Ever have one of those weeks when, at the end of week, you have an assortment of dips and dabs of food left in your refrigerator? Before you throw that food away, how about rethinking which foods could be saved?
Having a stash of food in your freezer can help you jump-start your meal. You can also take advantage of sales and reduce waste by using your freezer.
To help you plan ahead, we have some ideas for extending the life of your fresh foods.
Peel the avocado, slice in half, and remove the pit. Place the avocado in a freezer bag and add lemon juice to reduce discoloration. Press the air out of the bag and freeze. The avocado will be slightly mushy when thawed and great for sauces or guacamole.
Lemon or Orange Slices
Slice and place in a plastic freezer container. Add water to cover the fruit. Leave room for expansion as the water freezes.
Cooked too much pasta or want to have some on hand for a quick dinner? Put this on your “freezes well” list. Under cook the pasta by a few minutes, let cool. Toss with a little oil and place in serving sized plastic freezer bags. Squeeze out the air and freeze. To thaw, microwave or cook in the sauce.
Have some fresh herbs that you want to preserve? Blend washed and dried leafy herbs with small amount of olive oil and freeze in ice cube tray. When the herbs are frozen solid, transfer to freezer bags and squeeze the air out.
Bought too many bananas? Freezing is a good way to keep them for adding to banana bread, pancakes, or smoothies. Take the skin off before freezing and store in freezer bag. The thawed banana will be mushy.
In my house I don’t use a lot of butter. I also believe that butter is required for enjoying baked goods. Yes, my butter is always stored in the freezer in a freezer bag. Take it out of the freezer and store in the refrigerator 24 hours before you need to use it or thaw slowly and gently in the microwave in short bursts.
Yes, it sounds like sacrilege to mention chocolate and freezing in one sentence. When you want to preserve your chocolate or remove temptation the freezer is a great place for that chocolate.
For chocolate to freeze safely the temperature must be lowered gradually. Wrap the chocolate tightly, put is in a freezer bag and squeeze out the air, the put it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Then move it to the freezer.
To thaw, reverse the process by moving the chocolate to the refrigerator, then to room temperature and allow it to thaw completely before unwrapping.
Cream Cheese and Sour Cream
Remember freezing either of these two items will change the texture. If you are using these items for baked goods, cheesecake, or casseroles the texture change is not a problem. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, reheat slowly, and stir constantly to prevent separating.
Somehow my recipes always leave me with a least a half a can of tomato paste leftover. Great news, tomato paste can be frozen, too. Line a cookie sheet with plastic wrap and portion the tomato paste in tablespoons then freeze. When the portions are frozen, wrap each in plastic wrap and then place in freezer bag. NOTE: Do not freeze tomato paste in the can.
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