Budget-Friendly Freezer Food Tips that Save Time
Freezing food is an economical way to stretch your food budget. By purchasing food in bulk, you'll be assured of having a range of meats, vegetables, and dairy on hand.
For serious food-peppers and meal planners, you might want to consider a separate stand-alone freezer. Do the math and determine if the cost of an extra freezer will help reduce your food costs in the long run.
When you have decided how much you can freeze, here are some more tips to help.
How and What to Freeze
Let’s start with those items that are freezer-friendly so that you know what to start buying in bulk. There are the obvious choices like most types of meat, poultry, and seafood. You probably already freeze portions of ground beef, steak, fish, shrimp, chicken, and pork before you use it. While you want to look up the exact storage times for each type of meat or seafood, it will last an average of 4-12 months if sealed properly in plastic freezer bags or storage containers.
You can also freeze just about any type of vegetable or fruit, though freezing fruits with thick skin like citrus and bananas should be peeled first. We love freezing fruits and vegetables as we make a lot of smoothies in my home. You can just drop the frozen fruits and vegetables right in your blender from their frozen state.
Freeze the Cheese
Now for a few surprises. Did you know you can freeze cheese? All you need to do is shred it first! This allows you to buy bigger packages of cheese and freeze it so it never goes to waste. You can save quite a bit of money by doing it this way.
Preparing Foods to Freeze
It is really important that you understand the proper way to freeze different types of foods. For example, if you want to freeze cheese, it should be shredded first. Avocados and bananas need to be peeled before being frozen.
For meat and poultry, decide beforehand if you want to divide them up or not. This is necessary if you will only need some of the meat to be defrosted, and not all at once. Otherwise, keeping them together is fine.
Avoid Freezer Burn
Make sure you label everything! No matter how much you think you will use it, you just never know. To avoid freezer burn and using up food that should have been thrown away earlier, write down what it is, the date you put it in, and when it expires.
Freezer-Friendly Cooked Food
Another option for freezing food you buy in bulk is to cook some of it before freezing. You can freeze raw meat and most types of meat, fish, and poultry can be frozen in their cooked form, just make sure you let it cool down before putting it into freezer bags or storage containers. Don't forget to label it so you know what it is and when it expires. Also, include any thawing or reheating instructions.
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