Apr 01, 2020
In the quest to make my food last longer, which btw, is everybody’s kitchen story, during the lockdown period, I scoured the world wide web for almost a day to reach a conclusion. It’s all about FREEZING! A freezer in times like these can make all your short shelf-life foods last longer! Such a simple thing you might think but it has changed my life during these lockdown times. There was a gamut of ingredients that I had no idea could be stored, so here’s how you can freeze your favourite perishable ingredients. You’ll be surprised by a few of them.
Tips to Freeze:
Let’s start with the easiest and the most believable one, vegetables. Yes, they’re are the most perishable items in our pantry. But, now you can easily enjoy them at your convenience by freezing them! You can freeze vegetables like broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, corn, spinach, beans, peas etc using this method.
How to freeze vegetables: First blanch the vegetables that you want to freeze, then put them in ice-cold water. The next step is to completely dry them out. Use zip-lock bags or air-tight containers to freeze.
Storing sliced fruits is the smarter move here as you can evenly place them in layers without sticking to one another & freeze. You can also store whole apples & bananas if you like but it’s only going to occupy that much more space.
How to store fruits: Apples & bananas can be stored for up to a year in a freezer bag if sliced & evenly layered. While berries can be frozen for more than a year and as is, for strawberries, you can remove the stem. Citrus fruits if stored, can be peeled & thawed as and when required. But, they can last up to 3 months only and will lose their taste beyond a point.
3. Soups & Stocks
I know freezing soups sounds disgusting and smelly but avoid using onion & garlic while freezing a particular soup. You can always add the onion-garlic tadka right before eating it. Leftover veggies & chicken stock also can be made at home. Stock can be made by boiling all the veggies along with spices for flavour.
How to stock soups & stock: Once cooled, use Tupperware or air-tight plastic containers to freeze it. You can also freeze it in ice trays (in the form of a concentrated soup mix) and use it one at a time.
Yes, I was really surprised by the technique of freezing up eggs! The most interesting part about freezing eggs is that you can either mix the yolks & whites together or even separate them. Make sure the eggs are fresh before you store them. Use ziplock/ freezer bags or ice trays for stocking them up.
How to freeze eggs: To store whole eggs, crack them open & use a mixer to blend them. You can transfer the mix in ice trays or freezer bags. To store whites & yolks, separate the two. Yolks can be first placed delicately on a tray & freezed, once frozen, transfer them into a freezer bag. For whites, use containers or bags & label depending on the number of whites in one bag.
5. Meat & Seafood
Now many might say that coronavirus is spreading through the meat but that’s not true & it’s proven! If you’re a hardcore meat lover, this freezing trick can be a great way for you to store your stock. If you’re planning to store meat, it should directly be frozen and not kept in the refrigerator first & then transferred to the freezer.
How to freeze meat & seafood: While storing meat, double-wrap it so that it doesn’t get freezer burnt. You can store your meat with this technique for up to 2-3 months. Make sure you’re tucking away these wrapped packs in the farthest corner of the fridge. Before consuming it, remove from freezer overnight or at least 6 hours in advance.
6. Bread & Bakes
Storing bread in time when it’s frugally available in the market is great for people living alone, away from families! Don’t let it stale away on the countertop or in the refrigerator, make use of your freezer to store bread or any kind of bakery items like cookies, cakes etc.
How to store bread & bakes: Double wrap the bread with cling film & freezer bag so that your bread doesn’t catch excess moisture. Using the same technique, you store cupcakes, muffins & brownies too. These items can be stored up to 2-3 months. Cookies can be stored in the baked form in resealable bags & the dough can be stored in scoops too.
Milk getting spoilt is a constant worry for most of us. But, what if I tell you that you can stock up milk too! Having said that, freezing milk has its own drawbacks too. It might split once you bring it back to warm temperatures. However, the nutrients will stay, the taste not so much.
How to store milk: Remove from packet, boil it & bring it to room temperature before storing. Now take ice trays with lids or small air-tight containers to make batches. Pour the milk in it & store it away.