A while ago now, somewhere in this vast space we call the internet, I read an article about freezing liberally. It got me thinking about the colossal emptiness of my own freezer. A half full ice tray and a couple of cold packs for the esky rattling around a midst not much else. For years I could have quite happily lived sans freezer altogether. Today it is quite a different story. My freezer is over flowing.
Looking inside you will find the usual suspects. A little meat, a left over meal, a packet of frozen peas. But lately I have taken it a step further. Primarily with the aim of economising and reducing food waste. Here are my five little tips to get you freezing liberally.
1. Lemon Zest. If a recipe only calls for the juice of a lemon (or other citrus), juice it and then slice off the zest and freeze it to use in a recipe that just calls for zest. It will save you from ever finding a hard whole zested lemon in the fridge again. Zest defrosts in seconds when run under cold water and can then be finely diced.
2. Ginger. Buy a huge knob of ginger. Peel it using the edge of a teaspoon. Chop it into chunks and freeze in an air tight container. (Be sure to wear glasses or sunglasses while peeling. You would be surprised how juicy ginger is. Squirted into your eye it’s as painful as chilli. Trust me!) To use, simply grate finely while frozen. No need to defrost first. No more dried out mouldy bits of ginger in the fridge, and no more buying it week to week.
3. Liquid Portions. One birthday my mother-in-law who lives in France sent us two silicon muffin trays. Easiest muffin trays to clean ever. Extra upside, they come in handy for freezing food, particularly liquids, in portions. Whether it be fish stock, pumpkin mash or mango puree, I’ll spoon portions into the muffin cups, freeze and next morning remove them into a plastic freezer bag to use as needed. If trying this for the first time, first measure the volume of the muffin cup with water.
4. Croutons. I make my own sourdough bread. I find it more forgiving than yeasted breads and it saves us a pretty penny. More often than not the crusted ends get left behind and become stale, so I chop them up into croutons and freeze. Next time I make soup or panzella, I pull them out, defrost for 20 mins and then grill.
5. Summer Fruits. So plentiful compared to winter. This year I am trying to extend the season. Each week at the farmers market I have bought an extra kilo of something: apricots, plums, nectarines, mangoes. I’ve chopped them up and frozen them. No wonder my freezer is bursting at the sides. I plan to use them in compotes, ice-creams, smoothies and desserts for as long as they last.
Hope that gives you some ideas.