Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Basic tips for freezing food

Freezing is one of the simplest and least time consuming ways to save money, by preparing food in advance or saving excess amounts from going to waste. A full freezer is more energy efficient.  

I use these cute labels on my frozen foods. They can be used for months or for different types of food. For example you could use the red circle for all meat dishes or all dishes frozen in May.
 
Foods which DO NOT freeze well:
Cabbage, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, parsley, radishes, whole celery
Cream or custard fillings, milk sauces, sour cream
Cooked egg whites, icings made from egg whites
Fried foods
Fruit jelly, gelatine
Mayonnaise (it separates; use salad dressing instead)
Sour cream (it becomes thin and watery)
Cooked macaroni, spaghetti or rice
 
Storage times for basic products:
Bacon - one month
Butter or margarine - nine months
Cheese:
- Dry-cured cottage cheese, ricotta two weeks
- Natural, process three months
Cream - two months
Whipped cream - one month
Fish or shellfish:
- 'Fatty' fish, three months
- 'Lean' fish, six months
- Shellfish, three months
Fruits (except citrus) - eight to twelve months
Citrus fruits and juices - six to eight months
Ham - two months
Meat, ground or stewing - three months
Meat, cooked or leftover - two to three months
Fresh beef or lamb roasts - twelve months
Fresh pork or veal roasts - eight months
Fresh beef steak - twelve months
Fresh lamb or veal chops/steak - nine months
Fresh pork chops - four months
Fresh variety deli meats - four months
Poultry:
- Cooked, with gravy, six months
- Cooked, no gravy, one month
- Duck or Goose, six months
- Uncooked (whole), chicken or turkey, 12 months
- Uncooked chicken pieces, nine months
- Uncooked turkey pieces, six months
Vegetables - eight to twelve months
Yoghurt (regular, plain) - one month
Yoghurt (regular, flavoured) - five months
 
Freezer ideas:
Freeze vegetables for no waste
We found that too much money was being wasted on vegetables that were not eaten in time, and would 'go off'. This little method has fixed the problem! As soon as we return from the shops, I peel, chop, bag and freeze my vegetables. Not only have I saved money, but they cook in less than half the time. It really works! None of our vegetables go to waste anymore, we save money as well.

Bulk buy and freeze:
Our family loves meat so I always buy it in bulk on special and freeze in a freezer bag or plastic container. We enjoy our meat even more at half the usual price!

Frozen foods inventory:
Keep a frozen foods inventory near the freezer and keep it up-to-date by listing the foods and dates of freezing as you put them in the freezer. Check them off as you take them out. By keeping an inventory, you will know the exact amounts and kinds of foods that are in the freezer at all times. It also helps to keep foods from being forgotten!
 
Freeze leftover wine into ice cubes for cooking
If you don't want to waste leftover wine, simply pour it into an ice-cube tray and freeze it. When you next need wine with for cooking, simply take out a wine ice cube and use it. Easy!

Freeze tomato paste
Don't let leftover tomato paste or puree go to waste. I buy a large tin of tomato puree and freeze it in blocks in an ice cube tray. Keep the blocks frozen in bags and just use them as needed. Each one is equivalent to about a teaspoon of paste in taste, they are convenient and don't go off. The cost comes out at least as good as the jars of paste.

Freezer packs: You can never have too many freezer packs! we have 6.
 I hope you enjoyed my freezing tips.
Just remember to use your food in the correct time frame for best results!
♥ Lady Creativity

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