Freezing full meals or ingredients gives you the flexibility to buy in bulk or save money when there’s a sale. Freezing comes in handy when you want to store a meal in the freezer for the unexpected meal train. Oh, and of course—when you start a deployment and haven’t yet adjusted to the smaller amount of food you need. There are so many reasons and types of food you can freeze!
Meal prep is incredibly popular — just like the Instant Pot and Air Fryer. But for some, meal prep can be incredibly daunting. What exactly can be made in advance, how long will it stay fresh, and can I actually freeze that? These are all questions that arise when talking about freezing meals. Almost anything can be frozen, but here is our list.
6 Surprising Foods You Can Freeze
Freezing cheese – either in whole blocks or shredded – gives you the opportunity to stock up! We know that shredded cheese isn’t as healthy as blocks of cheese, but we also admit that shredding a cup every time you need it is annoying. We suggest you buy it in block form, spend a few minutes shredding it with a food processor, portion it out into cups, and freeze it.
Freezing fruit is a great option for saving money and time. If you shop at Costco or Sam’s you may think you can’t possibly eat all those grapes at once—and you don’t have to. Flash-freeze the grapes on a cookie sheet then pop them in a freezer-safe bag and pull out a handful when you want them. Kids love to eat frozen grapes! You can also peel and slice bananas and flash-freeze them. If you have a bunch of different fruits, you can put them in smoothie packs and simply dump them in the blender when it’s time for a treat.
Dice onions, peppers, or chiles before putting them in freezer-safe containers. You can even flash-freeze them in half-cup sizes on a cookie sheet then transfer to a larger container for easier measuring later on. Freeze herbs in ice cube trays with water or stock. Blend spinach or kale with water and freeze them in ice cube trays as well.
RELATED: Meal Train Ideas that Aren’t Lasagna
Rice & Pasta
Rice is one of the best foods you can freeze. Make a big batch in your Instant Pot and freeze in one of two ways: Lay the rice flat on a cookie sheet to flash-freeze, then transfer to another container. Or you can freeze rice in serving sizes and have it ready to go for your next meal. Pasta works the same way. Freeze pasta in serving sizes then reheat by running hot water over the container.
Sauces & Stock
Most of the time, stock and sauces can be fully used in one meal. However, sometimes you’re trapped using 2 Tablespoons of tomato paste or 8 of the 14.5 ounces of tomato sauce. A simple solution is to freeze the rest! Sauces, stocks, or tomato paste can be frozen in a few ways, but one of the easiest is to use those ice cube trays again. (Once they are frozen, pop them out and toss in a bag or other container and reuse the ice cube tray!). Now you just have to remember you froze some and not open another can.
Did your mom ever freeze milk growing up? This always seemed like a crazy idea, but with how much milk kids can go through, it’s actually pretty brilliant. Freezing gallons of milk in plastic containers are the way to go. The containers need to be able to expand, so this won’t work with glass. (Note: this doesn’t work well with almond milk.) When it’s time to use the frozen milk, allow it to thaw completely and shake before using. The same goes for buttermilk or heavy cream, so — just like sauces — if you only need a portion, you can freeze the rest.
There are so many foods you can freeze—from full meals to leftovers and cookie dough to pancakes. A couple more helpful hints: label bags and containers very clearly with the date you froze it and keep a running inventory of what you have. Now go forth and start freezing food!
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on Delicious Freezable Breakfast Burritos
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