If you are looking to trim down your grocery bill you might want to consider stocking up and freezing. There are certain times during the year when grocery items are going to be marked down significantly. Most people know they can freeze bread, meat, flours and other items that are commonly frozen.
What some people don't realize is there is a wide range of items that can be frozen. Produce for example freezes up great! When produce is in season you will find great stock up prices. If you find a good deal on fruits or vegetables make sure to stock up and freeze for later on in the year when it is out of season.
Stocking up and freezing when the price is right can decrease your grocery budget dramatically!
Foods That Freeze Well:
Baked Goods – Make a double batch of cookies, muffins, waffles, or pancakes and freeze the extras to use later for a quick breakfast or a fast snack. You can also freeze bread, brownie, and cupcakes.
Baking Supplies – Do you live in an area where you have trouble with insects? Place your flour and sugar in the freezer to keep them safe. You can also stock up on baking supplies when they go on sale at the holidays and extend the shelf life by freezing them.
Beans – You can cook beans in bulk and the freeze them in 1 3/4 cup quantities to use in recipes in place of canned beans.
Block Cheese – Cheese can be expensive but you can also find cheese at rock bottom prices! When you find a great price on cheese stock up. Cheese will last in the freezer for about six months. I suggest shredding your cheese prior to freezing to prevent it from crumbling.
Broccoli – Broccoli is a great example of a vegetable that freezes well. Prior to freezing your broccoli soak it in salt water for about 10 minutes, this will help to kill any insects. After you have soaked your broccoli, blanch for about 4 minutes then freeze.
Celery – Celery will lose it's crunch in the freezer, but not it's flavor. Thinly slice it or dice it, and add it to you in soups and casseroles.
Corn on the Cob – You might be surprised to hear that corn is very freezer friendly! The easiest way to freeze corn is to leave the husk on and then put in an airtight bag. Once you are ready to enjoy your corn you can simply add it to boiling water or microwave it for 5 minutes. Next time you see a stock up price on corn, take advantage of it!
Eggs – Did you know that you can freeze eggs? Freezing eggs is actually very simple. Crack your eggs into ice-cube trays or into a freezer bag. Once you are ready to use your eggs, let them thaw out in the refrigerator.
Fruit – You can freeze just about any fruit. However, most fruit gets a little soggy after being in the freezer. Plan on using any frozen fruit for smoothies or baking.
Herbs – Just about any herb you can think of freezes up nicely. Place your herbs in an ice-cube tray with some water or stock. Once you are ready to use the herbs just toss them in your casserole, soup or anything else you might be cooking.
Milk – Surprisingly you can freeze complete gallons of milk. If you are going to freeze milk make sure to pour out a little before putting in the freezer, this will allow for expansion. Milk can be put in the freezer for up to six months. You can also freeze butter, cream cheese, and yogurt.
Dairy Products – You can many dairy products including butter, cheese, cream cheese, and cottage cheese.
Meat / Poultry – Meat does excellent in the freezer! Make sure to repackage the meat in freezer bags, this will help ensure your meats lasts for up to 12 months.
Mushrooms – You can also freeze mushrooms. Saute your mushrooms and then freeze them and they will be ready to add directly to dishes on a busy night.
Onions – Next time you see a good sale on onions, stock up! You can dice up your onions and freeze them flat in the freezer. Once you are ready to use them, just break off a section and you are all set.
Peppers – Peppers can be quite expensive, so when they go on sale buy them in bulk. You can dice them or cut them in long strips for fajitas and stir-frys and then freeze the peppers for future use.
Rice – Place rice in an air-tight container and you can freeze it for up to a year. Freezing rice also prevents any pests from invading the rice. You can also freeze rice after it has been cooked.
Spinach – Rinse and then blanch for 2 minutes. Once you have completed the first two steps you can put the spinach into freezer bags for about 9 months.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes do very well in the freezer but if you roast them first they are even better! Slice your tomatoes in half add some of your favorite herbs and a little olive oil. Let them roast in the oven for about 4 hours at 230 degrees. Once they have roasted and cooled, place them in freezer bags.
Tips For Freezing Food:
- Make Freezer to Crock Pot Meals. Pre-assemble the ingredients for a slow cooker recipe, place them in a gallon size freezable bag, and freeze. Pull them out on the day you want to cook them and dump them in your Crock Pot for an easy dinner.
- Usually when you are freezing raw vegetables you will want to blanch them first. Blanching is very easy to do and only takes a couple of minutes. You can read about blanching and freezing vegetables here. You will find a chart for freezing vegetables here. It includes blanching times for a long list of vegetables.
- How you package your food will determine how well it does in the freezer. When freezing food make sure to take as much air out of the packing as possible. I would suggest saving up for a Vacuum Sealer.
- Always allow warm food to cool down to room temperature before freezing it.
- Invest in freezer paper, heavy-duty zip lock bags, quality foil and plastic wrap. Having all of these items at your disposal will help ensure your food holds up well in the freezer.
- If you are not going to use meat within 1 to 2 months, take it out of the supermarket packaging and rewrap it. Supermarket packaging is not air-tight so you will want to repackage the meat to prevent freezer burn.
- Clearly mark all of your items with the date and what's in the bag. This will allow you to quickly see what day you put the items in the freezer and what exactly it is you froze.
- Thaw food in the refrigerator or in the microwave.
What foods do you freeze?