People around the world are readjusting to social distancing and staying at home—which means a lot more time spent cooking in the kitchen. And with recommendations to visit grocery stores on a limited basis, many are stocking up for a week or more of meals at a time. But how to avoid letting food go to waste? It’s simple: freeze it!
Kajsa Ernestam, R.D., nutritionist and nutrition project manager for the Lifesum self-care app offers tips on freezing a variety of foods—some of which you might never thought you could freeze. Plus, some of her favorite easy recipes.
“A positive thing about this time is that people are spending more time cooking,” says Kajsa.
Milk and Yogurt. Milk will last for up to 3 months in the freezer, according to Kajsa. The same for yogurt. “Particularly when you freeze milk, make sure to leave a little room in the container for expansion,” she advises.
Eggs. “A lot of people don’t realize that you can freeze eggs, they just need to be out of the shell,” says Kajsa. She recommends cracking 2-3 eggs into a container with a lid. “But don’t crack 10 or a dozen eggs into one container, unless you’re going to cook with them all at once.” Two of Kajsa’s favorite egg recipes: Shakshuka and Egg Muffins.
Cheese. As with milk, cheese can be frozen. Kajsa recommends grating chunks of cheese as it will be easier to defrost. “Add a little cornstarch or flour to the bag before freezing to avoid clumping.”
Fresh Herbs. “Fresh herbs are a great flavor for any meal,” says Kajsa. Simply chop them up and put them in a freezer bag or sealed container. Another option: fill and freeze an ice cube tray with olive oil and your favorite fresh herbs, like basil, oregano or rosemary. When you’re ready to sauté some meat or veggies, simply put a cube or two in your pan—the cubes will melt quickly when heated.
Fruit. Before letting uneaten fruit go bad, simply freeze it. “One of my favorites is to freeze bananas before they go bad, because you can use them for recipes like Nice Cream,” says Kajsa. Or try blending together a frozen banana, some fresh or frozen mango and cocoa for a healthy ice cream that’s fun for kids. Another of Kajsa’s favorite healthy recipes with frozen bananas—and black beans!—Chocolate and Black Bean Smoothie.
Did You Know?
You can freeze avocado! “Take the peel off, mash it up a bit, add some lemon and freeze in a freezer bag or container,” says Kajsa.
Potato Chips. “I don’t recommend this as part of a daily diet, but chips are an okay snack now and then.” Kajsa shares that you can freeze chips to keep them crunchier longer.
Other freezing tips from Kajsa:
- If you’re prepping ahead and plan to freeze pre-cooked foods or meals, make sure food is cool before freezing. Why? “If you put warm food in the freezer, it will very likely get freezer burn, which will alter or ruin its flavor.” Also, to avoid freezer burn: if freezing in bags, be sure and squeeze out all of the excess air.
- You can basically freeze any vegetables. “Just be sure and chop or slice them first before freezing.”
- In general, when freezing foods, the more fat in the food, the shorter the time it should be stored in the freezer. For example, salmon (fatty) vs. lean fish.
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