Freezers are all about planning ahead, saving time and money and making family life easier. The trick is to know your freezer, use it and restock it regularly. Here are some tips for stocking different sized freezers.
Top of the fridge freezer
This small, but handy, storage space will fit all the usual suspects: fish fingers, peas and ice-cream. If you live more than a short walk from the shops, you might want to squeeze some milk, bread and butter in there too.
A handy tip: freeze sliced bread and then you can remove it one slice at a time.
These can allow for extra planning and storage space as well as variety. Freeze the basics (as above), and then add: sausage rolls, pasties, frozen meals, pizza, sausages.
You’ll still have space for these time-saving freezer items:
- Make home-made breadcrumbs with stale bread (by whizzing it up in a food processor) and store ready-made breadcrumbs in a bag in the freezer.
- Don’t throw away that last bit of hard cheddar. Grate it up and stick it in the freezer. Soon you’ll have a ready store of frozen grated cheese to add to your shepherd’s pie, pasta bake or pizza.
- Buy and freeze those reduced herbs in the supermarket. You don’t even need to chop them up – just put them in a bag and they’ll crumble as they freeze. Perfect to put a couple of teaspoons of coriander over a curry at a later date, without having to buy a whole plant out of season.
- Store two bags of frozen peas. One for straight-up cooked peas, and the other you can use to make a quick and delicious soup. All you need is an onion, some stock, and a bag of peas. If you have some left-over ham, or cheap bacon ‘mishaps’, then add that too.
- Puff pastry is a great provider of inspiration. You can either let it defrost in the fridge for a few days, or defrost it in the kitchen on the day you want to use it. Place sliced fruit/ jam/lemon curd on top, put it in the oven and within half an hour you’ve got your very own home-made pudding. You can also make a lunch with it by adding a cheese and tomato topping.
- Make home-made stock from chicken bones, or vegetable cooking water, and freeze it for making soups.
Large freezers – such as chest freezers – are more usual for rural locations where space within the home isn’t such an issue. Here you can store bigger joints of meat – especially when they are in season or on special offer.
If you’ve got an allotment, vegetable garden, or just enjoy foraging, then the freezer is a great place to store your glut. Then you can defrost your frozen fruit and make a crumble, or jam at a later date. For ease, store your fruit by weight – for instance in one pound bags – to make cooking easier to plan.