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What do you freeze in your kitchen?

alkapal Oct 9, 2012 06:45 AM

I was reading this excellent list of tips on foods that can be successfully frozen: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2...

What have you frozen successfully? Any big honkin' failures that you learned about on the way?

  1. k
    kathryn_dayle Dec 15, 2012 06:49 PM

    Bananas still in their peels. Just put them in an old bread bag. When they thaw they are already mushy and ready for your recipe.
    Bread crusts for stuffings. Crumbs leftover from fish sticks or chicken nuggets. These are great sprinkled over a casserole.
    Frostings for cakes. I make a bunch and keep leftovers in freezer.
    Chopped green peppers if I bought too many fresh ones.

    1. team_cake Oct 13, 2012 07:30 PM

      I didn't feel like canning this year, so I've filled our chest freezer with plums from our tree (pitted and halved as well as processed into jam), garden tomatoes, peppers and a lot of pesto made from our garden's basil. My bf has a sweet tooth and I love to bake, so I make a lot of things in double batches and freeze either raw or cooked doughs: cookies, breads, muffins, cakes. We also stock up when we see meat at reasonable prices and I portion it for just the two of us (halving many roasts, etc) and freeze those. As others have mentioned, I freeze flours, nuts, sugar, grains -- things I buy in bulk and store well frozen to keep them fresh and also pest-free. I also make dog biscuits for our dog, and often make a double batch of that dough, too, and freeze half. That works out well since now we like to just keep him on the homemade biscuits and some weeks I have more time than others to cook, like most people. If I'm busy and he's low on treats, I just take a disc of his dough out and let it defrost on the counter for an hour before rolling it out, cutting and baking the treats. I could freeze the already-baked treats, too, but I haven't done that yet. I confess even on busy days, taking a few minutes to roll out dough and cut the biscuits is meditative for me.

      This weekend I made a vat of Bolognese sauce, assembled four lasagnas using most of the sauce alternating in layers with a béchamel, and froze those for future weeknight dinners. Had just enough sauce left over to freeze for spaghetti another night. I also made a batch of meatballs, portioned them for dinners for the two of us, and froze them, too.

      I also keep a simple freezer inventory posted in the kitchen, marking what goes in and out. I live in fear I will end up with a chest freezer like my mom's, with frozen blocks of meat and ice cream at the bottom she bought and forgot about. Needless to say, I'm proactive on rotating what's in the freezer and also using that inventory sheet religiously.

      5 Replies
      1. re: team_cake
        alkapal Oct 15, 2012 07:45 AM

        the inventory is a very good idea.

        1. re: alkapal
          j
          juster Oct 18, 2012 05:35 AM

          I just started doing this, and it's working well, though we occasionally forget to add or cross off something, since it's a new system. We only have an over-the-fridge freezer, and everything was falling all over the place and hard to find, so I put in cardboard boxes (including some small ones under a shalf for little bags of coconut milk, tomato paste, etc.). Each cardboard box has an inventory sheet taped to it, so we know what we have AND where to find it. Easyto slide them in and out, and can put them on the counter to get to the bottom. I'm finding that a lot less stuff is going to waste this way.

          1. re: juster
            alkapal Oct 18, 2012 06:07 AM

            i'm using a similar technique in the fridge -- using clear plastic containers, a little larger than a shoe box, to hold cheeses, or some related condiments. i'm trying to keep my new fridge pristine and NOT overcrowded.

            1. re: alkapal
              j
              juster Oct 18, 2012 06:31 AM

              Ditto! Such a great system, right? We have SO MANY condiments, so I now have those in shallow boxes (like cans of soup come in), with similar-type stuff (Asian, pickly stuff, etc.), again, with labels. Just slide them out to get at the back. Why did I not figure this out years ago??? I'll never have five jars of relish again!

              1. re: juster
                alkapal Oct 18, 2012 06:36 AM

                and -- esp. with condiments -- it is much, much easier to clean the plastic box than the fridge shelf!

                i used to use metal mesh containers to corral my condiment families, but the plastic is vastly superior -- no leakage!

