Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Freezer Discussion: I Need Your Advice & Tips!


As you may know, I just purchased a new freezer... and yes, I absolutely LOVE it! I need your help, though! You see, I'm not too knowledgeable in the freezer department and would greatly benefit from any advice and/or tips I can get!

Here are some questions I have:

  • What items can you freeze?
  • What are your favorite items to freeze?
  • Can you freeze milk and cheese?
  • If so, what are the best way to freeze these items?
  • What kind of packaging materials should be used for freezing?
  • What are some ways to prevent fruit from turning brown during freezing?

These are just a few questions to get ya thinkin'. If you have any other tips about freezing, then please feel free to let us know! I think this will be a great discussion. I'm hoping all the information provided in the comment section will not only help me, but lots of you too!

Thanks again for your help!
Happy Freezing!:)

148 comments:

molly said...

I freeze cheese- and is just fine. My hubby said his parents used to freeze milk and it always tasted funny once thawed. I am excited for all the responses that you are sure to get! I too am a beginner freezer!

Susan said...

One thing that my kids love (and goes on sale a lot) is Trix yogurt. If you thaw it out, the consistency changes a little, but my kids love it frozen! Like an ice cream treat.

Brittany said...

umm, you can freeze milk and cheese, but in my experience-frozen milk doesn't taste good when thawed and sometimes seperates. Cheese is good as long as it is in the form you are going to use it(ex. if you want shredded/sliced, do before you freeze, otherwise it sometimes becomes crumbly cheese). Yeah-you can freeze prety much anything as long as it is stored properly. You can even cook you meals ahead of time and "flash" freeze things like pancakes and to use quickly later.

Anonymous said...

Best money i have spent on a while is a vacuum sealer. We have definitely noticed a difference in our frozen meats! The refills for it are at bed bath and beyond-and you can use their store coupon to make it a better deal!

Anonymous said...

Hey Hip2Save, I have a friend they freeze milk by just opening it and drinking a sip or to so it doesn't splash you when it thaws out. My sister n law got me a Reynolds Handivac (sold at Walmart) and I just love it. I freeze all kinds of meat with out freezer burn. It takes all the air out of the bag. I wish I had a big freeze. So happy for you. TP

Jill said...

I have frozen milk and have noticed no difference when it thaws. (I buy skim milk.) You do have to allow 3 days for it to thaw in the fridge, or I let it sit out overnight in the sink and by morning it is almost thawed. When milk comes on for .99 a gallon, I stock up and freeze a few gallons. You do need to drink a little bit, though, or your container may crack.

Anonymous said...

I boil the milk after thawing and it is perfect. You have to be careful not to let it rise and make a mess, but it works. The way I boil it is that I just put in pot in low to medium heat and leave for a while until it forms that greasy thing on top (which I think is where cream and butter comes from). Besides that, you can freeze a lot of things. I also like freezing, chicken stock, fresh lemon juice in ice cubes and then save in ziploc bags for later. The meat, I was and separate in portions before freezing. Also this helps save space in freezer.

BaseballMom said...

Here are some of my tips of freezing-

Yes cheese and milk can be frozen. Make sure you pour out a little of the milk, it will expand. Plus allow a few day for it to thaw. These are 2 staples I stock up on when they are on sale. Then I just toss them in the freezer.

I also stock up on some produce, then freeze. I chop up uncooked onions & peppers, then freeze. I cook mushrooms, then freeze. Broccoli, cauliflower, and squash I cook, then freeze.

I love to have already browned hamburger and sausage in the freezer. Makes for quick taco, gravy, ect. Already pattied hamburgers are great to have too.

Hope this helps!

Barb said...

I freeze practically everything! Try it out and see if you can tell a difference in the taste of milk - I can't! So basically just pack stuff airtight in good ziplock bags, and it should be fine.

Jill said...

You can freeze anything! The one thing you have to be careful with are breads. They will get freezer burn after about one month. When I get candy on clearance (jelly beans, chocolate, etc.) after a holiday, I just throw the package in the freezer. I've gotten it out two years later and it's still fine.

Leah said...

One thing that I love to do is freeze fruit on a cookie sheet individually (like watermelon) and then put them into a freezer bag. When you take them out of the bag they are like Popsicle. Also if you freeze bananas peel them first. My mom always used to throw in bananas as they were turning but you can never us them....It is a pain to peel them when they are frozen!

Lindsay said...

While we are on the subject, does anyone know where we can get coupons for the Reynolds Handivac?

Laura C said...

This post is timely because I was just wondering about freezing sliced (individually wrapped) American cheese packages. I see a good deal on these but would have to purchase 4 which we won't eat fast enough. Anyone have experience with this? I frequently freeze blocks of Mozzarella as well as various packages of shredded cheese, and these all do just fine. BTW, I love your freezer, we have a deep chest freezer and I hate the way I can't find anything or have to unload everything to get something on the bottom. Does anyone have good arranging tips for chest freezers?

Bonnie/AR said...

The secret to freezing milk, I have found is in the thawing process, and yes I now do it and no one can tell the difference. Some of the newer jugs(gallons)have a little headspace on top, if not, you might want to pour out a little(maybe 1/2 C. or so) to allow for expansion. I have also frozen it directly from the paper cartons, but again if it is too full, you might want to take a little out, although even if it pooches a little, I had no problem with it, but there could be that little chance. It was worth it to me to just stick it in the freezer that way.
It will take a long time to thaw in the refrigerator. For safety, do not thaw on the counter. And the secret is to shake vigourously every time you open the refrigerator door(is what I do), to mix the contents well and to help thaw quicker. At first there will hardly be anything moving, but that is OK, there will be gradually. I usualy allow about 3-4days for a whole gallon of milk to thaw. You want it to be completely thawed so that it is completely mixed or it will not be right.
And this has worked for me with any of the fat contents.
Crazy tip: I usually mix for 30-60 seconds each time I open the door.
Yes! It can be done & no one will know. :-)

Jennifer said...

What items can you freeze? I freeze pretty much everything. http://snider.mardox.com/freezeables.html Go to this website and she gives an idea of what does not freeze well.

What are your favorite items to freeze? I do alot of once a month cooking so I like to freeze my meats in marinades so I have them ready at a moments notice.

Can you freeze milk and cheese? Yes I freeze cheese all of the time. My sister freezes milk alot and it tastes fine you just have to give it a couple days to thaw and shake it up really good.

If so, what are the best way to freeze these items? I use ziploc freezer bags for the most part. I have also frozen casseroles by lining saran wrap on the bottom of a dish putting the casserole together and freeze until firm. Pop it out of the dish and put in a ziploc back so you can free up your dishes.

What kind of packaging materials should be used for freezing? I use foil, parchment paper and now they have a new freezer paper.

What are some ways to prevent fruit from turning brown during freezing? I would guess lemon juice would help with that but I do not usually freeze alot of fruit.

Anonymous said...

A good tip is to save the bags from bread and buns and use them to double wrap your next purchase of bread and buns when you put them in the freezer. This helps to avoid freezer burn. I always double wrap everything I freeze.

Anonymous said...

I ususally will take and evening and make about 14 meals to freeze...makes for easy suppers on busy nights. For ideas on meals to freeze or what will freeze walk through the frozen food section and look at all the pre-packaged freezer meals for ideas on suppers to make on your own. OJ also freezes really well !!

Lisa said...

I freeze alot of berries. I first spread them out on a cookie sheet and let them freeze a little that way first. Then put them all in a freezer ziploc bag or freezer container. Great to have in the winter for cobblers and smoothies!

Moira-Lin said...

