Don’t think of your freezer as just the place you stash your popsicles and chicken nuggets. It’s as valuable to your kitchen as your pantry, and it can be used to make your cooking so much easier.
For everything you freeze:
1. Use freezer bags or vacuum seal food to protect from freezer burn and off flavors.
2. Label food with the date it went into the freezer with a Sharpie marker that won’t rub off.
For specifically meats:
3. Divide meats by portion so you can pull out exactly what you need.
4. Add marinades with the meat in freezer bags and it will marinate as it thaws.
5. Use frozen meats within 3 months for best flavor.
6. These can go stale quickly when stored at room temperature.
7. Freeze in tightly sealed containers or bags to keep them fresh longer, and use directly from the freezer in recipes.
8. Whole grains and flours can be frozen indefinitely.
9. Use frozen nuts within 2 years.
Baked goods like pancakes, waffles, and bagels, or fresh fruit you want to save:
10. Pre-slice bagels and breads.
11. Pit and slice fruits like peaches and cherries.
12. Freeze in a single layer on a wax paper-lined baking sheet, then store in freezer bags or vacuum seal.
13. Use baked goods within 6 months.
14. Use frozen fruit within a year.
Liquids like chicken broth, tomato paste, or wine:
15. Pour into small freezer bags and press gently to remove excess air.
16. For very small quantities, pour into ice cube trays.
17. Like meat, divide into recipe-friendly portions like 1 cup or 2 tablespoons.
18. Use within 1 year.
Saucy meals like curries, Bolognese, and chili:
19. Portion leftovers into freezer bags and lay flat on a baking sheet to freeze.
20. Once solid, stack in the freezer to make more space.
21. Use leftover meals within 6 months.
If you don't have time for these steps, there are plenty of awesome frozen foods that will help you pull a healthier dinner together in no time. Check out our 7 Freezer Essentials article for more!