      2. John E. Oct 13, 2012 04:26 PM

        Potato chips in the freezer? That's one of the funniest suggestions I've ever read in a link on this site. Potato chips never last long enough around here to be frozen and if we did freeze them they would be dust after getting tossed around in the freezer.

        1. q
          Querencia Oct 13, 2012 04:12 PM

          There are good bakeries on the other side of town but I don't get there very often. Well, I just got there. So here is what is in my freezer: Caramel Pecan Coffee Cake, Chocolate Frosted Donuts, Maple Walnut Rolls, Strawberry Coffee Cake, Hoska (Slavic raisin bread), Kolachkys (little fruit-centered sweet rolls), and Apple Donuts (big twirls of glazed donut with chunks of cinnamony apples between the layers).

          1. o
            Oonasheila Oct 11, 2012 01:51 PM

            I freeze mil. (in1 qt @containers) Also freshly made tomato sauce & chunky pasta sauce.. Any small leftover veg., etc. that can be used in soups. Only problem is I sometimes forget to ID them.
            Forgot to mention whole over-ripe bananas for smoothies.

            1. m
              MmmDatGood Oct 10, 2012 01:24 PM

              Pre-cooked rice and noodles are great to have on hand for stir-fry.
              Orange, lemon and lime rind and zest. Wrap by teaspoonfuls in plastic wrap, then place in zip-lock sandwich bag. Use as needed in recipes.
              Mashed bananas, squash, etc. to make sweet cakes, breads.
              Cheesecake. Wrap individual slices to grab when the craving strikes.
              Egg yolks, whites. Freeze individually and take what you need when you need it.

              1. m
                mostlyh2o Oct 10, 2012 01:03 PM

                I freeze tons of stuff. We're slowly but surely converting any sunny spot on our property (suburban so cal) to veg gardens, and ww're sometimes lucky enough to have a surplus of stuff. Plus, I periodically work loooooooooong hours so I can never tell when I'll need something on hand or have to freeze something before it goes bad.
                Superstars:
                Corn on the cob (some say to blanch it but we just froze it in bags and so far it's been great! Otherwise we couldn't have eaten all that we grew).
                Stock ( I freeze the leftover carcasses from roasted Costco chickens and when I have 3 I make stock)
                Cooked chicken (we don't always eat all the meat from the roasted chix)
                Tomatoes (I'm too effin' lazy to blanch and peel and seed; I tried just shoving my surplus into ziplocs and sucking the air out, and I have to say, it worked fine -- when they defrosted, the skins slipped right off!) Made ketchup and bbq sauce -- you could strain to get the seeds out but I just blended the living hell out of it with my stick blender and it was fine!)
                The center meat from spiral-sliced ham -- I'm one of those pariahs who doesn't like marrow taste so I don't like to use a ham bone for split pea soup -- but the center "wad" from a spiral ham, cut off the bone, cooks great in the soup and then I fish it out and chop the meat to add back in.
                Zucchini or any summer squash -- this year we had a FLEET of little pattypan spaceships so I ground 'em all up in my food proc and ziploc'd 'em. Made zucchini bread, zucchini tart so far.
                Other stock - I get the cartons of beef stock 'cause I don't make my own, but I get the cartons which are often to much so I freeze cubes
                Pie crusts (I usually make a quadruple batch when I make a crust for something; they freeze really well and it's so nice to have 'em on hand already made up.)
                Anchovies (I don't use much of these but they are key in a few recipes so it's nice to have a few on hand
                Veggie leavings for stock (The Hubs thinks I'm crazy but he can go hang)
                Butter for suresies
                Bacon
                Cheese
                Bread, bagels, baked goods(it goes moldy in a snap for us, and is better than if you fridge it)
                bananas (The Hubs will buy several but won't eat 'em if they're the least brown, so I have a bag I add to and when I've got enough I make banana bread)
                Supervillains:
                Cream cheese (holy god horrible)
                Soft cheese like brie (we bought too much and oh man did it defrost sucky)
                Cucumbers oh so sad; shoulda known. But, I now have a great refrigerator pickle recipe instead
                Mashed potatoes -- my dude makes the BEST and I ruined some that were leftover

                Thanks for the ideas about freezing milk, buttermilk etc; I often don't use up a carton of any kind of milk before it goes bad but I like to have the stuff around.

