When my husband arrived with the upright freezer I wasn’t all that impressed. It took up a lot of room and it seemed huge, there was no way I would fill that as well as the freezer that was part of our fridge! But it only took a couple of weeks for me to fall in love with my freezer!
Who knew there were so many things you can freeze?
Even if you don’t have a huge freezer, if you use your space wisely, even a small freezer can make life so much easier!
Here are some things you can freeze that save time and make your life easier!
I hate cutting onion, I am so sensitive to the fumes that I cry for hours afterwards! So I chop a whole load of onions, all at once, in the food processor, and freeze them in a snap lock bag. I just grab a handful when I need them.
Like the onions I use my food processor and whizz up a whole heap of garlic, then mix it with some olive oil and freeze in an ice cube tray. If you want to get really fancy, add some chopped herbs too.
Fruit and Veggies
You can freeze just about any fruit or veggie. Often it is suggested that you blanch your veggies before freezing them, but I don’t have time for that. Anything you will be cooking is fine frozen, so if you’ve got leftovers of you’ve found a bargain, or your garden is overflowing with produce, freeze it!
We love red capsicum, but it’s often expensive, so when I see it on special I buy LOTS chop it into small pieces and freeze it in a zip lock bag so I can grab out a handful whenever I need it. It’s great on pizza, in chilli, in fritters, or any other meal where you cook the capsicum.
I also freeze grated zucchini when we have a glut of it from the garden. I flatten it into a large freezer bag, then use a ruler to section it into four, then freeze it flat on a tray. Once it’s frozen I can easily snap it into quarters and just add a section to whatever I am cooking.
Grated or diced fruit, frozen, is great in smoothies, or added to muffins or cakes. And threading fruit like berries, grapes, kiwi etc on a bamboo skewer before freezing it makes a great snack!
Leftovers for Stock
I also have an ‘odds and ends’ stock bag in my freezer. I add left over or ‘past their prime but still edible’ veggies, herb and veggie stalks, and chicken bones, and just dump this whole bag into the pot when I make stock.
I usually make more rice that I need on purpose and put the leftover, cooled rice into a freezer bag and freeze it. It’s perfect for bulking up things like quiche or hambugers. It’s helpful to note how many cups of cooked rice are in each bag.
No one likes the crusts in my house, so I add them to a bag in the freezer and just whizz them in the food processor (still frozen) whenever I need breadcrumbs to bulk out a meal or help it stick together. Perfect for meatballs, hamburgers etc.
It’s not often we have unused milk, but if I have milk that is close to its use by date I freeze it into ice cubes. Just make sure you don’t fill them too full as milk seems to expand a lot when you freeze it. An ice cube of milk is perfect to pop into a smoothie, or oatmeal, and lots of other things. You can also do the same with youghurt.
This easy freezable cookie dough recipe makes LOTS of cookies, so divide it up, add different flavours to each batch, and roll each one into a log, cover with foil and freeze. Then all you need to do to have cookies is cut off slices and bake! This will work with any firm cookie dough.
Pancakes freeze really well and defrost well too and they make a super quick breakfast or snack! It’s best if you can flash freeze them flat on a tray and then add them into a bag so they don’t stick together and are easy for little people to grab and go. These apple and oat pancakes or perfect for freezing.
Home made pizza dough is easy and cheap to make, and you may as well make a second batch while you are at it, and pop it in the freezer. You can freeze it in a ball and allow it to defrost in the fridge overnight. Most pizza toppings (salami, olives, pineapple, capsicum) freeze well too, so chop up extras of those and pop them in the freezer ready to go. If you have room, freeze the dough rolled out on a tray, you can even add all the toppings (sauce and cheese too). You’ll need to wrap it well in cling wrap or seal it in a container, but it will be ready to just pop straight into the oven, instant pizza!
Of course my freeze is also full of dinners!
Sometimes I cook a double batch of dinner so I can freeze half for later, and sometimes I make all or part of dinner ahead of time to make life easier. Either way, having a a freezer full of pre-prepared dinners is the best thing ever! You can find a whole lot of freezer friendly dinner ideas here.
How to keep your freezer organised so it actually does make your life easier!
I am a ‘keep it simple’ kind of cook, and that is how I use my freezer too. No fancy freezer containers, just cheap freezer bags, the occasional snap lock bag, those bag clips from Ikea, and whatever containers I have on hand. The trick is to label things well, and to know what you have in your freezer.
I use a sharpie to label bags, and post it notes to label reusable containers (I told you it was simple!).
I use a basic freezer inventory list that is stuck on the outside of my freezer. I write down items as I put them in, with the date and any notes, and then just cross them off when I use them. Simple and easy.
You can download a copy of my simple freezer inventory list here.
This printable is an A4 sized pdf file, you will need a pdf reader such as adobe acrobat to open it. If you are printing on US ‘letter sized’ paper be sure to select ‘fit’ or ‘shrink to fit’ from your printer options.
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What’s in your freezer?
Have you got any freezer tips to share? What would you add to this list of things you can freeze? I’d love to learn some new ways I can use my freezer to make life easier, so share your ideas and suggestions in a comment below!
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Frau Mahl says
No, nothing much to add, except that I have a lot of popsicle containers to freeze left over smoothie in (not that that happens often in my house, but in the summer, I just make extra, so the kids will have popsicles when they come home from school, :-).
(For my youngest, who looooooooves ice-cubes in her drinks and sometimes to just suck on them, too, I add a few drops of food color, to make it look fancier…)
Other than that I use the freezer for bread, since I only pass by a bakery that sells good bread once a week, for salmon that I buy at Ikea in huge amounts, and for cup cakes and chocolate croissants that the kids can take out of the freezer in the morning and take a snack to school.
I find that, if I freeze left-over dinners, nobody likes to eat them much, and even if I cook in advance and freeze it, everybody immediately knows the difference, whether they saw me cook and freeze it or not.
About the onions, however: they loose their fumes, if you let them soak in water for a bit before you cut them up.
Kate Lloyd says
This is so helpful. Thanks Kate!!