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