Freezer tips

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASince freezing food is a great way to reduce waste (as well as time and money!) I have been trying out some simple top tips, and here are my favourites:

Top tips

  • Freeze almost anything and for up to three months.
  • Freeze food from the fridge right up to the ‘Use By’ date.
  • Defrost food overnight in the fridge and use within 24 hours or defrost in the microwave at 50% power.   Certain things can be cooked straight from frozen.
  • Freeze food in freezer bags, foil, clingfilm or freezable containers.  Freeze chopped food as flat as possible.

Fruit

  • Chop up and freeze leftover fruit in a freezer bag.
  • To make a smoothie or ice lolly, combine banana, apple juice and any chopped fruit and whizz in a food processor.  Either drink or pour the mixture in to ice lolly moulds and freeze.
  • Over-ripe or excess bananas?  Peel, chop and freeze in a freezer bag, then whizz in a food processor for between 2-5 minutes.  Keep scraping the banana off the sides and add a little water to loosen up if necessary, and the banana transforms in to creamy ice cream!   Great with honey and chopped nuts on top.
  • For other ice cream flavours, whizz some chopped frozen fruit with yoghurt and honey.
  • Freeze old grapes and sliced lemons to use as pretty ice cubes!

Veg

  • Avoid freezing veg with a high water content.
  • Blanching chopped veg before freezing keeps it fresh – boil in water for 2 mins, cool in cold water, drain then freeze.
  • Fry chopped ageing veg then add tinned tomatoes, a stock cube, garlic and dried herbs.  Freeze in portions in freezer bags as pasta sauce.
  • Grate potato and/or parsnips, dry by squeezing in a tea towel then add mixed herbs.  Heat oil in a pan and add the veg, packed tightly, to make a giant potato or parsnip rosti.  Fry the bottom and grill the top.  Freeze in bags then heat in pan again from frozen.  Eat with an egg on top!

Herbs

  • Chop leftover herbs and put in to ice cube trays with a little oil then freeze.  Scoop them out and use them in cooking.
  • Chop herbs and put in a freezer bag to use later as a fish rub or in stews/ salad.
  • Combine chopped herbs with butter, lemon zest and garlic and roll in cling film to make a big sausage shape that you can slice.  Great for garlic bread and on top of fish!

Other do’s

  • Freeze bread (pre-chopping if necessary) to make it last longer.  It only takes an hour or so for sandwiches to defrost, or it can be toasted straight away.  Homemade breadcrumbs should be packed flat and can be used immediately on gratins/bakes and to pad out burgers and fishcakes.
  • Muffins, pancakes, nuts, milk, butter and grated hard cheese (especially cheddar and stilton) all freeze well.
  • Milk freezes well – freeze asap and leave a little space for the milk to expand if putting it in another container.
  • Pour wine in to ice cube trays to use in cooking.

Info from Jamie Oliver, Kitchn and Love Food Hate Waste

To request a caddy bin for food waste, go to www.walthamforest.gov.uk.  Caddy bin waste is collected weekly April-September and two weekly October-March.

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