10 Foods You Should Freeze to Save Time and Money
When you’re looking to save money, one of the first places you should look is your grocery bill.
Why? Because over 40% of the food in America is wasted (Sustainable Table).
That totals up to $165 billion per year.
That’s 133 billion pounds of wasted food.
Think about it – every time you empty your fridge of rotten or spoiled food, you’re throwing money into the trashcan. But this can easily be fixed!
One simple way to stop wasting food – and ultimately save time and money – is to start freezing foods strategically. This will give you the freedom to spend that extra money where you really want to spend it!
How many times have you purchased a loaf of bread just to throw half of it away later in the week? Bread is one of those items that needs to be eaten fairly quickly before it starts to grow mold, but unless you’re eating sandwiches for every meal, you probably aren’t making your way through an entire loaf.
Bread freezes and thaws out wonderfully! You can freeze loaves of bread, hamburger and hotdog buns, croissants, and dinner rolls. When they’re thawed out, you’d never know they were frozen.
Just wrap the bread in plastic wrap (or leave it in its original packaging), and put it in a freezer bag. It’ll last in the freezer for 3-6 months.
When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw out completely. If you want to liven up the crust a bit, put the bread in a 350-degree oven for about 10 minutes.
No more wasted bread!
Bonus tip: See an awesome special on bread at the grocery store? Buy a few extra loaves and freeze them to save on your grocery bills.
Extra bonus tip: If you make fresh bread, let it cool completely (3-4 hours), and then freeze what you won’t be using within the next 2 days. This will help your bread last since it doesn’t have any preservatives.
2. Cooked rice
Rice – particularly brown rice – takes a long time to cook. An easy way to make your life convenient for the future is to cook a large batch of rice and freeze the rest for later.
Let the rice cool completely, and then transfer it to a freezer bag. It’s recommended to freeze the rice in single serving sizes. When you’re ready to eat, simply let it thaw before heating, or let it defrost in your microwave.
You can also do the same thing for pasta, but some find that the texture isn’t quite as good as freshly cooked pasta, and pasta also doesn’t take quite as long to cook.
3. Chopped vegetables
It seems to happen every time – the recipe calls for half an onion or ¼ cup of bell pepper. What happens to the rest of those veggies? They usually become a part of the massive fridge-reno when you realize the fridge is full of molding produce.
The good news is that you can chop up your veggies all at once and freeze what’s left over in a freezer bag. You can then pull out the pre-chopped veggies for your next recipe!
Not only will you save money by buying half the amount of veggies, but you’ll save a ton of time. An added bonus? Since you’re chopping up everything at once, you only have to clean up those dishes once!
4. Deli sandwiches
If you’ve never tried this before, and you’re a lunchmeat-sandwich-type-of-person, you’re missing out!
Deli sandwiches freeze and thaw wonderfully. To make sure the bread doesn’t get soggy, simply put the lunchmeat between slices of cheese. The cheese will protect the bread from the moisture of the lunchmeat. You can also put mayo or mustard between the cheese with no issues!
Make sure you leave out veggies like tomatoes or lettuce. Pack those separately and add them at lunchtime.
The easiest way to eat a deli sandwich that has been frozen is to pull it out of the freezer in the morning and leave it out until lunchtime. It will be perfectly thawed out by noon!
5. Fresh herbs
Fresh herbs are quite expensive if you don’t have a garden in your backyard. A small container of fresh herbs often costs upwards of $2, and if you buy organic, you can double that number.
The good news here is that you can easily freeze any herbs you don’t use in time. Simply pack them in a freezer bag. If you have a FoodSaver, even better!
If the herbs are going in a hot dish, such as a soup, you don’t need to defrost them. Simply put them in frozen, and they’ll naturally thaw and warm up. If they’re being used as a topping, just set it out on the counter when you begin cooking, and they’ll be ready to go by serving time.
If burritos are a staple food item in your house, freezing extras is a must. When you prepare dinner, just make a few extras. Wrap them in foil, and they’re ready to be frozen.
This works great for breakfast burritos, too! Keep in mind that the contents of the burrito work best if they’re not extremely moist.
For example, a great breakfast burrito that would freeze well might include scrambled egg, bacon or sausage, shredded cheese, and sour cream.
A great dinner burrito might include shredded pork, shredded cheese, refried beans, and sour cream.
Veggies like tomatoes can cause your burrito to thaw out a bit soggy.
The best way to reheat a frozen burrito is to remove it from the foil and roll it in a paper towel. Place it on a plate and microwave it for 60 seconds on one side and 60 seconds on the other. It’ll be ready to eat!
7. Meal doubles
This tip is a huge time saver. Whenever you walk down the freezer aisles at the grocery store, pay attention to all of the different freezer meals. If those meals can be frozen, that means you can freeze them at home, too!
The next time you make a “freezable” meal, double it and freeze the other meal for another day. This will come as a huge relief when there’s a day where you really don’t feel like cooking.
Casseroles and pasta dishes freeze particularly well, and all you need to do is put it in a deep foil pan and wrap that pan in foil.
Prepare the dish just like you normally would, but freeze it before you cook it. Then, pull it out of the freezer the night before you plan to eat it. Let it thaw completely and then bake it like normal.
Most people already know that meat is 100% freezable. But the best part about freezing meat is that you can save a ton of money doing it.
Check your local grocery store ads before you go shopping. Don’t bother reading the whole ad – just scan the front and back pages. That’s where the best deals will be.
When there’s a really great sale on meat, stock up! Freeze everything you don’t need that week. Cha-ching!
9. Shredded cheese
Not all cheese can be frozen without sacrificing texture changes, but shredded cheese is a major exception.
When shredded cheese is on sale, buy a couple of extras and pop the bags right into the freezer – no special packing necessary. You can also get a 5-pound bag of shredded cheese for a low price at a store like Sam’s Club. Portion out the cheese into freezer bags, and save all that extra cheese for when you need it.
The frozen cheese can be incorporated into your meal frozen because it takes no time at all to thaw. If it’s not being cooked into the meal, simply set out the bag of shredded cheese 30 minutes before you need it. It’ll be thawed out and ready for garnishing in no time.
Last but certainly not least is butter. Butter is one of those items you run out of when you least expect it. How many times have you made a last-minute run to the store for butter?
This is another item that’s nice to get at a store like Sam’s Club because you can get a ton of it for a great deal. You also don’t need to package butter for freezing – just put the whole box in the freezer for later.
To thaw out frozen butter quickly, you can put it in your microwave on 10-second intervals until it softens. You can also grate frozen butter with a cheese grater – this thaws it out really quickly. Otherwise, just grab what you need the night before and let it thaw in the fridge overnight.
Do you have any other tips on freezing food to save time and money? 🥖 Share them with us in the comment section below! 🍚
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