Whether you’re making fewer trips to the grocery store or couldn’t find the size you were looking for on your last trip, freezing excess food is your go-to. But what can be frozen, and how?
Milk is an important and versatile part of meals. It’s an important ingredient in baking, preparing sauces, and cooking a family-favorite meal. And let’s not forget you can simply enjoy a glass of fresh, cold milk with meals, especially with comfort foods like chili and cornbread. Unless you buy shelf-stable or ultra-pasteurized milk, though, it and other dairy products need to be used quickly.
It’s easy to freeze milk and creams. Choose a container to store your milk in, leaving space at the top, as milk will expand when frozen. The container can even be the original jug, as long as you enjoy a glass first.
For products like cheese that you’ll melt into meals, freeze hard cheeses in small blocks or shredded form. The only additional step is to make sure that the packaging—if opened—has all the air removed before it goes in the freezer. For baking and smoothies, yogurt can be frozen for a few additional weeks.
If you are freezing multiple containers, note on each container when it was first frozen. Milk can last several months when frozen, but you’ll want to ensure you thaw them in an order that guarantees the best taste possible. This also means you should consider the size of your containers. If you use lots of milk, use the jug! If not, place milk in small containers, bags, or even in an ice tray. (But why aren’t you enjoying more milk?)
To thaw the milk, leave it in the refrigerator. Once you thaw, practice at-home homogenization by shaking your milk (and make sure the container is securely closed first). It’s then ready to use. Be ready to use it within a few days, though. (Don’t worry. We have plenty of tasty recipes to help you cook with milk.)
And that isn’t the only food you can freeze. Of course, you can store meat in the freezer, but that’s not the only perishable. Amazingly, eggs can be frozen in bags! Since you might not have plans for how to use them, separate your whites and yolks so you thaw only what a recipe calls for. Fresh loaves of bread can be frozen, too, just push the air out before storing. To keep it from becoming soggy, it should be thawed in the oven within a month of freezing. If you buy more fresh fruits and vegetables than frozen and realize you won’t eat it all in time, wash and dry them well before storing in an airtight bag in the freezer.
Of course, you can prepare meals to freeze or fill the freezer with plenty of frozen pizza. Regardless of how you spend less time in the grocery store, you’ll be savvy at preventing food waste in no time!