sizes.
Got some garlic on the turn? Or just want to make your life a little easier next time you’re cooking up something? Ta-dah! Freeze your garlic. Just chop it up, then add it to ice cube trays with a little olive oil in each one to make it pop out easier. Same also applies to ginger.
If you’re a keen baker, you’re probably going to want to measure it out into specific grams, then put it into a marked Tupperware box in the freezer. Otherwise you can freeze it whole and grate it into dishes as needed.
Avocados are only ever perfect to eat for a span of approximately 32 minutes. So after that, then what? Well, you can stick them on your ‘freeze it’ list too. They won’t be too great in salads, but perfect for dips or smoothies, so mash them up with some lime or lemon, pop in some freezer bags and go for it.
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