When I find hamburger meat on sale I fry it up and then put about 1 pound or so of the cooked meat in freezer bags. Then when I need hamburger for a meal I just take out of freezer and thaw a little in the microwave and it's ready to add.
When my bananas are turning brown I throw the them in the freezer with the peel still on. Then when I want to make banana bread I just let the bananas thaw in a bowl on the counter. I have found that this makes my banana bread so moist.

Heather said...

Like all your comments mine is the same! I love having a freezer and mostly because it's always stocked full of mostly freebies! I freeze shredded cheese and milk. Although the milk does seperate a little I usually use this milk for baking that way it wont taste funny. I find that ground beef or any ground meat tastes the best when used within 2-3 months after freezing. I freeze chicken upto 6-7 months. I always portion out my meat into Ziploc freezer bags this way I dont waste anything. Hmmm your options are limit-less really! I freeze chicken stock, soup homemade bread fresh berries, jam....girl you can freeze anything really
HTH!

Carrie said...

I too freeze cheese. I prefer to freeze it shredded. Blocks just crumble. LOVE YOUR BLOG! Thanks for all the tips!

Jess said...

I freeze basically everything. Salad dressing that is unopened but near its expiration date, bread, meat, juice, pumpkin puree, and basically anything else that I don't want to go bad. My favorite thing to do is save jars - my partner eats a lot of salsa that comes in smallish jars that are great for storing things in. We fill them with home made pasta sauce or home made broth, and freeze them. Just don't overfill and break them, obviously. Broth is my fav - its such a great food, since it can be made from what is basically garbage! Its like a free food. You can even save scraps (chicken bones, veggie scraps, etc) in the freezer until you are ready to make the broth, cook it up, and then put the broth back in the freezer! (I usually give it a day in the fridge first, skim the fat off, and then freeze.)

Rhonda said...

I only have the freezer on top of the fridge, so space is limited. However, I do have a nice collection of stuff in my freezer.

Favorite things to freeze:

1. pan drippings from roast beef and whole chickens. Usually there's only a 1/2c-1c so I'll freeze in a small sour cream container (or equivalent)...use a black Sharpie to write contents on side. In a few months, I'll collect like drippings and make an awesome soup or stew.

2. l/o marinara sauce -- I'll portion it out in containers to be used as pizza sauce.

3. tomato paste -- freeze in 1T increments (plop on a cookie tray, flash freeze, put plops in freezer bag). I use these when I make taco meat (homemade seasoning doesn't have thickener).

4. lunch size portions of bbq shredded chicken or beef...ditto sloppy joes

5. pre-browned hamburgerground turkey for quick chili/tacos

6. muffins and homemade waffles for quick breakfast/snack. Boy#1 loves to toast the waffles and spread with jam for a cheap afternoon treat

Lots more, but enough for now!

Michelle said...

I freeze shredded cheese all the time and it's fine. I freeze it in the package it comes in. I also freeze milk and I don't even open the container first. I've never had problems with the container breaking. I think the milk tastes fine.

I freeze alot of stuff. My husband thinks I'm crazy. Some stuff I freeze so it stays fresh is: cake mixes, pasta, & cool whip. I also freeze casseroles but try to use them within 2 months.

As for freeziing fruit you can buy something called fruit fresh and it keeps fruit from turning brown. You should be able to find this at any grocery store buy the canning supplies.

Anonymous said...

Laura C
I too freeze cheese, but only shredded, or block that I intend to shred. Freezing cheese makes it crumbly, so we don't freeze sliced; it's just not worth the mess. 'Processed cheese products' don't freeze well.

Anonymous said...

I freeze cheese (any kind), butter, coffee, and yogurt.

amyt said...

I freeze uncooked chopped veggies as well. I put them in sandwich baggies and then store several sandwich baggies to a gallon Ziploc. Double bagging seems to really help items stay fresh. I wrap other items in plastic wrap and then foil. Disposable casseroles are also good for storage. I freeze stick of butter, buttermilk, leftover spaghetti sauce, broth, tomato paste, soup, uncooked meatloaf, uncooked casseroles, quiche, homemade baked goods like cookies, cakes (w/out frosting), breads, muffins. The most important thing is to freeze in reasonable portion sizes for how you will be using the item. I freeze buttermilk in 1c portions which are perfect for the banana bread recipe I make. I freeze tomato paste in 1 T increments. I package waffles and pancakes individually for a quick grab and go breakfast. I freeze leftover ham diced in 1c portions. If you freeze 1 gallon of buttermilk in a giant ziploc, you only get to thaw it once and you have one chance to use all that buttermilk. If you put it in 1c packages, you have enough for 16 loaves of bread!

amberly said...

I have frozen milk before, and I personally think it depends on what milk you drink. Skim milk tastes o.k when it is thawed. Also I think it depends on how long it's frozen for. My husband's parents do it and we have never noticed the difference in taste. Freeze everything you can. It saves so much money, especially when fruit is on sale.

amyt said...

I read somewhere to freeze Go-Gurt yogurt in a tube for a frozen kid treat. Our Horizon tubers (bought on sale and with a coupon) are in the freezer waiting for a hot day.

Anonymous said...

I don't freeze milk or cheese. Milk takes up too much room in my freezer and I can usually find a good deal on it fresh. I use a vacuum sealer for cheese and keep it in the fridge. I do, however, freeze berries and bananas. I put the berries on a cookie sheet, freeze them and then store them in either ziploc bags or vacuum freeze them for longer storage. I freeze bread that I get at the Orowheat outlet store (hubby loves sandwichs and Orowheat bread is pricey at the grocery store!). I bought a huge bag of brown-spotted bananas yesterday for 99 cents--put them in big ziplocs and froze them with the peels on. I bake lots of banana bread and always have ripe bananas on hand! I freeze chicken breasts and meats in vacuum seal bags--no freezer burn this way. Then there are fun things like: put mint leaves in ice cube trays before filling. They look pretty in drinks, and flavor the drink as they melt. Freeze cubes of melons(doesn't matter what type)keep them in ziploc bags and use them to make fah-bu-lous frozen margaritas--no melting ice to water down the yumminess! I always have bags of frozen tortellini and frozen vegs on hand--on a cold night (lots of those in Colorado) I can make a wonderful soup with the tort, vegs, canned broth, canned tomatoes, etc. Quick and can feed a crowd if need be. Stock up on those pizza deals--now you will have room to do so! Love, love my freezer--even if it's just the two of us to feed!

Jill said...

I use the ziploc vacuum sealer. It's the manual pump one. I like it so much better than the reynolds electric one. I had the reynolds one and some juice kept gettting in the nozel and killing the batteries. I put everything in my ziploc vacuum sealer bags-meat, fruit, veggies.

Amy said...

I put baggies of rice into the freezer last week. I got one out, banged it on the counter and popped it in the microwave with baggie slightly open for 1 min or until heated. It was delicious and I didn't have to wait for the 25 minute typical rice cook time!

cynthea said...

We freeze whole milk and as long as you use it frequently it tastes fine.

my advice would be to be very selective about what you freeze and really organize your space. IF my freezer gets overcrowded I can't find anything it.

I buy the 1/2 gallon milk at fred meyers to keep my freezer stocked and then if I can't find milk for less than 2 dollars a gallon I pull a half gallon out until I find another deal.

Sal said...

One good tip from Trent @ the Simple Dollar is to fill clean, empty milk jugs with water and put them in your freezer to take up space. Apparently, they operate most efficiently at 75% or more full. I did this last month and noticed mine is running much less!

I found a fantastic book @ my library, I think it was called how to store anything, or was it preserve anything? Anywho, it talked about how to freeze almost all fruits & veggies.

rm said...

You must get the book Fix, Freeze and Feast. It is a must read. The philosophy is to buy in bulk and then prepare meals in advance. When my stock gets low, I buy whatever meat is on sale that week, and I put together a few meals.

