I know it doesn’t sound the most fun – but I spent a quality half hour reorganising my freezer (but, er, not defrosting it, as you can see) at the weekend- rounding up the random items that were lurking and bagging them together to stop stuff being forgotten – and thought it was worth a post since I’ve not written about the freezer for a while.
I don’t have a massive freezer – it’s alright for a fridge-freezer, but I don’t have a second one lying about my tiny flat that I can keep half a pig in or anything. But even if you have a really small freezer you will find that it helps you if you use it efficiently. It’s great for taking advantage of good deals, cheap ingredients and bulk-cooking. I find that if you’re not organised, random items tend to get lost in the back and then slowly succumb to freezer burn, so it is worth keeping an eye on what’s in there.
So what do I keep in there?
To help give you some ideas, I’ve listed below what’s currently in my freezer, as of tonight. Luckily I’d taken the half a lime drizzle cake out last night so it all looks pretty healthy 😉
Vegetables & Fruit
I don’t like frozen carrots, broccoli or cauliflower, so tend to avoid mixed bags, but I do keep other frozen veg in stock:
- Peas and sweetcorn – the basics that I always have.
- Mini corn on the cobs – a new revelation for me. So handy, especially since the fresh ones seem to go off really quickly, and I find these mini ones are a better size too.
- Spinach – I’m a recent convert to frozen spinach, which I now love for chucking into all kinds of cooked dishes. Saves that end bit of the fresh bag going to waste and it’s A LOT cheaper too.
- Green beans – I’m not 100% sure about these because I think fresh are nicer. But the fresh ones I’ve been buying lately seem to go off in a day or two which was really annoying me, so I’ve switched to frozen to avoid that.
- Homemade baked beans – I made a batch of these in the pressure cooker and frozen in one tin size bags, tucking these all into one big bag to keep them together
- Several frozen bananas – perfect for milkshakes, or you can use them to make banana bread/muffins too
- Tub of mixed summer fruit berries – much cheaper to buy frozen and perfect for milkshakes or baking too
Meat & fish
- Bacon – it’s cheaper to buy bacon in bigger packs, so I open the packs when I buy them and freeze in 4 rasher bags for Dave’s weekend bacon rolls.
- Smoked sausage, chorizo, and sliced pepperoni – whenever I buy this kind of thing and use half, I freeze the rest to avoid waste. All kinds of cooked meat freeze well in my experience.
- Pate – I picked up a couple of packs reduced to 9p each the other week and stashed them away.
- Beef brisket – half the joint I bought last week to make goulash with.
- Chicken drumsticks x2 – all that’s left of my last whole chicken
- Salmon fillets x5 – the four I bought at the weekend plus one I’d bought already frozen
- Smoked haddock – two fillets I’d bought reduced to half price a couple of weeks ago
- Cooked ham – from a whole gammon joint I cooked up and sliced; enough to do Dave sandwiches for the next few weeks (he has them 2-3x a week) plus some extra scraps for chucking in a chicken pie or soup
One of my favourite tricks is to cook up a big batch of beans in my pressure cooker and freeze in tin-sized portions for ease. Right now I have chickpeas x3, butter beans x1, cannelini beans x1, black eye beans x1 and pinto beans x2. If you do this, you can either defrost the beans before using or just throw into a soup or stew to heat through from frozen.
Because I mostly eat homemade bread, it doesn’t keep long once made. I tend to store it in the freezer and at the moment have 2/3 of a homemade seeded loaf, a couple of homemade brown rolls, three homemade brown wraps, one shop-bought part-baked loaf and a couple of shop-bought mini naans.
Pre-made meals and ingredients
- beef goulash – two portions left from the meal I made last week
- concentrated ham stock x2 – two tubs of strong ham stock
- chicken stock – homemade from the bones of the last chicken I’d bought
- arrabiata sauce x2 – leftover from a previous week
- breadcrumbs – all whizzed up and ready for coating chicken and fish or adding to burgers or nut roasts.
- potato scones – a batch I made with some leftover potatoes a while back and froze
- ginger – a peeled ‘thumb’ of fresh ginger, ready to grate straight into curries and stir-fries
Apart from some ice, that’s about it at the moment! I do usually keep some icecream and home baking in there too but haven’t got any at the moment. Soup is another thing that’s great to freeze but I’m all out at the moment – kind of feeling into salads for lunch lately.
What do you keep in your freezer? I’m thinking about making up some ice lollies in the optimistic hope that it’ll get warm round here!