The first time I realized I could freeze milk I seriously about peed myself I was so excited. No more milk going sour? Yes, please! I was on cloud nine for days and then began thinking. If that could be frozen, what else? The possibilities are endless. I wanted to take today to share with you some things that you can freeze. Yes, YOU! So pull out all your old bags of ice and moldy bread. It’s time to fill that freezer full! Below are my top 11 freezer safe items.
#1- Dairy products. Milk was my favorite one. You can put it in a specific container or right in the container it came in, depending on how much room you have available. Keep in mind that if you have a full thing of milk you might want to pour out about 8 ounces to make room for it to expand. No one wants milk all over their freezer. Also, I would probably not freeze it in a glass bottle. Just some more helpful advice. You can also freeze grated cheese. Note that it will be more crumbly so you can’t necessarily use it in slices but who cares? You can cook with it or make wraps with it and no one needs to know. The other dairy item I love knowing I can freeze is butter. Unfortunately, we lost three sticks of butter before we realized this. I was devastated. We use a lot of butter around our house thanks to our butter bell. Everyone needs one!
#2- Breast milk/Baby food. Most mommies know this one but they don’t know how long. The numbers seriously change from day to day but the SAFE amount for breast milk is 6 months in a side/top freezer and 12 months in a chest freezer. As far as baby food, it will depend on the type of food it is. We made our homemade and froze it in ice cubs trays and once frozen, we put them in Ziploc bags. Voila!
#4- Eggs. This is another good one. Have some eggs that are getting ready to go bad? No worries! Just break them, whisk them, and put them in a freezer safe Ziploc bag. When you’re ready to use them, let them thaw in your fridge. Eggs for baking, cooking, whatever!
#5- Browned meat. This one is often overlooked. We bring the meat home, throw it in the freezer, and then spend twenty years waiting for it to thaw out so we can use it. Fear not, you CAN freeze the meat AFTER you cook it! I often times get my meat, let it brown in my Crockpot (usually 8 hours on low or less on high), cool, and then store it in my freezer. It’s ready to go! I made a lot of this for JR while I’m in France. We use venison as it’s healthier and cheaper. We don’t really taste the difference but some people do. We taste the difference in turkey ground meat. Yuck. Seriously, I could hurl.
#6- Peppers. Some places say don’t freeze peppers but I have never had any issues. I have frozen them whole (for stuffed green peppers) and diced (for soups, chili, wraps, and more). They have always worked great for me. I’ve also frozen every color under the sun. I like to buy peppers on clearance and freeze them. It’s a great deal for something you will need later. I do the same thing with zucchini. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve needed to make bread for someone and we’re so grateful I already have shredded zucchini in the freezer. I let it thaw in the fridge and use the water in the bag when I make my bread. It adds so much moisture. Yum! I may be making zucchini bread when I get home…
#7- Sauces. Have you ever made homemade sauce and had too much? Or cooked some pasta and had half a can left? Now you know what to do with that- freeze it! You can save it for later and then stick it in a pot to simmer under it thaws out. It shouldn’t take too long. We made homemade tomato sauce while I was pregnant and it came in handy once Emma was born and we were tired, hungry. Did I mention we were tired and hungry? Because we were. Seriously, this was amazing!
#8- Bread and crumbs. Want a whole loaf that’s about to go bad? Freeze it. Want to make bread crumbs instead? Stick those in the blender, put them back in the bag, and freeze it, too. Bread can be frozen well and does great. When you let it thaw, I would let it thaw at room temperature. Refrigerators pull out the moisture and make the bread dry out really quick. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand dry bread. My mouth is dry just thinking about it.
#9- Bananas. We make a lot of banana ice cream at our house and it’s to die for, without all the sugar and fat in it. You should seriously try it! Check out my “yummy goodness’ board on Pinterest. If you’re not on it, let me know and I’ll send you an invite. It works ten times better if you cut up the bananas BEFORE you freeze them. Trust me. It will be a lot of work if you think that you’re going to freeze them whole and then cut them up. Possible but who wants to do more work than they have to? Not me. I’m already cutting the calories so I don’t need a workout prior to eating it.
#10- Herbs and ginger roots. If you grow a garden or buy/receive fresh herbs, you can freeze those before they go bad. Something we did with our leftover mint and lemon this summer was freeze them in ice cubes. Yummy! I love repurposing things. Another thing you can freeze is ginger root. We have so much ginger root in our freezer that it’s ridiculous. I want to try and make some homemade ginger ale soon. I think JR will be scared but that’s ok. We live in the edge at the Linkous house.
#11- Lemon and lime juices. I had always heard NOT to freeze citrus items but had never thought about freezing their juices. If you have a lemon or lime that’s getting ready to bite the dust, just squeeze it and freeze the juices in ice cube trays. Brilliant! Now you have them measured out perfectly plus you didn’t have to waste them. I can’t tell you how many lemons we’ve lost by not using them in time. Never again!
Along with that list, there is also a list of things to never freeze. You can try but you’ll be smacking yourself for it. I warn you now- please do not try this. Do not even think you’ll show me up. You will be devastated. And sick. And I will say “I told you so”. So, don’t do it.
Canned foods. This isn’t to say that you can’t get the food out and freeze it. Some canned foods can be done that way, however, do NOT stick the entire can in the freezer and expect it to taste good when you get it out later. You’ve just wasted your .55 on bad chicken noodle soup. I would be sad. I might even cry!
Eggs in their shells. Eggs cannot freeze properly in that form and, therefore, won’t last. They may even break. Who wants to clean up egg and shells in their freezer? Not I! I didn’t have to be reminded not to do this one. I can’t stand the smell of eggs when they start to go bad, much less when they bust in my freezer and start to stink all it up whenever I decide to let it thaw out.
Lettuce. It just wasn’t made to be frozen. The texture and make up of lettuce was meant to be a fridge and countertop item. Be sure to use your lettuce before it goes bad because you won’t be able to preserve it like other things. Sorry to disappoint anyone who was hoping to see it on our list. Maybe one day down the road the lettuce will adapt, but not today. Eat your leftover lettuce for lunch so you’ll feel better about it.
Mayonnaise. Let me start by saying I cannot stand the taste of mayo. The fact that it can not be frozen is good news to me. Truthfully, I don’t think it should even be eaten. JR likes it but I never buy it. My momma felt so sorry for him that she brought mayo over the other night. My momma takes care of JR even when I don’t. He’s a lucky man indeed. So, I now have mayo in my fridge but it will NOT go in my freezer.
These are my “do” and “don’t” lists of freezer foods. Most things freeze great. If you’re not sure how to freeze them, be sure to search online or ask someone you know. It’s good to know what you’re doing before you do it, trust me. I often times fall on the other end of that. I hope you’ve enjoyed this and it’s helped stretch your money a little further!
What were you surprised to find out you could freeze? Anything additional you’d like to add to either list?