Many times I would pass by a great deal on a bulk food item because I think to myself “I’ll never use ALL of THAT by its expiration date”. That was until I realized that freezing food is one of the easiest and simplest ways to save money. The key is to always stock up on food when prices are low, but if your food spoils and ends up in the garbage before you get a chance to eat it, then so does your money. Whether it’s buying in bulk or saving leftovers, storing food in your freezer is a commonly overlooked way to save money.
Learn to love your left overs. Freeze those left over mashed potatoes in individual servings. Too much pasta sauce? Freeze it. Too much ribs left over from your BBQ? Freeze it! Left over pulled pork? It Freezes well! Time is money too. You spent the time making the food, keep it out of your trash and save it for lunch or dinner another day! Even breakfast items like waffles and pancakes can be frozen, and can be easily heated on those busy mornings.
By doubling a recipe you can save money, time and electricity. Consider doubling your recipe next time you cook and freezing the food in freezer safe containers. You’ll be thankful on those really busy days that you already have a home cooked meal ready to heat. Casseroles and Lasagna are easy to prepare in large batches, but doubling most any recipe would work too. Plus, its Healthier to eat a homemade frozen meal than a prepackaged, sodium filled one.
Cookies, Cakes, and muffins freeze very well. You can freeze a whole cake, or just a slice. My favorite sweets to freeze are cake balls. These freeze surprising well, even with their chocolate coating. Cookies are very easy to freeze too; you can freeze them already cooked or freeze the dough for later. Just scoop your dough balls onto a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. Once frozen you can dump them into a zip lock bag and store in your freezer for later. Just add a minute to your cook time and you’ll always have fresh cookies ready for when guests stop by.
Forget about those overpriced smoothie making packets. Freezing Smoothie ingredients is a great time saver for when you want a refreshing treat this summer. Buy and freeze fruit when you see a great deal. You can also freeze yogurt and juice into ice cube trays, once frozen just pop them into your smoothie bags.
You can take the same approach for crock pot meals, freezing all of the ingredients in one bag. Just be sure to write the cooking instructions on the bag, along with the date.
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- Label everything!
- Let food cool off completely before putting it in the freezer.
- An almost empty freezer is more expensive to operate than one that is nearly full. Keep your freezer 75% full.
- Microwave or the refrigerator is the best way to deforst. If you’re short on time you can also speed up de-frosting by submerging your plastic baggies or containers in a sink full of cold water.
- Some vegetables need to be blanched before freezing. Times vary for each vegetable.
- Freeze liquids such as broths, soups, and yogurt in ice trays. Once frozen you can put them back in the freezer in a plastic bag or container and take them out as needed.
Most Americans just use their freezer to stock prepackaged frozen meals, vegetables, meat and ice cream. But by getting a little more creative you can turn your freezer into a money and time saver with little effort.