I don't know if it's OK to post a link, but you can find their website by Googling Fix, Freeze and Feast.

The only thing better than hitting a great sale is being able to come home and prepare those items into healthy meals that are ready to go in my freezer!

Rachel

Melanie said...

I haven't tried this yet, but I just read if you have lemons and limes close to expiring you can pop them in the freezer and then thaw in the microwave when you need fresh juice. I am going to try it with our next batch of lemons. Also, I don't love freezing baked cookies but I LOVE to freeze dough. Freeze like the berries, on a sheet, rolled in balls and then once they are frozen put in a ziploc or container of some sort and they are ready to pop in the oven...kinda like the Otis Spunkmeyers but waaaayyyy cheaper. Gogurts are great, leftover pancakes and waffles. Pretty much, like I think was mentioned earlier, anything you an go down the freezer aisle and see, you can do yourself.

Cherries and grapes make great healthy snacks when frozen, as well as blueberries when they are froze properly...they don't get mushy like the frozen bags.

Stephanie said...

We freeze shredded cheese all the time then just thaw it in the fridge overnight and it's ready to use! I also like to chop up fruit when it is in season and freeze it in quart-size freezer bags to use for smoothies, baking, pancakes, or whatever. It's usually cheaper in season, so I stock up at the best price. We also freeze chopped veggies to use in casseroles or saute-type meals. It's great to prep ahead, and they're ready to cook up when needed!

Anonymous said...

As silly as it may sound, my favorite thing to freeze is sweet onions! Every fall, I go to the local farmers market and buy at least boxes of large sweet onions. I bring them home and pay :) my daughter to peel them and then dice them in a chopper. She then freezes them in ice cube trays and when they are frozen, pops them out and fills gallon ziploc bags. Whenever we want chopped onions, we just pull out how ever many cubes of them and add it to whatever we are cooking. No teary eyes or onion mess all year (unless we want slices instead!)

We don't freeze milk - we like whole, and don't care for the taste of frozen milk. But we do freeze block (to shred) or shredded cheese - we don't freeze sliced.

We also like to freeze Go-Gurt (or whatever it's called) - the yogurt in tubes. I find this on clearance quite often (almost expired), and put it in a freezer - the kids eat it frozen as popsicles.

We like to freeze fruit individually on cookie sheets, placing in ziploc bags (or preferably hefty freezer containers as they are reusable). Frozen fruit is really only good for cooking and possibly eating frozen as it thaws mushy. My children's favorite breakfast is mixed frozen fruit and plain or vanilla yogurt mixed in the VitaMix (maybe a heavy duty blender would work) - a yummy smoothie without sweetener.

I prefer to repackage meat in freezer paper as it lasts longer, and I don't like to freeze in zipper bags (except onions!).

Our family of 13 has 3 large chest freezers and 2 side-by-side fridge freezers. We actually don't use the fridge freezers much as they tend to burn items; if I had it to do over again, I would buy just fridges (no attached freezers). My freezers are something that I cannot live without (well...) I can't image how often I would have to grocery shop if I didn't have them! Yuck!!!

:) dana

Melanie said...

Oh yes, and I totally agree with the rice comment, turns out great, and that reminded me, if you cook too much pasta, especially if cooked al dente...freezes fantastically. I was leary of it myself until I finally tried it. Individual portions of spaghetti with sauce froze for lunches is great...just like stouffer's...again, way cheaper!

Anonymous said...

We freeze Hummus and Salsa. We buy it at Aldi where the Salsa is fresh not the jar stuff and it keeps just fine!

Also - Fruit when my kids grab a banana and only eat half I save it freeze it and use in smoothies.

Angel said...

Okay. I buy bread @ costco (like 4 loaves) & freeze it. It comes out fine (and the kids don't notice). I do thaw it out on the counter the day before.

Buy your meats in bulk (Albertson's had a buy 1 get 1 free & I stocked up there), divide it up when you get home, & use a vaccum seal. The best thing about vaccum sealing is that you can throw a marinade in there before you vaccum seal it closed, & it opens the pores to the meat, so that when you open it, the meat soaks up all of the juice. It's waaay awesome & the best investment I've made! Plus you can make your own sized bags, so that makes it cost less!

Andrea said...

In my experience, milk continues to degrade in the freezer, so while it's freezable, I wouldn't freeze it for long or expect it to last too long once thawed.

I like to freeze full meals, especially casserole type things. What I do is line the dish I intend to bake it in later with plastic wrap, fill it, cover it with plastic again so that the whole thing is encased, then freeze it for a couple of days. Then I take it out of the dish and wrap it in foil and then into a freezer bag (which I usually reuse) and put it back in the freezer. That way I don't lose all my bakeware for too long. Then just pull the plastic wrap off while it's still frozen, thaw it in the dish (I usually label it like this: Sweet Potato Casserole June 9 2009 8x8 Fiestaware), and bake.

amyt said...

I freeze uncooked chopped veggies as well. I put them in sandwich baggies and then store several sandwich baggies to a gallon Ziploc. Double bagging seems to really help items stay fresh. I wrap other items in plastic wrap and then foil. Disposable casseroles are also good for storage. I freeze stick of butter, buttermilk, leftover spaghetti sauce, broth, tomato paste, soup, uncooked meatloaf, uncooked casseroles, quiche, homemade baked goods like cookies, cakes (w/out frosting), breads, muffins. The most important thing is to freeze in reasonable portion sizes for how you will be using the item. I freeze buttermilk in 1c portions which are perfect for the banana bread recipe I make. I freeze tomato paste in 1 T increments. I package waffles and pancakes individually for a quick grab and go breakfast. I freeze leftover ham diced in 1c portions. If you freeze 1 gallon of buttermilk in a giant ziploc, you only get to thaw it once and you have one chance to use all that buttermilk. If you put it in 1c packages, you have enough for 16 loaves of bread!

amyt said...

I freeze uncooked chopped veggies as well. I put them in sandwich baggies and then store several sandwich baggies to a gallon Ziploc. Double bagging seems to really help items stay fresh. I wrap other items in plastic wrap and then foil. Disposable casseroles are also good for storage. I freeze stick of butter, buttermilk, leftover spaghetti sauce, broth, tomato paste, soup, uncooked meatloaf, uncooked casseroles, quiche, homemade baked goods like cookies, cakes (w/out frosting), breads, muffins. The most important thing is to freeze in reasonable portion sizes for how you will be using the item. I freeze buttermilk in 1c portions which are perfect for the banana bread recipe I make. I freeze tomato paste in 1 T increments. I package waffles and pancakes individually for a quick grab and go breakfast. I freeze leftover ham diced in 1c portions. If you freeze 1 gallon of buttermilk in a giant ziploc, you only get to thaw it once and you have one chance to use all that buttermilk. If you put it in 1c packages, you have enough for 16 loaves of bread!

Laura E said...

Amy/Melanie - HELP! More details about freezing rice. After it's cooked all the way or what?! LOVE that idea!

I peel my brown bananas and throw in a freezer bag - great in smoothies. And I love freezing chopped onion in 1C into a snack bag. Cut up a ton of the jumbo onions - 1 onion makes almost 3 C. My Thriftway has jumbo onions on sale sometimes for 3lbs for $1 - GREAT deal.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I never freeze milk, I HATE the taste after it thaws, it doesn't matter, I can tell the difference, I've tried a lot of these ideas and it still tastes yucky to me. However I'm sort of a snob with certain items, like cheese, milk and mayo. ;) I only eat Tillamook cheese's, fresh milk and Best Foods (Hellmans) Mayo. I have frozen Tillamook cheese's shredded and not shredded, and they freeze very well. I love my Seal-a-meal, I got at Target! The replacement rolls (not bags) make different sizes very easy to make. Oh, I blanch (boil for 3-5 mins) corn on the cob and freeze them in packages for my family of 5, when they go on sale, then take them out and boil again. Fresh (frozen) corn is great! Love it! ~Jennifer in WA

Anonymous said...