                And bahahaha cleobeach about the garbage getting cooked! I, too, store meaty garbage in the freezer until trash day, especially in the summer -- creeps me out otherwise! I've taken to putting a big Sharpie X on the bags so no one confuses it with the stock carcasses. Probably the only thing that's kept it from becoming dinner!

                3 Replies
                1. re: mostlyh2o
                  alkapal Oct 11, 2012 06:16 AM

                  i like your attitude, mostly h2o! the tomatoes treatment is especially entertaining.

                  would you want to share your great fridge pickle recipe?

                  1. re: alkapal
                    m
                    mostlyh2o Oct 11, 2012 11:13 AM

                    LOL I'm glad to know there are people out there that appreciate the fine art of laziness!

                    And absolutely I'll share the pickle recipe -- it's actually on Instructables.com, to give credit where credit is due. It's SUPER easy and gives GREAT results -- absolutely NO COOKING whatsoever!!!

                    http://www.instructables.com/id/Refri...

                    They are super fresh-tasting and very very crisp. Even folks that don't much like pickles usually like these! I usually use a variety of pickling cukes that I grow; I've tried regular "slicing" cukes but the skins get unpleasantly tough. And those pretty little persian cukes are a bit too soft. But I did try the hothouse cukes once and they were very good; I just felt guilty using something from so far away; seemed beside the point.

                    I even experiemented this year with adding a few random small carrots and green beans that were lying around; they were pretty damned good too!

                    The pickles are, of course, not truly "canned", so they are really only good for a couple, maybe three weeks, kept refrigerated. I think, due to the amount of acid, they wouldn't probably hurt you after that, but I find that they get mushy and if you use fresh dill it starts to look unappetizingly like swamp grass...

                    1. re: mostlyh2o
                      alkapal Oct 13, 2012 05:27 PM

                      muchas gracias! i have loved fridge pickles since i was a kid. an old family friend gave my mom her recipe, but i lost it long ago.

                      there have been some lovely firm market cukes lately! i'm anxious to try these. thank you for your tips, too!

                2. RealMenJulienne Oct 10, 2012 12:46 PM

                  Not much right now. Let's see:

                  One Totino's pizza
                  Vodka
                  Lots of bones, saving up to make stock

                  1. t
                    taz99 Oct 10, 2012 11:15 AM

                    I freeze ripe bananas - mash them up and put them in ziplocs or plastic containers. Perfect for breads and muffins.

                    other things:
                    leftover chicken and beef broth when I don't need the whole carton
                    gingerroot
                    bread
                    extra homemade frosting
                    parmesan cheese rinds for future soups
                    homemade pinto beans frozen in two-cup servings. great to thaw for chili.
                    homemade pesto

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: taz99
                      alkapal Oct 11, 2012 06:10 AM

                      i didn't have luck freezing ginger at all. it was limp and watery when thawed. i should have grated it first, i suppose. i can't imagine frozen ginger having nearly the same punch as fresh.

                      as to bananas, i have had success wrapping whole, peeled bananas in foil, to eat frozen as an all-natural and deliciously almost-creamy banana-sicle.

                      1. re: alkapal
                        fldhkybnva Oct 11, 2012 03:59 PM

                        I have had much success with freezing the entire root. I can easily pull it out of the freezer and it grates well, even frozen.

                      2. re: taz99
                        o
                        Oonasheila Oct 11, 2012 01:57 PM

                        Ditto on Pesto. We grow plenty of basil, make pest & freeze in 1 cup containers, great for winter.

                      3. m
                        Maggie19 Oct 10, 2012 11:07 AM

                        Whole tomatoes and peppers from the garden ..... Chicken wings and thighs ... ice cream. Soups.

