The freezer is a time-poor family’s best friend and possibly one of the best ways for you to save time and money in the kitchen.
A well-packed freezer also saves on energy and running costs. I will try to freeze anything possible if I think it’s shelf life is going to go out of date.
6 freezing tips for time-poor families
Beat the use-by date
I suggest that you get into the habit of freezing your sauces, herbs, pre-blanched vegetables and other products that shelf life will go off rather quickly in the refrigerator as this not only saves having to buy the same ingredients again, but also spending your valuable time with preparing them again.
Buy good quality containers
Spending a little extra money on good quality freezer safe containers, will save you time and money in the long term.
Look out for specials in your local supermarket as you will see that they have storage containers at half price regularly. The trick is to pop a couple in your basket occasionally as this won’t feel as if it has cost you an arm and a leg.
Have a family meal plan
I spend time each week planning what I will be cooking. This saves me time and ensures I always know what we will be eating.
Share your ideas with your family as this also saves for headaches when you serve up your evening meal. Look into your freezer/pantry to see what items you already have at hand, the sauce for pasta or curry, casseroles, stir-fries, soups.
If you make up a Bolognese sauce, I always try to make up extra and freeze for use in different recipes. Having pre-prepared Bolognese sauces in the freezer I can take one out and whip up a tasty lasagne in no time. In fact, the sauce tastes better than when I make it the first time as the flavours seem more enriched and tastier.
Herbs can freeze too!
I like to buy fresh herbs and use them in my sauces and cooking. I particularly like to use herbs to create my delicious pesto.
Now, you don’t necessarily need to buy fresh herbs every week as they can be stored for up to 6 months in the freezer. Any of the fresh herbs I don’t intend to use straight away, I freeze in ice cube trays or small freezer safe containers as this allows me to take them out of the freezer and use them as and when I need them in my recipes once again. I like to chop the herbs up using a hand-held mincer or food processor. You can use whichever is easier for you.
Make your own stock
Another great tip is to make up a big batch of homemade stock. You can place it in ice cube trays and small containers to use as and when you need. This is a great way to add healthy low salt which is packed full of nutrients. My homemade stock also adds so much extra yummy flavours to any meal.