If you’re like most people in America, you probably end up throwing away your fair share of food. I know I have the best of intentions for everything I put in my shopping cart, but inevitably end up having to throw items away from time to time because I didn’t get to them in time.
With a bit of forethought, you can limit your trips to the trash can.
10 Things to Stop Wasting and Start Freezing
- Bananas: I purposely buy extra bananas, with the intention of freezing them once they are ripe. Just peel and freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet for a few hours, then transfer to a freezer bag. They make great banana bread, like this double chocolate version! Alternately, you can slice them up first – making it easier to add to smoothies.
- Berries: Got a little carried away at the farmer’s market and don’t think you will make it through those 10 pounds of strawberries in time? Freeze them in a single layer on a cookie sheet for a few hours and then transfer to a freezer bag. Then, make them into these amazing muffins.
- Chicken Broth: I like to freeze 1-2 cup portions of chicken broth in mason jars. I also freeze them in ice cube trays (pop them into a freezer bag once set) to use with recipes that call for a small amount of broth. No more wasting an entire can!
- Rotisserie Chicken Bones: Don’t throw away that chicken! Pop it into the freezer and use it for broth once you are ready. It is super frugal and tastes much better than store bought!
- Leftover vegetable scraps: Save any (washed) vegetable scraps and any vegetables you know you wont use up in time and pop them into a freezer bag. Once full, use it to make vegetable broth or add to chicken bones for chicken broth.
- Bread Ends: Even if you don’t like to eat the ends of your loaves, save them in a freezer bag. Once full, I take my kids to the duck pond to feed the ducks. Just defrost the bag of bread on the counter for a few hours. Alternately, you can use them to make breadcrumbs.
- Baked goods: I LOVE to make big batches of cookies, quick breads, cinnamon rolls, and muffins and freeze them. They defrost really well! Don’t let your extra baked goods go bad before you have a chance to eat them.
- Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns: I don’t know about you, but we can never make it through an entire bag of buns in time. Now, I just freeze them as soon as I buy them (or bake them) and take them out as needed.
- Cheese: Don’t let that cheese go to waste! Grate it and pop it in the freezer and it will keep. I like to make pizza kits with enough dough, sauce, and shredded cheese and freeze it all together. It makes for a much easier pizza night!
- Milk: Save that soon to be expired milk in 1 cup portions and use for cooking.
There you have it. My top 10 tips for preserving food in the freezer that would otherwise go to waste.