                        1. t
                          Tudor_rose Oct 10, 2012 07:09 AM

                          Nuts, flour, frozen vegetables (mostly spinach), meat (yes, I stock up on sale), rice. I worry about pantry moths, and storing certain things in the freezer helps to alleviate them. One bad nut in your house, and you can get a pantry moth infestation. Freezing some starches helps to alleviate this proboem. Also nuts can get rancid quickly if you don't freeze them, so freezing them kills any pantry moth larvae, and it also helps them last longer.

                          1. mrbigshotno.1 Oct 9, 2012 02:49 PM

                            I have a tub on the floor of my upright freezer, there I put food garbage in plastic shopping bags and hold them until pick-up day, can't stand a garbage container that stinks of rotting food.

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: mrbigshotno.1
                              c
                              cleobeach Oct 10, 2012 04:19 AM

                              I used to do that too until one day my husband cooked it for dinner, no joke.

                              1. re: cleobeach
                                l
                                lilmomma Oct 10, 2012 11:05 AM

                                OMG!

                                1. re: cleobeach
                                  ttoommyy Oct 10, 2012 11:09 AM

                                  What did he make with it???

                                  1. re: ttoommyy
                                    c
                                    cleobeach Oct 10, 2012 12:31 PM

                                    In the end, nothing but we got a good laugh out of it.

                                    I learned the freezer garbage thing from my grandmother.

                                    Mr. CB and I grew up in very different environments and that has cause some funny moments over the years.

                                    He grew up in town and urban areas, places where there was regular trash service, public water and sewer and strict zoning laws.Trash service is key in the garage cooking incident.

                                    I grew up in the country where any trash that was flamable was burned. Non-burnable items were saved for an infrequent trips to the township dump. This was back in the day beverages came in returnable bottles and excessive packaging.

                                    Fruit and veggies and other non-meat waste was "composted" which in country terms means it was throw down over the bank to decompose/rot away. We didn't just chuck bones and such "out back" because that would have drawn undesirable animals. Huge hunks of grizzle, used up bones, inedible meat, etc. was frozen because we didn't want that stink in the trash can for the X number of weeks it took accumulate enough garbage to go to the township dump.

                                    When it was time to do a garbage run (families went weeks, maybe months between a trip to the dump and would gather everyone's trash to make a full load) you would take the bag out of the freezer.

                                    I was secretly squirrelling away a stinky garbage bag in the back of the freezer. I had a meeting after work one night and Mr. CB decides to get creative, goes into the freezer, finds a bag of meat-looking items and figures it is something cookable/edible because in his world, no sane person would store garbage in the freezer.

                                    I come home and wonder why my prepped meal was still in the fridge. After much discussion, I figure out that he had the contents of the garbage bag in the oven.

                                    1. re: cleobeach
                                      q
                                      Querencia Oct 13, 2012 04:06 PM

                                      Now surely somewhere out there we must have a CH member who can tell us about the son or daughter majoring in biology at college who brought home a dead cat to study during vacation and................................

                                2. re: mrbigshotno.1
                                  alkapal Oct 10, 2012 06:22 AM

                                  mom did that, too, with food garbage that might stink up her garbage bin in the garage. she would use leftover plastic bread bags (very handy items for the kitchen) or a plastic grocery bag, tuck the wrapped-up refuse in an accessible spot, then gather it up and toss on the garbage day. i recall chicken bones being the thing i saw the most (don't worry, she had extracted the goodness from them). ;-).

                                  1. re: alkapal
                                    melpy Oct 10, 2012 08:28 AM

                                    Learned this trick from my boyfriend but it generally grosses me out so I "forget" to do it.

