Peas, ice cream and something unrecognisable – these are your usual freezer inhabitants. But what about these ice-shy foodstuffs?
Imagine if you could freeze leftover grated cheese. Imagine not having to eat a whole cake in one sitting because you could freeze the rest for later. Welcome to the unchartered territory of your freezer, offering you a wealth of opportunity to extend the life of your food and save money at the same time.
There’s loads of stuff you can freeze that you may not have considered and here’s but a few. Just make sure you label everything with what it is and the date on which it was frozen to avoid confusion weeks later.
If you often find yourself using just a little bit of grated cheese in recipes or to sprinkle over food before grilling or baking then leaving the rest to go mouldy - here’s a great solution. Next time, grate the whole block and put the unused grated cheese in a freezer bag and freeze. Its texture will change a little in the process (it will be much more crumbly) so it’s best used in cooking. You could even freeze your own favourite cheesy combos like cheddar and red Leicester.
Whaaa’? Yep, turns out all that cake you’ve heroically finished up so that it ‘doesn’t go to waste’ hasn’t strictlybeen necessary. You could have just popped it in the freezer for later. This works best of all for sponge without icing, so it’s a handy thing to know if you want to bake something in advance without risking it going stale. Just pop it in the freezer – after baking but before decorating - double wrap in clingfilm and a layer of foil. Fruitcakes and sponge cakes freeze equally well. You can also freeze individual cupcakes or slices of cake, as long as they are equally well wrapped. Remember to label them so you remember which cake is which.
If you find you have leftover wine (red, white or rose) you won’t drink in the next couple of days, don’t chuck it out – freeze it in ice cube trays or sealable freezer bags. (It will remain a bit soft because of the alcohol content, so don’t try transferring the ice cubes to a bag.) It’ll be perfectly good for cooking with and you can use it in hot dishes straight from the freezer.
Did you know you can stick bananas straight into the freezer with their skins on? This is particularly useful for when you have verging-on-overripe bananas that you don’t want to chuck away. Great whizzed into smoothies or milkshakes straight from the freezer.
You can freeze whole plastic bottles of milk (minus a little poured off to allow for expansion) for up to six weeks, as long as it was fresh at the time of freezing. Slightly older milk should be used up after four weeks in the freezer. Don’t freeze glass bottles of milk as they’ll shatter, leaving you with unusable milk and extremely unwelcome glass shards all over your frozen foods.
Before they start sprouting weird alien-like tentacles, your potatoes can be salvaged by whacking them in the freezer. But you need to do a bit of basic prep first: peel your spuds and par boil for about five minutes, then plunge into cold water before freezing. If you’re planning to make roast potatoes, chop them first before boiling, then they can go straight from freezer to oven. You can freeze mashed potato too.
We always have the best intentions with lemons, studiously wrapping whatever we don’t use in cling film and keeping in the fridge door for ‘later’. But it’s not long before fridge lemons become dry and unusable. Pop leftover lemons in the freezer instead and you can use the pith in baking. Or, freeze slices and use them cool down hot tea. Or add halved slices to an ice tray with water to prettify your drinks. Alternatively, squeeze out the juice and freeze in an ice tray for flavoursome ice cubes.
Yep, you can even freeze the baker’s staple: flour. This is especially handy if space is at a premium in your cupboards, plus some seasoned bakers argue that frozen flour makes better pastry. Either way, freezing your flour extends its life so there’s no reason not to.
Other foods that happily freeze
- Mashed avocado (for guacamole)
- Homemade dough
- Cake icing
- Grapes – a nice way to cool white wine