Saturday, 9 June 2012

Save Money and Eliminate Waste by Using your Freezer

According to a statistic widely reported by the BBC, the average British family wastes £680 of food a year.  I estimate that we've wasted about £5 over the last year, and I still feel guilty about it.   There are very few fresh foods that can't be preserved by freezing.  Here are some suggestions to help keep the food you buy from ending up in the bin.


If a vegetable can be cooked, it can be frozen.  There's no need for any veg to go to waste, with the possible exception of lettuce and cucumber.  If things in the fridge are starting to go a bit limp or if you bought more than you can use, cook and freeze them.  The technique I use with big bags of onions is applicable to pretty much any veg.  Prepare it as you normally would, either for eating as a side dish or for using as an ingredient.  Freeze in plastic take-away containers or any containers with snap-on lids. Defrost overnight in the fridge or heat from frozen in the microwave.


Fruit loses its texture and leaks juice when frozen and defrosted, but frozen fruit still has plenty of uses.  Bananas can be frozen right in their skins.  Allow them to defrost just enough to stick a spoon in and serve for dessert with hot fudge or caramel sauce.  Berries can be frozen raw (slice large strawberries first) in single serving containers and defrosted for stirring into yogurt or porridge.  Apples, pears, peaches and plums can be sliced, cooked and frozen for use in pies, tarts or crumbles. 


Bread can be easily repackaged for freezing in old bread bags sealed with twist ties. It only takes about an hour to defrost at room temperature. Buy reduced price bread on its sell-by date. Divide a loaf into bags containing 4-6 slices and keep them in the freezer to defrost as needed. Take advantage of multi-buy discounts on packs of baps or rolls and freeze the extras.


Cheese can start to go mouldy within a week of opening the package.  Freezing is a great way to extend it's life.  Grate hard cheeses like cheddar, edam or emmental and package in take-away containers.  Use straight from frozen in baked or grilled dishes or in cheese sauce.  Defrost for about an hour to use on cold sandwiches.  Buy big hunks of cheddar with 50% extra free and immediately freeze half the pack.


 Most people routinely use their freezers to store packages of meat, poultry and fish, but here are a few tips. 
  • Meat can be safely frozen at any time up to its 'use-by' date.  You don't need to freeze it on the day of purchase.
  • You can buy meat or fish reduced for quick sale on its 'sell-by' date and freeze.  Defrost in the microwave on the same day you use it. 
  • If large family packs of chops, steaks or chicken pieces are on sale, but you only need to feed one or two people, wrap the pieces individually in cling film and freeze for use as needed.   Divide large packages of mince into smaller portions and freeze in take-away containers.

No comments:

Post a Comment