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What Foods You Can Freeze, and How to Freeze Meat and Vegetables Safely

Frugal living and money-saving tips are a part of my daily life. I love sharing ways to save!

Don't be afraid to use your freezer. You can put a lot more than ice cream in there!

Don't be afraid to use your freezer. You can put a lot more than ice cream in there!

What Foods Can You Freeze?

There are many foods that freeze well that cooks don’t have to throw out, but can use for later. While not all foods hold up well in the freezer, there are many that do, from meats to vegetables to sauces, to cooked foods and more. Stretching your food budget is especially important in these economic times, so I've compiled a list of items that do freeze just fine, as I have tried them myself.

How to Freeze Meats Safely

  • Check recommended freezing times for various meats.
  • You can save money—even if you're a single person—by buying ground beef, chicken, and other meats in bulk packages, separating it into smaller portions and freezing it.
  • If you do store meats too long in the freezer, they can get freezer-burnt. However, even freezer-burnt meats (they say) are not dangerous, but they don’t taste as good.
  • If you do find freezer-burnt food, you could cut off the bad parts and cook up the rest as treats for the dog. Chop it up to desired sizes, depending on the size of your dog; put a few in a baggie in the fridge, then freeze the rest.
  • Take out a little at a time to thaw in the fridge. Saves money on expensive dog treats. Tastes better and is probably healthier too!

How to Safely Freeze Vegetables

  • Cut up and freeze the veggies in your fridge if you think you can’t use them before they go bad. You won’t be able to defrost and use these veggies in salads or other fresh recipes, but you can steam such items as carrots and broccoli.
  • Freeze fresh spinach and cook it later with vinegar, salt, and pepper to make great-tasting spinach!
  • Frozen tomatoes can be put in spaghetti sauce, soups and stews, or other cooked dishes.
  • Never let onions, celery, or bell peppers go to waste. Chop and freeze before they spoil, and use them later in stews, stir-fry, spaghetti, casseroles, and other culinary creations..

What Else Can You Put in the Freezer?

  • Cream soups, broths: If you just need part of a can of cream of mushroom or other canned soup, freeze the rest and use for another recipe. The soup keeps just fine in the freezer.
  • Sauces: spaghetti, tomato, and other sauces freeze just fine.
  • Cooked foods: anything cooked, casseroles, or whatever, if in excess. Freeze and save for later!
  • Leftover veggies: Keep a freezer bag in the freezer for leftover spoonfuls of veggies such as green beans, peas, carrots, and any other that can be thrown together in a crock pot later for a soup or stew.

Can you freeze cheese?

Yes, all kinds of cheeses, including cream cheese and ricotta cheese. The texture may be changed some, but it works. I like freezing block cheeses, as I use them in a lot of casseroles or enchiladas, and the frozen blocks (heated in the microwave a few seconds) grate much more easily, simply falling apart under the grater.

Can you freeze bread?

Yes. Buy on sale and thaw when needing to use, even if just a few pieces at a time. Freeze leftover hushpuppies, biscuits, and heat up one or a few at a time, as needed.

These are a number of the foods that I’ve found freeze successfully. As I’m into saving money, I always try freezing something before throwing it out. Try it yourself. Be creative in seeing what you can salvage.

Comments

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 09, 2012:

rajan--Thanks for commenting. Glad the hub is helpful!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 08, 2012:

Angelo--Hot sauce? Got a recipe for that? Yummy!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 07, 2012:

Rfordin--I bet you will love having a freezer. I know I do!

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 07, 2012:

Victoria, a very useful and interesting list of foods that can be frozen. Nice to have this list in these times.

Voted as such and shared.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 06, 2012:

You're welcome, Carol. A lot of it I have learned through trial and error.

Angelo52 on August 06, 2012:

Interesting list of things to freeze. I usually make hot sauce in a batch, fill my hot sauce jar and put the rest in a container in the freezer. When I get low, I'll thaw it out.

Rfordin from Florida on August 06, 2012:

We just bought a freezer for this exact purpose. Hopefully I can be as disciplined as I need to be in order to have the freezer pay for itself. Thanks for sharing!

~Becky

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 06, 2012:

mvillecat--A vacuum sealer! How fun!!!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 06, 2012:

CC--I need to do the broth thing. I haven't done that yet. Need to! Thanks!

carol stanley from Arizona on August 06, 2012:

This is one of the most useful hubs ever. I am always wondering what should and should not be frozen. Thanks for sharing all this great information. Voted UP.

Catherine Dean from Milledgeville, Georgia on August 06, 2012:

Great Hub. I have been couponing and stockpiling for over a year now. I received a vaccum sealer for my birthday and I love it. So much great advice. I voted up.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on August 06, 2012:

Yep, I love to freeze my veggies from the garden. I take leftover scraps from cutting up fresh veggies and freeze them so that I can make broth with them when I've collected enough. Love it!!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on March 19, 2012:

X-Con--It's amazing all the food that can be saved by freezing it. Try it!

X-Con from The Free World! on March 19, 2012:

Very good information. I throw food out too often because it goes bad. Maybe now I'll try and freeze it first!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on March 09, 2012:

Perspycacious--I've noticed, too, that the related hubs don't always relate. I wonder why not??? Odd, huh? Thanks for commenting!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on March 09, 2012:

Good luck, Jools99. I'm making some life changes myself. Conserving and saving wherever I can is part of it. Happy adventure...!

