Vegetables, Mum’s home-made lasagne, pumpkin and fresh herbs: none of these come as a surprise, right? But what other foods can be frozen? We often refrain from putting certain types of food in the freezer, for fear of doing something drastically wrong, but in actual fact, some of the most unlikely ingredients can be frozen successfully for lengthy periods.
Have you got an unopened pack of butter close to its “best before” date? Do your cold cuts lie in the fridge until they are ready to be thrown in the bin? Don’t despair, many foods you would never have dreamed of freezing can be stored in this way, so long as you take a few precautions.
Here are 10 freezer foods you maybe didn't know:
Did you think that money-saving family-size pack of eggs would never get used up? You were wrong. Eggs can be frozen raw: the best way to go about it is to remove the shells and beat them very lightly, with the possible addition of salt to prevent graininess.
Is the unopened pack of butter in the fridge close to its ‘best before’ date? Leave it in the pack, put it into a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer. Do, however, make sure it is consumed within 3/4 months.
Not only can jam be frozen, but the really good news is that it will keep in the freezer for over one year.
Soup, pizza, quiche: admittedly, it would be better to freeze some dishes before cooking them, in order to avoid unpleasant surprises when they go into the oven, but nothing stops you from trying to freeze your mother’s leftover lasagne and reheating it at a low temperature once it has thawed out. Soup is less of a problem: just freeze in single portions and thaw out when you want to eat it.
Freezing flour is not so much a storage problem but a useful way of preventing small parasites from finding their way into the packets. Just put the flour into perfectly dry hermetic freezer boxes to keep out the moisture.
If you really can’t manage to finish off that delicious Parma ham, freeze it. Raw ham and other cold cuts can go into standard freezer bags and, when needed, be left to thaw out at room temperature. The flavour might not be quite so delicious as when eaten fresh, but it is perfect as an ingredient for savoury pies and all kinds of cooked dishes.
This is probably not new to you, but there is no harm in repeating it: whenever you have any leftover broth you wish to turn into home-made stock cubes, let it cool before filling an ice-cube tray and popping it into the freezer. If, on the other hand, you would like to have a more professional home-made stock cube, click here to find out how.
FRESH STUFFED PASTA
Most types of stuffed pasta can be frozen, comprising tortellini and ravioli: it is important, however, to start by putting them on a tray in the freezer and only once they are frozen can they be popped into space-saving freezer bags. When you want to use them up, just throw them straight into boiling water, without previously thawing.
Only certain types of cheese may be frozen: hard or semi hard cheeses may be stored in the freezer but soft fresh cheese is not at all suitable for freezing. For storage purposes, it is advisable to cut the cheese into large pieces, wrapping the individual pieces in tinfoil, before placing them in a hermetic freezer box. When using it, select the piece of cheese you need and leave it in the fridge to thaw out very gently, to prevent it from crumbling too much.
If you find them in the freezer counter of the supermarket, you too can freeze your own mussels. So long as they have not already been frozen and thawed, and on condition that they have been cooked. Once cooked, remove the shells and put them into freezer bags. How long will they keep? Around 6 months.
Discover Fine Dining Lovers' exclusive Why Waste? video series, featuring Massimo Bottura and his team of chefs, as they teach us how to repurpose leftovers and trimmings in delicious and imaginative ways, from vegetables to dairy. Take a look