Did you know long before I was an ND, I was a health blogger? I started blogging during my master’s because all too often people would come to me with health questions. At the time, I was a TA for medical students and I wanted to be an anatomy professor. Regardless, health had always been my passion and I was seen as the ‘health authority’ by my peers. The other day, I came across one of my old blogs. I’m now in the process of updating some amazing old posts with new relevant content that my viewers have been asking for. Stay tuned and I hope you enjoy!
The Freezer Queen
I am the Freezer Queen. One because I am ALWAYS freezing (hello South American in January) and Two because I freeze everything! ….and I also love Dairy Queen…especially Reese’s PB Cup Blizzards…..
Eating for just two people (granted my hubby never stops eating) makes it hard to get through entire packages of certain food items before they go wrong.
Not only does spoiled food mean wasted money, it also puts you at risk for food poisoning if you constantly consuming foods that are well past their best before date. My housemates in university used to laugh at me because I always had little tid bits of everything frozen in the freezer. Whatever, it saved me money and I always had meals or food around during crazy exam time. While this list is not exhaustive, below I have compiled foods that do and don’t freeze well. If you buy something and are uncertain of how long it will last for, this is a great website , I use it all the time and find their information to be highly accurate.
On a side note, a huge pet peeve of mine is that people don’t realize the best before date ONLY, I mean ONLY applies to unopened items. For instance, you buy a container of sour cream, says its best before December 1st 2012, but you opened it in September, it will probably only last a few weeks once opened. You cannot use the best before date to determine is food is still good once the seal it broken, that’s where using your sense of smell, taste and intuition comes in handy.
Fruits and vegetables:
- Generally produce that has a lower water content freezes better than high water containing fruits and veggies. This explains why things like cucumbers and iceberg lettuce don’t fare so well in your freezer.
- Bananas are awesome, and make great vegan “ice cream” blended frozen in your food processor, make sure you cut before freezing
- I have also frozen sliced peaches, nectarines, berries, pineapple, pear and grapes. When freezing things like strawberries, cut up and freeze on a cookie sheet before placing in a bag so all the pieces don’t stick together
- I’ve also frozen vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans and carrots in the past. Best to blanch them first to remove excess water before freezing
- I also love all types of squash (spaghetti, acorn, butternut) but again, very difficult for me to consume an entire squash before it goes bad! Best to cook, cube and then freeze,
Sauces and condiments:
- Whenever I make a big pot of stew, spaghetti sauce or soup, I always freeze at least two portions in the freezer for quick meals down the road. Same goes for lentils, chilli, lasagna, pasta and even quinoa.
- I know my mom has also frozen ketchup in the past (see where I get it from?!!?), however most condiments are so cheap that if you’re concerned about food safety, chuck them and buy a new bottle.
- That being said, whenever I buy Tahini to make hummus, I can never get through the entire jar before it goes rancid, now I’ve learned to use half and then freeze the rest.
Dairy and dairy alternatives:
- Hard cheese like cheddar and mozzarella freeze well, softer cheese like brie, goat and feta are okay, however the texture will change when unfrozen so better to use them grated and heated in a recipe like a pizza or casserole dish
- Milk freezes extremely well, just be sure to lay the bag flat and careful when defrosting as it expands and sometimes will crack the plastic bag and cause huge spills
- Almond milk and soy milk can also be frozen, you will just need to shake them well before serving once defrosted. I find the texture post-freezing is pretty off, I would use it in baking, but wouldn’t drink straight from the container or put in smoothies.
- I believe you can also freeze tofu, but it will change the texture significantly so when defrosted consider using in a stir-fry where the texture could be masked
- Sour cream apparently does not freeze well (although I’ve never tried), however cream cheese in the block form does, and thick greek yogurt. Again, it will change the texture, to better to freeze and use in sauces or baking then eat straight from the jar.
- Another thing that freezes great is organic butter, if it’s on sale, buy two and freeze one for a baking session down the road, I never buy it hard margarine (because it contains hydrogenated oils) but I’m assuming it would also freeze well.
- I’ve never frozen eggs because I eat them all the time and they last a long time.They are something you could eat safelty a few days past their best before date. I did some research on the internet and people suggest cracking them first, whisking together a big bowl and then freezing the mixture in an ice cube tray or poured into a big container.
- Whole chickens are cheap and delicious. I will often buy and roast and entire chicken, de-bone and freeze half the meat. Same can be said for big portions of cooked ribs, pork, beef or fish for that matter, I would freeze in small portions so that you have a serving size ready to take out and defrost in the fridge (NOT kitchen counter) when needed.
- FYI most meats and fish need to be taken out the night before you want to eat them for dinner in order to fully defrost.
Bread and baked goodies:
- Generally any baked good will freeze excellent, great way to prevent your bread loaf from growing moldy on the shelf, same things goes for muffins, cookies, banana bread etc. I make a huge batch of muffins, keep a few in the fridge and then freeze the rest immediately. I will take it one out the night before when I pack my lunch in the fridge, and by the time I go to eat the muffin the next day, it only needs a couple seconds in the microwave.
- You’re making a pot of spaghetti and the recipe calls for 1 tbsp. tomato paste, what the heck do you do with the rest of the can? I have frozen leftover cans of tomato paste, 100% pure pumpkin, tetra packs of vegetable stock, coconut milk, and diced tomatoes. Make sure you take the item out of the can and put in a new Tupperware before freezing. As most canned are lined with the endocrine disruptor BPA, try to purchase organic and do not keep in the fridge/freezer in their original packaging.
Pantry stuff and herbs:
- Things like nuts and dried fruits are best stored in the freezer, where they will last much longer than at room temperature.
- Got a big batch of basil leaves or cilantro growing in your garden? Trim the leaves from the stem, freeze on a cookie sheet, transfer to a bag, and voila fresh herbs in the middle of winter.
- I also keep my almond flour and ground flax in the freezer. As they are higher in fat, they can go rancid quickly at room temperature. Just take out a few hours before using and it will thaw up quickly.
BONUS! Homemade granola recipe:
Oh yes and homemade granola! Granola, and granola bars, are two of the biggest health food imposters. Store-bought version are usually full of sugar, trans fats, low in fibre, and lots of sketchy preservatives. I love making both at home, and then freezing leftovers to take out when I don’t have time to bake. This latest granola recipe is a huge hit in our house, and you can easily swap out ingredients depending on what you have.
Peanut Butter Banana and Fig Granola (Gluten-free & Vegan)
3 cups gluten-free oats
½ cup each chopped walnuts and pumpkin seeds
⅓ cup dried chopped figs
¼ cup organic ground flax seed
2 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp each ginger and sea salt
¼ cup applesauce
1 very ripe banana, mashed
⅓ cup ‘drippy’ organic peanut butter
3 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 250 Celsius.
- In large bowl combine dry ingredients
- In smaller bowl, combine wet ingredients
- Mix wet into dry until thoroughly combined
- Press down onto baking sheet lined with parchment paper
- Bake for 35 minutes, turning the sheet halfway through
- Remove and let cool completely before breaking into bite-sized pieces
- Serve with berries and organic greek yogurt, steamed almond/coconut or on its own for a quick snack
*You could easily make a nut-free version but swapping coconut for the walnuts and sunflower seed butter for the peanut butter.