One item that makes for quick meals later is when you buy ground meet, make it into small meatballs, broil them in the oven turning them once. Then lay them on a cookie sheet and freeze, and package when frozen, or else you can dump them into a zip bag and after a few hours, shake the bag to keep them from sticking together. Makes it easy to take our just the number of meatballs that you need!

Julie said...

I don't have a vacuum sealer but I've found that I can get most of the air out of freezer ziplock type bags by sticking a straw in it and sucking out the air that way.
Does anyone know if you can freeze hot dogs?

Vicki H. said...

Congratulations on your new freezer!

i don't freeze cream cheese because it thaws grainy and i've never been able to whip it out when cooking with it, but i've noticed it can far survive way past the "best by" date when it's been sealed the entire time.

You can "freeze" eggs by beating them up and putting them into ice cube trays (as many cube slots as you have eggs: one cube, equals one egg). Try it with a couple eggs, freeze them, and then place them in a freezer bag when frozen. If you find they alter in taste, try this recipe: for every half dozen eggs, beat with 3/4 tsp. sugar and 1/4 tsp. salt. Some also spray the tray with oil before adding eggs to make them pop out easier.

i've read that Green peppers tend to change flavor in a casserole when frozen; and that clove, garlic, and pepper get stronger when frozen, while sage, onion and salt get milder.

trash2cash4u said...

As Jennifer mentioned, I freeze meat ( usually chicken--wash first!) in a marinade. I often use Italian dressing bought in bulk or buy my own unless there is a steal on Lawry's or something similar.

Right now, it is just me, my husband and 10 month old and she is not eating a significant amount of "real food" at this point. However, I LOVE having a freezer ( we've had one just a few months)!!!

Hubby is a good eater, but on the rare occasion that we have, say, a crockpot full of chili or something that we don't want leftover-leftovers of, we freeze that.

Something obvious to me, but not to everyone maybe is to buy larger quantities of fresh meat and freeze it in manageable portions. I buy several 5 (or even 10) lb. rolls of ground beef and freeze it in 1-2 lb portions. I also wash and freeze chicken breast so it is ready to go and freeze 2-6 breasts per bag for various recipes.

I have only recently begun freezing milk. We don't mind the taste of thawed whole milk.. I usually don't keep a lot in the freezer, but with 2 people our milk usage varies depending on how much we drink or how much I bake. Freezing is a good way to avoid running out. I just freeze half gallons and they fit on the door. I thaw in fridge for maybe 2 days or so - it will pour even if some is still frozen.

I buy bulk freezer ziplocs at Sam's and wash and reuse for everything except meat.

Lastly, I make and freeze my own baby food. I use a Magic Bullet to puree and freeze in ice cube trays. www.wholesomebabyfood.com has been invaluable to me!!!

Anonymous said...

I freeze just about everything also! I have found that using press n seal really helps with freezer burn. I seal it up really well with that and then put in a zip loc freezer bag. It's strawberry time here, so that will be the next thing going in my freezer. I like to freeze them whole. Just wash them, let dry then put on a cookie sheet in a single layer and freeze, when frozen put in your freezer bags. I freeze cheese too, work out great. Never forze milk though...

Anonymous said...

PS. Bread can get hard after thawing. I freeze cookies and quiche and Costco muffins!

Ann said...

My very favorite freezer cookbook: Fix Freeze Feast. Using bulk shopping, you make several quick freezer dinners at one time. Mostly frozen in zip lock freezer bags, some items in tin trays, you slap a label on with cooking instructions, throw in the freezer, and pull it out the morning you will cook it. Delicious, and very easy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Julie!
You can definately freeze hot dogs. I generally buy all our hot dogs for a year during Memorial Day sales (I don't care for them, but my kids do). Just throw the packages in the freezer... no prep. I don't think that they would last a whole year in a fridge/freezer, but if you have a frost-free chest, I know that it works great!

:)dana

Jami STL said...

make sure the stuff you are freezing has been frozen the whole time or was never frozen. you don't want to re-freeze something like fresh fish that was frozen for tranport then thawed in store.

I freeze leftover wine to use in cooking in small containers or icetrays then pop out and save in a freezer bag.

Also use your icetrays to freeze herbs (basil) and pesto, pop them out and into your favortie recipe.

peeled brownish bananas are great frozen for smoothies.

I will bake a whole chicken (I sell pampered chef and use my deep covered baker which I LOVE) shred it and freeze in single serving bags (that I then store in a larger bag) great to thaw for chicken salad, quesidallas, chef salad, baby's lunch, etc. etc. buying the whole chicken saves us a lot of money.

Another pampered chef plug, but I use my scoop to freeze cookie dough on a cookie sheet then bag them for baking later, allows me to bake only the amount I need and saves over buying premade cookie dough of which you have to cook the whole package.

Stephanie said...

A few things that haven't been mentioned:

Uncooked cookie dough: make a huge batch, scoop it out onto a tray & freeze. Once frozen, place cookie balls in zip lock bag. This is a must at Christmas time! When cooking, allow to sit 10 minutes on tray to thaw before you cook.

Broth: either in ice cube trays (freeze, then transfer to baggy) or in containers. I make a big batch when we have chicken/turkey bones, then feeze it in smaller portions.

Leftover veggies from dinner: If there is only 1/2 cup or so left, I save them up, keep ading to the bag & then make chicken pot pie.

Also, when freezing things (i.e chicken breast, sauces, ground meats, etc.) lay them flat in zip-lock bags. You will be able to load things better in your freezer without having all these different sizes bags/containers.

They also have stackable freezer containers. Look in the Canning Area of your local market. You should be able to get stackable ones that are square without taking up too much room.

Have fun experimenting!!!

Anonymous said...

A great way to save money is to buy meat when it is on sale and freeze it. A lot of meat goes on sale 2-3 days before the use or freeze by date. I buy steaks, hamburger, roasts, etc and take them out of the original packaging and wrap them in plastic wrap, foil and put in freezer bag.

Anonymous said...

Julie-

We freeze hot dogs and have never noticed a difference. I just take them out of the freezer the day before to thaw in the fridge

Esther said...

Veggies! I blanched and froze 60 pounds of asparagus last month. $1.50 a pound from a local farmer sounds way better than $3.99 a pound in the winter shipped in from another country. Hopefully I can do a bunch of beans, brocilli and cauilflower from the garden too.

Carrie said...

My favorite use of the freezer(besides the obvious of stocking up on sale items and fruit in season) is to freeze ready cooked meat, chicken, beef, ham, hamburger, turkey, in serving size zip lock bags. It's so handy to grab a bag out and have that big step of cooking the meat, done! Here is one of my favorite recipes for a Mexican Meat, which we use in all our Mexican food. You can use the same recipe for either beef or chicken.

http://www.primeonadime.com/2009/03/recipes.html

Also, I never have any trouble with fruit turning brown. I just put it all in zip lock bags and freeze it.

Anonymous said...

I freeze chicken stock in ice cube trays and then put them in ziplocs-write on the outside how much is in the bag when thawed-ex- 1/2 cup etc. also freezing veggies- blanch them first and they will defrost perfectly. I saw someone put in the berries on a cookie sheet- freeze then ziploc them. When I see over ripe bananas on sale- I unpeel them slice them and do the same as the berries- Perfect for banana bread, muffins, or smoothies. I also have a list on the side of the freezer with the contents by shelf with the date I put it in-- so much less waste.

Anonymous said...

