Thursday, August 30, 2012

I ♥ my freezer - my favorite freezing tips

Over time I have really learned how to use my freezer to help me save time, money and eat healthier.  Some of these tips might seem obvious to some of you but to me they were nothing short of revolutionary and they have changed the way I shop, cook and eat.  I save money buying in bulk or when produce is fresh and on sale and I know I eat healthier by making healthy foods more convenient to use.
Cooked Bean & Lentils. 
Often I cook a batch of beans or lentils but don't eat them right away but if you freeze the leftovers in a storage container then you need to take the whole container out to use them and sometimes I just want to grab a 1/2 cup of beans or lentils on a salad.  Here is a way to freeze them so you can just use what you need, keeping the rest frozen.

Spread beans (I have lentils in pictures below) in a thin layer on wax paper.  I even did a double layer to save space.  Lay flat in freezer until lentils are just frozen (you might want do the first step on a plate or small cutting board to make transferring to the freezer easier.)  Once frozen, drop them in a freezer container or freezer bag, removing wax paper.  Since they are already frozen they will not stick together in the bag and you can remove as much as you want without defrosting the rest.

Cooked (Turkey) Bacon
I love turkey bacon but occasionally I can't eat a package fast enough to prevent spoiling.  Use same basic method as above.  Lay slices so they are not touching one another on wax paper and freeze.  Once frozen store as desired. 
Time saver! Frozen bacon will crumble.  No need to get out cutting board and slice up.  Just crumble frozen bacon using hands directly into frying pan (or egg mixture as I do,) they defrost quickly when heated.

Onions or Garlic
Freeze chopped onions directly in a plastic bag, not need for single layers because they break up easily even after freezing.  This is great when you chop up a giant onion and don't need it all right away.  When it's time to use them I don't defrost them, I just add them frozen to my recipe.  If you are like me and usually sauteing onions in olive oil, use caution when adding the frozen the defrost in the oil there may be some spitting oil. 

This works really well for garlic, too.  Have you ever wondered who can use up those great bags of peeled garlic cloves available in some stores?  Freeze them!  You can also freeze unpeeled garlic.  Just separate out the cloves first. 
Time saver! Frozen garlic peels MUCH easier

Coffee or Juice 
Coffee is expensive and there is always some leftover.  Freeze into cubes then store in bags.  Use them in smoothies or iced coffee drinks.  Works great with juice, too.
I haven't met a fruit that doesn't freeze well for use in smoothies or recipes.
Below are bananas and strawberries that are getting too ripe, sliced and frozen directly in the bag.
Kale, Spinach or other greens.
I have been starting my days out with a green smoothie for breakfast for about a month now and I'm addicted but I don't have time in the morning to chop a bunch of kale.  The frozen method works so much better!  Wash kale.  Sometimes if the stems are really thick and tough I will remove at least the ends.  Freeze whole kale leaves in freezer bag.  Time saver! Once frozen gently smash kale inside bag, the frozen kale will break up into little pieces and you never had to pick up a knife.  I also freeze spinach and other greens, too.

See my previous post about freezing tomatoes. This bag is still in my freezer waiting for some cold fall or winter night when we want a yummy marinara.
 Do you freeze foods?  I'd love to hear your tips and tricks.
I'm linking up with  At the Picket Fence.  It's a great blog with lots of inspiration and great Friday link ups. Check them out!


  1. I love the idea of turning the leftover coffee into ice cubes. Good idea. And I applaud your very healthy breakfast smoothie!

  2. These are great tips! So smart to us wax paper to prevent from sticking!