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on March 09, 2012:

Once again we have HP's "Related Hubs" in the sidebar some of which have little to do with the topic of the Hub! Others, myself included, have written additional helpful information which could have added to a reader's knowledge on this topic. A misservice to readers and Hubbers?

Jools Hogg from North-East UK on March 09, 2012:

Great hub. I am making a life change very soon which will mean I will have almost no income so any tips and tricks for cutting costs is great at the moment. I am intending to grow my own vegetables etc. It will be an adventure, that's for sure! Voted up.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 25, 2012:

Come on, Cags! We want recipes. They're probably great. They could go viral!!!!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 24, 2012:

homesteadbound--I love your idea about freezing small amounts of leftovers. I do that with veggies, but I forget about meats or grains, especially grains. Great idea. I'm going to start throwing them in together for a later stew. Thanks for sharing that idea, and for commenting on mine!

Cagsil from USA or America on January 24, 2012:

Hey Vicki, you don't seriously think for a second that I would even contemplate giving away my recipes or technique for cooking the meals I prepare. LOL! Never going to happen. :) But, nice try anyways. :)

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 24, 2012:

Thanks, again, for the vote, Cags! You should write some hubs on your recipes. I love steak! And tender chicken--yum! And I've been looking for a good meatloaf recipe. Hub it! :-)

Cagsil from USA or America on January 24, 2012:

Hey Vicki, am I good cook? Well, if I go by what is said by others? Then I would have to say that yes I am a good cook. I can cook many different foods and I'll only give you a few examples: No one in my family will eat any other meatloaf aside from mine. Whenever I make chicken or turkey? Then there's no need for a knife to cut the pieces because the pieces can be cut with the dull side of a fork. I can cook a steak that is exceptional due to the fact that you could cut through it with either a butter knife or a fork. ;) And, you're welcome for the vote up. It was a very good article. :) :D

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 24, 2012:

Cags, are you a good cook? :-) Sounds like you've got things under control at your place I appreciate your comments and voting up!

Cindy Murdoch from Texas on January 24, 2012:

Great hub. Many pre-cooked meals freeze well especially those that have sauce.

I also like to keep a zip lock bag in the freezer for small amounts of leftovers that I then use to create a stew when I have enough. This could be meats, pasta, grains, veggies, and broths.

Thanks so much for SHARING!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 24, 2012:

Perspy--USDA booklets--I didn't know that. Neat idea. I may see if I can find one of those. Thanks for the helpful comment!

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on January 24, 2012:

mljdgulley--Great idea about the rice, because I always make too much! I didn't know it froze well, though. Awesome tip.Thanks!

Cagsil from USA or America on January 24, 2012:

Very good hub Vicki! :) Very helpful. I don't have any issues with the food I store or buy. When I buy my food it is always in somewhat of a bulk package and I separate it, because there's only two people who eat here constantly. I do have my nieces over once a week, but I take out more than I would normally. It's all used up before it would go to waste. I'm working on learning how to prepare meals better so I can cut down on the amount I have as leftovers. LOL! Thank you for sharing. Voted up! :)

Demas W Jasper from Today's America and The World Beyond on January 24, 2012:

County Extenson Services in many parts of the country, plus USDA booklets have loads of information on this topic, much of it free for the asking. They are also good sources for expert quotes in Hubs, as I found out on this topic. Good to keep this in front of the public and maximize the safe use of our freezers for colorful, nutritious, good textured foods not past their prime.

mljdgulley354 on January 24, 2012:

Great hub. I love freezing left overs. It's great to have a quick meal as well as saving money. I make up a big pot of rice and freeze it in baggies to use later. It microwaves well and is quick for breakfasts and recipes that call for rice.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on October 22, 2011:

Thanks, AmaTainted. I've learned a lot about what freezes well adn what doesn't through trial and error. It sure beats throwing out food if freezing will preserve it. Thanks for reading!

Amanda from Texas on October 21, 2011:

very useful! thank you so much.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on September 14, 2011:

Mailxpress, I hope that my hubs are helpful. I do hope to write more hubs about saving money. I took a look at your hubs--look like great topics. I'm going to read more and follow you, too. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Michelle Cesare from New York on September 14, 2011:

Great Hub. I am now following you. Keep it up. I feel in this economy writing Hubs about different ways to save money is a hot topic.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 20, 2011:

Oh, that makes me feel so good! Believe me, you're on my list, too! I'm sure I'll be visiting another of your hubs soon. Thanks so much for your encouraging words.

Binaya.Ghimire on August 20, 2011:

Dear Victoria, you are one of the few writers I love to read on hubpages regularly.

Victoria Lynn (author) from Arkansas, USA on August 20, 2011:

Thanks, Binaya! I enjoy thinking about and writing about different things. I love creating poetry and reading other great poets (such as you!), but I also have other interests that I like to write about, as well. I like the variety. The topics are limitless, really. Thanks for commenting!

Binaya.Ghimire on August 20, 2011:

I'm amazed by your ability to write on all sorts of things.

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