You can freeze butter, which I did, and now I have enough to last years. I'm giving it away b/c it takes up the bottom compartment of the freezer (I have the same one as yours). I always freeze steaks and chicken w/ the marinade in the ziploc bag w/ them so I just throw them on the grill and we're ready to go! I don't recommend freezing cream cheese, it becomes grainy.

Eden said...

everyone always talks about how you can freeze milk. i have done it & like others before me said here, it really doesn't taste good. it has a strange texture & bad taste. we also don't like how there are always little ice chips in the milk after thawing. just talking though. :)

i have always frozen shredded cheese & that works just fine. no idea about block cheese.

and i am excited about reading about solutions to browning fruit. i always have that problem with fruit unless it is storebought frozen fruit...

hope that helps a tad!

Anonymous said...

I just read an artile in America's Test Kitchen magazine, "Cook's Illustrated" about freezing/thawing bread and after much testing they said frozen bread tastes best/freshest if a slice is zapped for a few seconds in the microwave.

Laura said...

I freeze cheese and milk the same way that most of these other people do. One thing that I do that is different is that I cook 1 pound of meat and then put 1/2 of it in a regular sandwich bag (we only eat 1/2 a pound in each meal). Then, I put that sandwich bag in a big freezer bag and fill it up. This way I use fewer of the more expensive freezer bags because I just need one to put all the little packages in. I don't freeze casseroles because I do not know ahead of time if I am going to have a rushed day or not and casseroles take a long time to thaw in my experience. So I just pull out a sandwich bag of cooked meat and pop it in the microwave for 1 minute before adding my other stuff to it to make a quick meal. Good luck!

Evan and Jamie said...

I freeze EVERYTHING!! I recently upgraded to a stand up freezer and love it!! When I make casseroles, I try to make an extra one in a foil pan and then cover with foil and write the cooking directions right on the foil with a permanent marker. That way the hubby can throw in dinner too!! (Lasagna and enchiladas freeze great) Also, flash freeze things that you will only use portions of. I buy brick cheese, shred it all up and spread out on a cookie sheet. Pop it in the freezer for about 20 minutes and then it won't stick together when you put it in a large ziploc bag!! Then you can just grab a handful as you need it.

I love your site and hope you get lots of freezer tips!!

Meagan said...

My tip for freezing fish: If you don't have a vacuum sealer, freeze fish in a ziploc bag full of water to prevent freezer burn. I live on the FL coast and we go deep sea fishing, it really is the best way to keep all that fish fresh.

Anonymous said...

I freeze toilet paper, It's cool on the buns, yah

Eden said...

oh other things we freeze...

butter, homemade hamburger patties, hotdogs, berries, seasonings (that are not open), coffee, candles (they take longer to burn that way!), chopped up veggies (all but onions, that was a disaster :)), flour, etc.

i coo ground beef & put 1 lb in each baggy. Then i put all the little baggies into a big bag to double bag.

i freeze chicken & pork, however i don't cook it first, although i suppose you could.

coffee always keeps better if it is frozen. i don't keep our open coffee in there (we keep that in the fridge), but any stockpiled coffee goes in the freezer.

making your own hamburger patties is so less expensive too. we bought a $5 hamburger patty maker that is amazing. you don't need one of those to do it, but it sure has been fun. and it is so nice to pull those out of the freezer, set & ready to go on the grill.

think that is all i can think of right now. i love the yogurt idea others had. i have never done that, but it sounds GOOD!

Brandy said...

Love your page! I freeze everything. I have a lay down and a upright so tons of stuff in my house comes from my freezer. For berries I freeze individually on cookie sheets and then transfer to ziplocs. I do the same for all fruits. It doesn't matter if you dip them in lemon juice first to freeze them because they don't turn brown as they freeze it's when you thaw them. I only use for smoothies, cobblers, pies, cookies or fruit salad for the family if you don't mind lots of juice. They won't stay firm after being froze so would never serve at a party. Cheese is great to freeze. I portion out meat when bought in big packages and use freezer paper. In a lay down I have kept meat for 18-24 months if near the bottom. Cookies, cheese and bread are my biggest thing to freeze. We use so much of these items. Cookies can be frozen as dough (roll it to slice it or I freeze indviduals on a cookie sheet and then put into a bag) or you can freeze already cooked ones in a ziploc. I have froze bread in the bag you buy at the store for up to six months no problem. Sour cream freezes but will seperate so mix good. I use a lot of tubberware containers for my stuff. It's great to buy onions, vegis on sale and then I portion out into half cups or cup servings depending on what it is. Pull them out and it's already measured. With onions though I freeze how your going to use them. They can get a little mushy but in soups and casseroles you will never know. Have fun filling that freezer up and until it's full FREEZE WATER. Your electricty bill will thank you. An empty freezer runs MORE than a full one.

carol said...

I send a couple days a month cooking and making meals I can just take out and heat. I buy meat on sale and only have a big clean up once. I have many freezeable meal recipes that I think your family would love and for a busy mom these are great. Let me know if you would like some of my recipes. cpetersonp@gmail.com

407 Space said...

what an awesome topic -- I can't wait to read these posts.

Autumn said...

Cheese is totally fine to freeze, milk not so much. :) Also I would invest in those vacuum sealer. They are awesome and allow you to freeze all kinds of things. I love my freezer, best money I ever spent!!

Ida said...

I freeze milk both regular and lactose free, I think it tastes great and if seperates a little we just shake it really well my kids love it when there is still a few ice crystals left in the milk. cheese is hard to slice after frosen but tastes the same, i freese yougurt when getting it on last chance markdowns in huge amounts, we then eat it frosen like icecream or you can thaw it and sometimes depending on the brand it is just like before it was frosen but sometimes it seperates and looks nasty eventhough it tastes just fine so we usually stick to it frozen. If i find a great deal on fresh fruit or veggies we have a chopping party and freese ready to go produce.
just about anything can be frozen.

Anonymous said...

I freeze cheese but you must shred it first. Or you can buy shredded cheese and throw it in there. My family used to freeze gallons of milk b/c we went through so much. It separates but we just shook it up again.
We freeze jalapenos, green peppers, onions, tomatoes...pretty much any veggie that you will COOK when you thaw. It is easier if you dice them ahead of time. I like to dice them in the size I will normally cook with. Like an onion, green pepper, and jalapeno all together to make chili with some time.

Since it's just me and my husband and it's cheaper to buy things in bulk I often dice all my onions when I notice they are starting to turn so that I don't end up throwing them all away. But realize...it's a PAIN if you freeze them all together. I suggest 1 onion per bag.

You can do the same with sliced potatoes.

Beware freezer burn. Don't freeze so much that you won't use it before it dehaydrates! I hate throwing away stuff for that reason. Of course I only have a little freezer and those aren't as nice.

Anonymous said...

A couple of suggestions I did not see:
Make two meals; 1 for supper and one to freeze. After a week of cooking you have 5-7 meals stocked up. Another tip is to let dishes cool down for quite awhile before you freeze, don't stick them in the freezer too soon and I will freeze items in the fridge freezer before I put it into the deep freeze. Our deep freezer works hard enough as it is. One last suggestion is to keep your freezer as full as possible, they say your freezer does not have to work as hard when it is full.

Lowry517 said...

We go to the farms and pick fruit eat summer. We freeze tons of blueberries, blackberries & peaches. I wash my berries and lay on towels to dry. Then, I freeze in Ziploc quart-sized bags. We have tried Hefty, but they don't seem to do as well.

Peaches are sliced and froze on a cookie sheet before putting into bags. If not, they will really stick together much worse.

Our fruit keeps for well over a year. There have been times that we do not use it all for up to 2 years.

