Keep your cool and reduce food waste

Filed in Blog by on January 26, 2015 15 Comments
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wpid-photogrid_1369499248824In a recent newsletter, I shared a tip I picked up from the Love Food Hate Waste website about freezing baked beans.

Did you know you could freeze baked beans?

One of our readers wrote back to me with some of the items she freezes and I’m constantly amazed at the things you can prolong the life of to reduce food waste.

Sue wrote

“I freeze everything I possibly can that means I will make full use out of every gram of stuff that I buy.I grate and freeze cheese, leaving it free flowing in the tub means you can take out exactly the amount you need for any sandwich or recipe.

I freeze bread, first loosening the slices and then once frozen push them back tightly together, this means I can defrost slice by slice just enough for a piece of toast or a couple of rounds of sandwiches.

I slice bagels in half and then freeze them back in their wrapper, this means I can pull out half a bagel to have with a cup of coffee if a light snack or breakfast is all I fancy.

I freeze slices of cooked meats in pairs, just enough to add to my husbands salad sandwich (I’m a veggie) and meaning that a full pack of slices never dries up in the fridge.

I freeze left over wine (not very often leftover admittedly) in ice cube trays to add to stews and casseroles.

I make large quantities of pesto and freeze that in ice cube trays.

I make and freeze ‘veg hash’, simply blitzed in the food processor celery, onion and carrot and freeze in portion sized bags or boxes.  I use this whenever a recipe starts ‘finely dice an onion’.  This saves so much work and is great for using up the last bit of celery or the stump and the tired carrots that somehow always seem to get forgotten about in the fridge drawer.”

Isn’t this great? In some cases it’s time saving too.

I’d love to hear – what are the things you freeze regularly that we need to know about?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (15)

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  1. Bellen says:

    I, too, freeze as much as possible. Just now, I froze six servings ([email protected] cup each) of cooked lentils. I eat them, hubby doesn’t, but it makes sense to cook a large amount. Used the leftover water on some potted plants on the front porch.

    Currently I have frozen roasted red peppers from a jar too large for us to finish before they spoil, left-over turkey gravy from Christmas, 1 cup portions of turkey broth from the carcass,
    rotisserie chix in 2 serving size, beef drippings from roasts so hubby can make soup, several 1-cup portions of assorted greens from the garden to get us thru the summer when pickings are slim, dollops of whipped cream, almond milk as we bought too much to use but at a great price, and soon I’ll be freezing 100gm portions (I”m diabetic and that’s what my body can handle) of loquats – our tree should produce about 40-50 lbs this year. And I keep a bread bag of vegetable trimmings like onion skins, ends of celery, carrot tops & peelings, etc. so when the bag is full I’ll roast them and make a deep, dark, delicious vegetable broth.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Fabulous idea with the lentils, Bellen. I LOVE dahl and hadn’t thought to batch cook the lentils. I’ll try it out! It’s sounds like you have a very organised freezer over there 🙂

  2. Jenny says:

    I freeze most things, I always make big portions of meals and freeze some for the future.
    Just defrosted some cut frozen kale though and its gone mushy and stinks.
    I couldn’t eat it so I put it in the compost but would love to know how to freeze it for next time as it comes in such huge amounts!

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hi Jenny, I eat a lot of kale so I blanch for a minute, freeze and use directly from frozen in soup. It does take on a bit of a funky taste, but I can put up with it. I find it doesn’t last well without taking on that bitter taste, so try and use it within a month. Hope that helps!

      • Jenny says:

        Thanks for the tips, the length of time must be the reason it’s gone off! It’s been in the freezer since late november!

  3. Kipley says:

    You can freeze lemons and limes. Cut them into the shapes you’ll use – 1/2 or wedges – first. I keep them in a zip lock bag. You can also freeze bananas – but they are really only good for smoothies and banana bread. And tomatoes! peeled or not – then they are great for sauce. I freeze cherry or grape tomatoes and add them sliced to shrimp scampi and the like.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Great suggestions, thanks Kipley. I’ve never frozen lemons but they go off so quickly I think I’ll start. We usually have bananas in the freezer for instant ‘ice cream’ 😉 Good tip about freezing tomatoes for sauces too – we grow them in the summer and invariably end up with too many!

  4. Kipley says:

    I also keep a zip lock bag in the freezer for all the useful trimmings from food prep – carrot peels, the bottom of the celery, the ends of asparagus…. when the bag is full I make veggie stock. Simmer simmer simmer then strain out the veggie bits and throw them in the compost. I add the juice from cooked meat to this too.

  5. just Gaij says:

    I freeze leftover fresh herbs. The tougher ones (rosemary and thyme) fare better and can be defrosted and used whole. The softer ones (flat leaf parsley and coriander) go a bit mushy but are perfect for stews and sauces. I also freeze chillies and root ginger, which can be grated while still frozen, skin and all. Parmesan rinds add depth to chicken stock and I freeze them until required. I also keep a supply of frozen egg whites for meringues.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Fantastic ideas – thanks Just Gaij and I’m loving the herbs tip as ours do really well in the garden but the soft leaved varieties die back in the winter – freezing them would be a good way to use up those aromatic leaves later in the year.

  6. just Gaij says:

    Oh, and I also grate and freeze odd slices of bread for breadcrumbs.

  7. I always freeze cake, if I make one I vary rarely eat the whole thing before it starts going dry, so I slice it, wrap each slice in foil, then freeze. I like to defrost it in the microwave, so you get warm cake and if it’s got icing on that also melts and makes a sugar-y sauce!

  8. Jane says:

    If your frozen kale is going bitter, I would suggest blanching it for a bit longer before freezing, as blanching is meant to kill the enzymes that cause the bitterness. Blanching should also help to stop it from going bad.

  9. getfoodsavvy says:

    I think freezing is one of those things that a lot of people either forget about or are scared to do. Especially for those between 18-24, myself included, it’s hard to know how to do it, and how long certain things can keep for. It’s something that I definitely want to learn more about, and help introduce to my readers too

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