                                3. m
                                  Mother of four Oct 9, 2012 02:22 PM

                                  Butter,homemade ice cream,rye bread,chicken,lamb chops,pesto,meat loafs,cookie dough in balls ready to bake,sliced bread for garlic bread,cheese roll ready for an appetizer,tomato sauce,peas,rinds from parmasan,bread crumbs,bag of shrimp.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: Mother of four
                                    ttoommyy Oct 10, 2012 07:20 AM

                                    I always have butter in the freezer starting around this time of year. With holiday baking coming up, you never know when you may need 2, 4, 6 or more sticks of butter to whip up some cookies, cakes, etc.

                                    1. re: ttoommyy
                                      alkapal Oct 10, 2012 07:23 AM

                                      i always keep butter in the freezer. i have never noticed any problems with it at all.

                                  2. ttoommyy Oct 9, 2012 02:10 PM

                                    My biggest failure was a couple tubs of mascarpone someone gave me that they had gotten cheap at a dollar type store. It had nothing to do with the fact that they were bought at such a store; I used one and it was very good and actually from Italy. It's just the plain fact that mascarpone just does not freeze well at all; it separates and gets disgustingly grainy.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: ttoommyy
                                      alkapal Oct 10, 2012 06:17 AM

                                      i think i recall that philadelphia cream cheese blocks have not been good to freeze.

                                      until the foil in the inner packet is opened, though, the never-frozen cream cheese will last quite a while in the fridge…well past any sell-by date. same for unopened yogurt.

                                      1. re: alkapal
                                        jw615 Oct 10, 2012 08:05 AM

                                        Yup - cream cheese does not work well in the freezer, but I've noticed the same thing in regards to how well it lasts unopened.

                                        I used a package Monday night - the sell by date was in March. It was delicious.

                                        1. re: jw615
                                          c
                                          CanadaGirl Oct 13, 2012 04:36 PM

                                          I freeze cream cheese all the time with no ill effects.

                                          1. re: CanadaGirl
                                            alkapal Oct 13, 2012 05:09 PM

                                            what brand cream cheese do you freeze?

                                            1. re: alkapal
                                              c
                                              CanadaGirl Oct 13, 2012 05:20 PM

                                              Philadelphia. I wonder if the Canadian version is different somehow.

                                              1. re: CanadaGirl
                                                c
                                                cheesymama Oct 15, 2012 07:14 AM

                                                The Canadian version is very different. Not sure how the ingredients compare, but I have occasionally bought some when state side and it is a much softer product. I'm assuming the higher moisture content is the difference between how both versions freeze and defrost.

                                                1. re: cheesymama
                                                  c
                                                  CanadaGirl Oct 15, 2012 02:38 PM

                                                  Interesting. Thanks :)

                                    2. ttoommyy Oct 9, 2012 01:05 PM

                                      Parmigiano Regginao cheese rinds. I sock them away in the freezer all summer so I can use them in soups during the fall and winter months.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ttoommyy
                                        biondanonima Oct 9, 2012 01:36 PM

                                        I do this too - so nice to slip one into whatever's cooking. The only massive freezer fail I've ever had was with mashed potatoes - they turned into a grainy, water disaster. I think I probably kept them too long.

                                        1. re: biondanonima
                                          alkapal Oct 10, 2012 06:15 AM

                                          i think i recall a mashed potatoes FAIL as well. watery and grainy sounds about right!

                                      2. r
                                        rasputina Oct 9, 2012 11:08 AM

                                        Pretty much any bread product, butter, nuts, chocolate chips ( it gets hot here in summer saves melting risk), bacon, pasta, strawberries and cranberries.

                                        Most of the things on the list I wouldn't bother with. I much prefer canning my stocks to freezing them. I'm never going to bother freezing homemade pancakes. It doesn't take that long to whip up a batch.

                                        1. s
                                          sedimental Oct 9, 2012 10:51 AM

                                          I freeze everything! Now I have a big fear of power outages! I am also happy to put my glass jar obsession to good use by freezing, LOL.

                                          I really like to freeze milks, both dairy milks and non dairy. I have the small mason jars (a cup or two) of coconut milk, hemp milk, almond milk, many different varieties. As I could never manage to get the big cartons used up in time! I now just automatically freeze about half the carton right when I open them. They defrost in the micro if necessary really nicely. But mostly I just pull out a glass jar of them weekly until my stash is used. Just leave about 2 inches of headroom at the top before putting the lid on.