We have also froze peas from the garden. They were not all eaten for like 3-4 years (it was a huge crop that year). We couldn't believe how the last bags still tasted so fresh when cooked.

Lowry517 said...

Meals we like to freeze are:

Enchiladas of several kind...just as the comment above, I make extra pans when I make them. They are kind of messy to make, so it is a one time mess.

Lasagna is great to freeze. It has kept for us almost a year with no change in taste.

Chicken spaghetti is another great one.

You can also make extras of your marinades and sauces like: fajita marinade, pesto sauce, etc. and freeze in those very small plastic containers. Or, go ahead and freeze your meat in the marinade.

Nicole said...

I know lots of people confirmed you can freeze cheese, but didn't see mentioned that you can freeze butter really well. I would also suggest labeling everything w/ a date so nothing stays in too long and get freezer burn. Have fun!

Ida said...

one of my favorite things to freeze is onions, they do lose about 50% of the flavor in the frezer but i love having them chopped and ready to go when i through together a casserole or something in the crockpot.

same goes for celery, sweetpotatoes, carrots, brocoly and any other veggie we use often.

cookie dough or finished cookies are great as well. If i make them from scratch i make about 8 times as much and freese what ever i do not bake, and i freeze what i do not want the family to inhaile right away.

BeccaCKyria said...

I didn't read all of the comments but I have a great suggestion for remembering WHAT you froze and put in there...we have had many things get "lost" in the freezer because we forgot we had it! We use a dry erase board and write the item down. Then we just place "tick" marks for however many of the item we have. Each time we take something out we just use our finger to wipe away one of the tick marks. Once we are running low on something it is very easy to tell just by looking at the board. I hope this is helpful!

C, H & E said...

I am wondering about the Kraft Deli Meat? My coupons expire tomorrow and I was debating wether to stock up- has anyone tried to freeze this item?

Anonymous said...

I have a deep freezer too and LOVE it. I freeze: milk, cheese, meat, butter, bread, bagels, english muffins, yogurt, any baked goods (stock up on good sales on Entemanns coffee cake, soups. I usually buy bigger amounts of meat like ground beef b/c its cheaper that way and then split it up into smaller portions in freezer bags. I will also buy those pre-made dinners and sides sometimes when they are on sale (tyson, hormel, etc) and freeze those for up to 3 months- they are great when you are in a hurry.

Jan said...

Laura E.

Regarding the rice...I cook a large amount all the way, then freeze it in ziplock bags in 1-2 cup batches. Thaw in microwave & drain any water if necessary or if you are using it in soup etc. just toss it in frozen.

Anonymous said...

I freeze cheese all of the time (even slices). You don't want to freeze sour cream or anything with mayonaise because they separate. Since you have a freezer now, you should do that once a month cooking. Especially since you have small ones at home. More time to spend with them! I use my vacumn sealer and sometimes zipoc or Hefty. One thing I used to do all of the time when my kids were little was make a batch of cookie dough and get a small ice cream scoop and scoop it out on a cookie sheet until they got hard then I would transfer them to a ziploc bag. When my kids wanted hot cookies I would just take out what I needed. Yum!!

Jami STL said...

oh...and...
batteries are supposed to last longer if you store them in the freezer, so keep that in mind next time the big sale comes up. Also rubber bands.

quiche freezes well too.

Megan said...

Freeze chicken broth, coconut milk, tomato sauce, and other liquids in an ice cub tray then transfer to a ziplock for easy individual servings later. Also fun to use toothpicks and freeze juice for popsicles.

Freeze any leftover fruits or veggies before they go bad. Make great additions as ice cream toppings, smoothies, and in stir fry or soup. Blanch leafy veggies before freezing.

I also make cookie dough, roll it into a log, and freeze it. When you want to have fresh baked cookies, slice desired quantity off the log and place on the cookie sheet to defrost. Ready to bake after sitting out for about 15 minutes.

And make sure to date and label items. I use a Sharpie on masking tape.

Megan said...

CH&E- I freeze deli meat all the time. Best if it's still sealed by the manufactuer, but if it's fresh, at the least, make sure to double wrap and discard the tissue paper the deli workers weigh the meat on. Lunch meat will release liquid as it defrosts, so it's a good idea to switch containers or dump the liquid to prolong it.

Also works fine to make lunch meat sandwiches complete with cheese and conditments ahead of time. Keep the lettuce and tomatos in the fridge, though.

The Hargett Family said...

You can freeze Gogurt for a frozen yogurt treat for the kids.

I bake, frost, and freeze cupcakes. I have a Cupacake (from Williams Sonoma) that you can put cupcakes in for lunchtime treats. Having them made ahead of time has been a lifesaver for school lunches.

natalie said...

I freeze everything! I always double whatever I'm making for dinner and freeze half for a busy day.

For a fun treat, freeze capri suns and eat frozen or slushy!

lilminnow said...

Flour! Keep those ishy bug away

Wisconsin Coupon Mommy said...

Milk I wouldn't, cheese I always do, butter...um veggies you should drop in boiling water to blanch for 60 sec before to keep them from getting mushy or browning. Fruits clean good and like strawberries remove the green part...I freeze bread I haven't bought bread for 4-5 months now and have enough to last me 3-4 more...(caught a GOOD deal) You can freeze chopped up onions...those DONT blanch...I put those in the ziplock twist n lock so the smell/flavor doesnt get into the other foods. Make up pie crusts n freeze in zip lock baggies...You are gonna need a labeler next...lol to label all your goodies. I made about 30 twice baked potatoes and through them in little zipper bags and froze them. We LOVE those...make up extra bread n freeze...you can do LOTS! I am planning on getting LOTS of corn this summer and freezing it...my mom has a garden too and we r freezin a lot of the veggies n fruit so we are stocked for winter...OH when you thaw the fruit add a little sugar and it will make a juice (I do this will all of the berries) and it is great for all kinds of treats, waffles, french toast etc...you are gonna have LOTS of fun!!

Wisconsin Coupon Mommy said...

I have froze the Kraft deli meat and it is FINE :D Just thawed some more yesterday! :D

Wisconsin Coupon Mommy said...

I freeze hot dogs all of the time :)

Anonymous said...

I mistakenly froze dips when I sold a very popular in-home party plan. Mayo (any kind) has never been a good freezing item in my experiences. It separates and even if you mix it, it never goes back the same.

momma-lana said...

A few things I have not seen-

We make homemade pizza every week and I buy the 5 pound bag of pepperoni at Sam's. We just keep the whole bag in the freezer and remove what we need every week. It has so much fat in it that it does not stick together and it thaws in a minute after putting it on the pizza. We buy the case of 20 dough balls from them too.

Blueberries can be frozen right in the Ziploc freezr bag if you don't wash them. They don't stick together and you have a bag of "marbles" after they are frozen. When you go to use them put your measured amount in a strainer and rinse under cold running water until the water runs clear.

I put my fresh fruit into salt water as I cut it up and it won't brown. You can cut up apples and put them in salt water and store them in the fridge for many days in ziploc without any loss of quality. Great for kids.

Teresa said...

I don't like milk thawed, the fat and water separates a bit usually and make for an odd freeze. I do know many others do. Also I've heard of many freezing bread but I'm not a fan.

Cheese - I will freeze and use shredded cheese that way. Usually I'll be cooking the cheese that I freeze, and that tastes fine. I don't like freezing and unfreezing cheese to use uncooked.

Fruit and veggies - I've done a lot where I'll freeze first on a sheet pan and then put into a bag (so individually) Since I like diced pineapple, I'll spray a muffin tin first with cooking spray, pop the pineapple in and freeze as a batch. I've also done that for shredded carrots. (use later in cakes or bread)

I run a restaurant, and when we have leftovers, I do a lot of these things to help keep things usable.

