There’s a joke in our house about my freezer being a Tardis.
This all stems from the time that my ‘best before date’ obsessed hubby sat down to a meal at my mothers where she proudly announced that she’d found the joint at the back of the freezer and it was dated 2 years before. As none of her boys seemed too stressed by this he rushed back to check everything in our freezer, randomly throwing away things I’d kept a little longer than is strictly advised. I guess it runs in the family, but no-one ever died!!!
I’m much better now but, whether its buying in bulk or buying reduced food, using your freezer cleverly means that you can eat well at a fraction of the cost of buying fresh all the time. And you don’t need a chest freezer to benefit. I had a small 2 shelf unit for years and still managed to save money.
So how do you best make use of your freezer? Well its all about using the space you have effectively. Don’t waste space buying ready meals as these have a lot of packaging and don’t fill you up. Instead in my freezer I have several staples that mean I can eat well whenever I feel like it.
Frozen fish!! I usually visit the fish counter and look out for reductions and then freeze them. I’ve usually got a small piece of smoked haddock and some white fish in my freezer. I also have some frozen raw prawns (from the freezer aisle) that I add to the above to make my Flabulous fish pie!! Works really well as you add all fish from frozen and let the oven do the work!!
Fresh meat, frozen!! I’ve usually got individually frozen pork chops and chicken breasts, mince, bacon and sausages in the freezer. This means that if we have unexpected overnight guests I can at least offer them a bacon sarnie and that most meals are scalable depending on numbers.
Frozen mixed seafood. As well as defrosting these to make a salad they work brilliantly from frozen when added to a paella or when mixed with passatta & herbs to make a speedy pasta sauce.
Frozen vegetables I’m not talking about that god awful mixed veg we all had at school as freezing has improved a lot since then. In addition to the freezer staples of peas (petit pois for choice) and sweetcorn there are another couple of additions worth a mention….
Frozen sliced mixed peppers (99p Asda), whole green beans (£1.29) and baby sweetcorn (£1 Asda) are all worth the investment. The latter is only available at select supermarkets but they are all well worth having as they are the fraction of the cost, you only use what you need, so there is no waste and they taste almost as good as fresh.
Of course there are certain veggies that for me just don’t work when frozen. I still cant enjoy frozen carrots, broccoli or cauliflower so I would avoid those if you can
My own ready meals I’ve usually got leftover fish pies, lasagna and chilli in the freezer. I use ziplock bags for all as they use less room and once used just throw away!!
A decent tub of ice cream obviously as an ice cream van owner I’m going to say this but a small tub of good quality vanilla ice cream in your freezer means you are only 5 minutes away from dessert!!
Frozen berries I always have frozen raspberries and frozen blueberries in the freezer. Not only do I have berries to go with the ice cream but I’ve also got a handful of blueberries to go into pancakes or raspberries to add to jelly or pavlova!!
Frozen lemon and lime wedges (together with ice) mean that you are never far away from a cocktail or a squeeze of citrus in your cooking.
Vodka no freezer is complete without a bottle of vodka. The vodka doesn’t freeze but does become delightfully syrupy, adding an extra dimension to even the most value of offerings. Top tip- do what I do and refill that trendy vodka bottle with cheap vodka and freeze, no one yet has moaned!!
I’ve focussed this post on filling a smaller freezer. Obviously if you have more space you can also freeze staples like milk, bread and even some cheeses (grated mozzarella works really well) this means that you can get away with shopping less and is especially important if you are always throwing away stale bread and milk as you only take out what you need.
Obviously you can’t live solely out of your freezer but with a cleverly stocked store cupboard and some veggies in your fridge you can reduce the amount you spend each week, reduce waste and still eat well!!