                                          I really appreciate having a cup of coconut milk for cooking, a la minute.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: sedimental
                                            e
                                            escondido123 Oct 9, 2012 11:32 AM

                                            I rarely use a whole can of coconut milk either, so I turn the rest into coconut "cubes" for a later use.

                                          2. ElsieB Oct 9, 2012 09:29 AM

                                            My freezers are so filled right now! Corn corn corn, because we love corn but I only want to eat it from my local farmer as I know his growing methods and there are no other large farms near him to taint his crop. Then lots of raspberries, strawberries, Maine blueberries and peaches for our winter smoothies. My only fear is power outages.... ow we are set for the winter.

                                            1. s
                                              small h Oct 9, 2012 07:56 AM

                                              I freeze soup and eggplant parmesan and bread, and I do the herbs-in-ice thing, too. But who the hell freezes breakfast sandwiches? That sounds like a terrible idea - a microwaved scrambled egg on a sogged-up muffin. Ew.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: small h
                                                c
                                                cleobeach Oct 9, 2012 08:06 AM

                                                I thought the same thing about the chips. Not because of an ick factor but when you consider the cost of chips and the amount of space needed to freeze them, freezer space would be better used for something more valuable/expensive.

                                                I also thought "ew" about the breakfast sandwiches.

                                              2. melpy Oct 9, 2012 07:56 AM

                                                In my freezer:
                                                Meat from meat CSA: pork, chicken, beef, lamb (specialty cuts: veal, duck, goat)

                                                Frozen veg: one bag corn, one bag peas, ginger in a ziploc

                                                Frosty beer mugs, ice packs

                                                Nuts

                                                Phyllo dough

                                                Homemade bags of chicken broth

                                                Possibly frozen fruit (commercially frozen berries)

                                                1. carolinadawg Oct 9, 2012 07:43 AM

                                                  I freeze bread. Otherwise, it always gets moldy before we finish it, and its great to be able to reach into the freezer, grab a piece of crusty italian bread, let it thaw for a few minutes and then pop it in the oven.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: carolinadawg
                                                    s
                                                    sr44 Oct 9, 2012 01:39 PM

                                                    I cut a long loaf into thirds (approx) to fit a ziplock freezer bag.

                                                  2. c
                                                    cleobeach Oct 9, 2012 06:59 AM

                                                    I learned that rice could be frozen from a Rachel Ray article in some magazine years back. I regularly freeze cooked rice, butter, cooked ground beef and shredded chicken, beef and pork. We buy our meat by the half from a farmer so I have a lot of roasts to cook. Doing them in big batches and keeping shredded meat on hand for sandwiches, enchilladas, etc. is very handy.

                                                    I never would have thought to freeze some of the things on that list. Who has the freezer space to freeze gallons of milk? I also never knew the reasons for those circles on the side of the carton but it now makes perfect sense.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: cleobeach
                                                      j
                                                      jeanmarieok Oct 9, 2012 07:05 AM

                                                      I've been freezing in 1 cup measures, in ziplock pint freezer bags. It's perfect. I wasted a LOT of buttermilk before I started freezing.

                                                      1. re: cleobeach
                                                        m
                                                        mewright Oct 10, 2012 04:33 AM

                                                        I've frozen most of the things on that list. At one time I lived in an isolated community where fresh milk was difficult to get (most people used Carnation!) I often froze 2L containers for use in the weeks between grocery store trips. You have to shake it up, but otherwise it's fine.

                                                      2. TeRReT Oct 9, 2012 06:59 AM

                                                        I always have rice and udon frozen in individual portions. I also have various bento vegetables and meats/gyoza frozen for lunches. I buy meat when it is on sale and freeze it, at any given time I will have sliced pork, ground something and often chicken frozen. I usually have a loaf of bread frozen too. That's about it.

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