I've also done "Salmonsicles" lol - freeze in muffin tin to use in place of tuna in salad or sandwiches.

When freezing items for cooking, I find it helpful to freeze in 1/2 cup or cup increments and then bag all together, labeled.

I'll try to list some of the other ideas, but I do like doing things individually or else I find i never use the item b/c it takes tons of space to thaw and then we're stuck eating that item for days. Even chicken breasts, when I buy a family pack, I'll freeze on a tray first and then pop into a single bag, sometimes wrapped in freezer paper too.

Anonymous said...

BeccaCKyria...love your idea of the tic marks. I'm gonna do this.

Rachel said...

I always buy a few gallons of milk at a time, and freeze two. It takes a while to thaw, so we thaw it on the counter for around 24 hours. The more watery part of the milk thaws first, so it's in your best interest to thaw it completely, then shake it up. Always tastes fine to us.

Anonymous said...

what is "flash freezing?"

Nate, Jessica & Maya said...

Freezing milk always tastes weird... but I've always frozen cheese (I only freeze it shredded as it isn't mushy when it thaws)- GOGURT is a wonderful frozen treat- especially in the summers!! Also, rhubarb freezes pretty well- I cut mine up in small chunks and measure out for my recipes then use a foodsaver to bag and seal them. My fruit doesn't turn brown (especially bananas) when I use a foodsaver instead of just freezer bags. I also freeze homemade bread and it turns out wonderful! Just a couple of ideas.

Michelle said...

Is it an old wives tale that you can not refreeze meat once you have thawed it? I have heard both ways on this.

Cherry said...

I love frozen grapes. Wash & freeze them. It's delicious frozen, or thawed. I cut bagels in halves and freeze them. Toast before serving. I freeze lemon juice(squeezed) on the ice tray, use it in place of ice cubes, you have a cold lemon water!

A.Marie said...

Just my 2 cents worth....in response to Michelle, you should never refreeze thawed meat, because bacteria will grow on the meat once it is thawed. When you put it back in the freezer, this just hibernates the bacteria; when you bring it out to thaw again, the bacteria multiplies and next thing you know, cooking it just doesn't cut it, and you could come down with some life threatening food poisoning. If you have thawed meat that you don't want to eat that day, you can cook it into a meal and then re-freeze it. This is okay, as long as you only reheat the meal once. You cannot keep this meal's leftovers for another time; whatever is not eaten will have to be thrown out.

I found some of this information on WikiAnswers, some on the National Center for Home Food Preservation, and some I already knew! Gotta give credit where credit is due! :)

Anonymous said...

Stuff I freeze:

"Gogurt" for the kids. They love it.

Homemade baby food. Freeze in ice cube trays, then transfer to freezer bags- so easy & much cheaper

Homemade wheat bread- I make one batch of 6 loaves every 3 weeks or so. When you're running low, pull out a loaf the night before & let it thaw.

Cream cheese- the texture is a bit different if you're eating it plain. But I whip it for gravy, desserts, etc & I haven't had a problem with it.

Cookie dough. Either in balls & bags, or in a log, rolled in wax paper and then foil. I always have a stash of cookie dough. It is actually better for my will power frozen. If I make an entire batch fresh, I overeat. Now when we have a craving, we can just pull a few out at a time to bake.

Extra garden seeds for the next year

Extra soup when I make a huge pot

Casseroles. Lasagne. Enchiladas. I make 2 pans any time I make these & freeze one.

Meat in bags, portioned for one meal.

Butter.

Chocolate chips. Many many chocolate chips.

Popcicles (for the whole neighborhood it feels like)

Corn on the cob. Wait til toward the end of summer, when you can get it for 5/$1 at farmers markets or from people selling it from their truck on the corners. I blanch it & seal it in foodsaver bags. 20 bucks usually buys me enough to last an entire year. This is the BEST use of my freezer.

Anonymous said...

I used to puree various fruits and veggies and freeze them in ice cube trays. I would store the cubes in a freezer bag.

Makes great baby food....WAY cheaper.

Jan said...

I freeze Pillsbury Crescent rolls in the can. I place the can inside a ziplock bag just in case it explodes, but so far I haven't had a problem with that. Just thaw and bake as directed.

Jamie said...

I have froze milk and I think it taste just fine when thawed! I froze half gallons as is ( they do bulge a little, so I lay them on side). The milk looks kind of yellow when frozen , but looks just fine after thawing! It does take 3 or 4 days to thaw! Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I know you can freeze a lot of these items but my question is, how good is the stuff for after it thaws? I don't want any cases of food poisoning!
Good post by the way. I make a lot of hearty soups and stews and freeze them in small portions.
I also mix yogurt and coolwhip together, make into popsicles and freeze them.
I also freeze all meats, flour (no buggies), and baked goods (like bread or cake).
I never did like the taste of thawed out milk by itself (maybe I just never shook it enough), but I do freeze some of it into cubes to use for my coffee.
-J

Tara said...

ok I don't know if its said, i dont have time to read all the comments now, but you want to keep your freezer full. Fill in extra space with plastic bags filled with ice. this will help with energy costs.

Orlando shopping Deals said...

My favorite place to check before i freeze is here
http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Fact_Sheets/Focus_On_Freezing/index.asp
There's another site on freezing veggies I'll have to look on my other computer that website

Anonymous said...

I freeze quite a few things... I always put fruit fresh on my fruits like strawberries, peaches, apples. With bananas when they are turning brown I thorw them in the freezer peeling and all. Then when I want to make banana bread I just let them thaw out a few minutes while I am gettig everything else ready. If they are still frozen I run them under some warm water. I also purchased a food saver from Wal-Mart and use to on everything. Except I learned that breads don't work well. I double wrap the breads that I have baked in aluminin foil after they have cooled. But bread from the store I just throw in there. I also buy chicken legs, breast, etc. and then package them to what we will need for a meal. I also bake cookies and freeze, or just make up the dough put on a sheet freeze it and then put in the food saver bag for when I have time to bake. I also stock up on corn each fall. I blanch it, cut it off the cob, and then put in freezer bags or food saver bags. I've also frozen broccoli, green beans, tomatos for soups, and cheese. I love my 2 freezers!! And believe me they are packed.

EZ and RJ said...

we buy hamburger in 3 lb. packages and then repackage them in the ziploc vacuum seal bags. they freeze really well and it allows us to stock up on meat when it's on sale!

Ann said...

I make a batch of lasagna for dinner and then the next day after it has set-up in the frig, I cut it into individual servings, wrap in plastic wrap and then foil, and place in a giant freezer zip-lock bag (can never over-wrap for the freezer). I also make & bake stuffed peppers, place them in individual baggies & suck out all the air, and place in a big freezer bag once they have frozen separately. There are also recipes for frozen slaw and frozen cucumber salad (great to get out for use at holidays/get-togethers/potlucks). Since I bake cookies to sell during the community yardsale, this year I'm going to make the dough in the next few weeks and freeze them in balls so I won't be frantically mixing and baking them the week before the sale when I'm busy with last minute pricing. Having a convection oven makes the baking go super fast (and less time in a hot kitchen).

Karen H said...

