#LoveFood: freezing tips

One way of not wasting food is to freeze it while it’s still fresh. With some produce it can be a bit of a faff but definitely worth it to save it from ending up in the bin and to save some money as well.

First of all, a few basic freezing tips and advice:

  • Don’t refreeze raw food
  • You can thaw food, cook it and refreeze it
  • Cool your food before freezing- otherwise you’ll increase the temperature in your freezer, potentially defrosting other food there
  • Make sure to wrap food properly so it doesn’t get freezer burn
  • Label your food before freezing to facilitate rotation and identification of what’s in the bag/container

Foods that don’t freeze well:

  • Cucumbers; lettuce or any other salad greens; eggs in their shell; potatoes; very soft cheeses. When in doubt just google it, there is lots of information out there about what you can and can’t freeze.

What can you freeze?

Most vegetables that can freeze will need blanching first. This involves plunging the vegetable you want to freeze into boiling water for a few minutes (2 to 5 minutes) and then dip into ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching stops enzyme actions that can affect flavour, colour and texture. It also cleans the vegetables from dirt, bacteria and mould.

A few ideas:

  • Apples- Can be frozen raw or cooked. Peel, slice and core them and sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning. There are several ways of proceeding from here. For me, the simplest is to place on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container. If you prefer to freeze cooked apple, then cook it, cool it down and then freeze in an airtight container.
  • Carrots- Remove top and bottom and wash. There’s no need to peel. You might want to blanch the carrots at this point. If so, cool down the carrots and pack in an airtight container.
  • Grapes- Wash, dry, place on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen transfer to an airtight container. Frozen grapes are very refreshing on a hot summer’s day, like a sorbet or in a drink instead of an ice cube.
  • Milk- Yes you can freeze milk! But milk will expand when frozen so make sure that you leave at least 2.5cm for headspace at the top. Defrost in the fridge. Thawed milk is best used for cooking and baking.
  • Eggs- Break the egg, beat it lightly and put in an airtight container. Use thawed eggs only in dishes where they will be fully cooked.
  • Herbs- Parsley and coriander can be washed, dried in a paper towel or cloth, chopped and frozen in an airtight container. Basil is best frozen in olive oil- you can use an ice cube tray and when frozen transfer to an airtight container.
  • Peppers- Wash and chop. You can blanch them or not. Place on a baking sheet and freeze. When frozen transfer to an airtight container.
  • Tomatoes – You can freeze tomatoes raw without blanching them first. They can be frozen whole or chopped but when thawed they’ll always be on the mushy side so best used for sauces, stews and soup.

One last tip on freezing food:

Recently, I started saving all the vegetable bits that never get used like broccoli stumps (the big central one), spring onion leaves and any peelings of notice in a re-sealable freezer bag. When the bag is full I make vegetable stock which can be used for soups, risottos, etc. This can be used up in one go or frozen in ice cube trays for example.


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