I freeze a bunch of stuff, butter, cheese, homemade jam, meats, veggies, fruit (usually berries & mangos). I usually freeze them on a cookie sheet so they don't mush together, then transfer to a freezer bag. Also, I freeze cookie dough, it's so easy. Again, I freeze it first on a cookie sheet already scooped out into little balls. Then I stick it in a freezer bag and we have hot cookies anytime without all the preservatives in the bought cookie dough. In my experience you will want the following: freezer paper, freezer tape, ziploc vacuum bags and 2 gallon freezer bags. The freezer paper and tape is because you wrap the meat first in that and then put it in the ziploc vacuum bag and then you can reuse the ziplock bag instead of throwing it out. Most of the time, I also freeze the meat first and then put it in paper and the bag. No mess in the bag to reuse it! Because you can't really wash it out and reuse it. You have a lot of responses!!! You will be an expert in no time! Good luck!

katrina78 said...

i freeze butter - i stock up when it's on sale for $1.50 for 4 quarters. just throw it in the fridge a day or so before you need it and you're fine. my supermarket tends to offer good deals on the family packs of meat so i buy them and then divide them at home into individual freezer bags. i also will make homemade meatballs and freeze them for future dinners, packaged about a dozen per meal.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you can def. freeze hotdogs! I freeze them when I find them on sale and then take them out the night before a cook out.

Lisa said...

WOW!! Awesome response! I have heard that you can freeze canned biscuits, cinnamon rolls, etc. When the really good Pillsbury sales come around, I plan on finding out!! Has anyone ever frozen salad mix, bags of lettuce?

Cathi said...

You can freeze just about anything as I understand it. I freeze chees...block, cut and kraft singles. I freeze all my margerine/butter. And YES you can freeze milk. But you have to open it and pour off about a glassfull to prevent an EXPLOSION from the expanding. The taste of milk...well...it does water down some. I wouldn't do it with skim or 1%...but 2% is ok. My kid NEVER notices the difference.

Carla said...

My boy loves pancakes. We make a whole box of mix and make a lot of pancakes, then freeze them in stacks of 3. Quick 1:30 thaw and yum yum!

Jen said...

Something I didn't see mentioned... homemade pizza sauce. I cook up a huge batch, portion into snack size baggies, lay flat to freeze so it's easier to store. We have a pizza every weekend and it takes minutes to throw it all together and pop in the oven. :)

Laura E said...

Jan -
Thanks so much for the rice tip... I'm gonna start the stove as we speak...

Kristin said...

I keep this site in my favorites, and go to it when I'm unsure of freezing.

http://busycooks.about.com/library/lessons/blfreezer.htm

And BTW, I have read many sites that tell you not to freeze cottage cheese, but I do (just for lasagna, not for straight eating).

The number one thing I suggest is browning up some meat, it saves time later on! (I buy in bulk when I get a really good price.) I do this especially with ground beef.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, that's

http://busycooks.about.com/library/lessons/blfreezer.htm

Karey said...

things we freeze that I didn't see in other comments:

chopped herbs like parsley, basil, oregano in ziplock bags.

popcorn kernels in original packaging.

pumpkin pie filling

Ida said...

all right i have not read all the coments but I do not think snyone else mentioned this.

One of my favorite things to freezeis peanutbutter and jelly sandwitches. I make about 2 loves worth at a time wrap them up in sandwitch baggies and label and date with a sharpie. These are great when putting together everyones lunches for the day surprisingly even my husband loves them, you could do this with ham and cheese and mustard and just add the fresh veggies in the morning before putting in the lunch box.

i used masking tape on all my tubberweare but it often fell of, then i was introdused to freezer tape a few years ago and i still just as inlove as the day we meet. It stays n as long as you want it to even in the dish washer, oops, and comes of easy and clean when it is time.

date and label everything, even the best of us will not remember if this particular leftover spagetti sause was the one with cheese allready mixed in 2 months down the road.

Ida said...

Lisa
lettuce wil not be your friend if you freeze it, think canned spinnage. I have had lots of great results freezing various dought bought or homemade.

Allso all the people who pour out milk before freezing, maybe i'm just lucky but i have never done that and i have never had a spill or a cracked container.

Anonymous said...

WOW!! What a great discussion. I have read everyone so far and I have to agree..with most. I just have a couple of things to add.

I love to freeze store bought bread, but when I moved to higher altitudes I found that it got mushy when I moved it from the freezer to the counter so when I need bread I put it in the fridge for a day before I move it to the counter. It seems to keep it from being mushy.

(Got this one from my mom) She would take the juice from the canned fruit (store bought or home canned) and make popsicles out of it by putting it in ice cube trays with toothpicks. Put saran wrap over the tray and than poke the toothpicks through, that keeps the toothpicks straight up and down.

The biggest tip I can think of is when you buy in bulk and separate it out, try to make everything about the same size packages and FLAT. This does two things: It makes it easier to stack (which increases your space) and the items in the bag will freeze evenly.

Here's the best one I've found for Peaches so far:

Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008
Prep Time:20 min
Inactive Prep Time:2 hr 0 min
Serves:1 pound frozen fruit
Ingredients
• 4 ounces granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground
children's Vitamin C
• 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
• 1 pound peeled and pitted fresh peaches, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices

Directions
Place the sugar, Vitamin C and paprika into a 1-gallon zip-top bag, seal and shake to combine. Add the peaches and toss to coat well. Lay the bag flat on a counter and using a straw, suck out any remaining air in the bag. Return to the freezer

Love your site! Angie

Thairn said...

A general rule - the more the water content of the product you are freezing, the less likely it will be of the same texture when it thaws. An example: blocks of natural cheese freeze much nicer than processed cheese. good luck, hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

I freeze butter, all cheeses, Go-Gurt, hot dogs and never have a problem with taste when I need it later on.

Lenna said...

I always freeze my milk. It saves on trips to the grocery store. When I see we are low, I take a gallon out of the freezer and set it on a towel on the counter over night. By morning, it is mostly thawed. We don't have any problems with flavor. You will want to shake it when thawed. Sometimes, we notice white specks in the milk where the milkfat has seperated. No problems though.

I freeze cheese, but I shred it and store it in a gallon freezer bag. I do this for 2 reasons. After it has been frozen as a brick and thawed, it doesn't slice or shred very well--it breaks off in chunks. It is also very easy to use when it's shredded and because of the surface area, it thaws quickly. But because of the increased surface area when shredded, cheese molds quicker. Cream cheese doesn't thaw well.

I like to individually freeze my meat that is purchased bulk and also my fruits. This way they aren't stuck together and you don't have to thaw the whole pkg to use some. Just spread the items on a large baking sheet and place in the freezer until frozen solid. Then, remove from the sheet and place in a gallon freezer bag.

Ok, that was long, but that's what I suggest with a freezer.

I also freeze lunchmeats in 1/2 lb increments in the freezer. Then thaw as needed.

Anonymous said...

I love my freezer & use it a lot. I hope the long post is ok!

I will try freezing anything at least once but mostly I freeze meat & veg. I do freeze milk & have never had problems with the taste. It does turn yellow when it's frozen & it does separate but you need to shake it VERY thoroughly once it's thawed. It takes two or three days to thaw completely in the fridge. I shake it every time I pour though I don't really think that's needed. I've left it our overnight to thaw too. My family has never complained about the taste either.

For fruit, I usually just freeze what we grow - blackberries. I've frozen other kinds of berries that I've bought.

I also freeze breads & pastries but they need to be eaten within 4 to 6 weeks at the most. I buy on sale & freeze. With buns I have a small family so I take one bun per person out of the freezer & thaw in the microwave wrapped in a paper towel on defrost. If you buy snack cakes, they freeze very well too & keep for about 6 months.

I also cook ahead & freeze some things. Usually it's just the meats. I'll grill a lot of chicken breast then cut into 1-in. pieces & freeze for stir fry, salads, wraps, enchiladas, ect.

I freeze leftovers to use in homemade soups. If there's only one or two servings left of a veggie, rice or meat, I freeze it in a small container until I have enough to make soup. I also make my own broth & freeze it.

Since my family is small I freeze a lot of sauces. I buy spaghetti, marinara, salsa ect. & freeze them in 1/4 cup containers to use in recipes.

I dice fresh onions & peppers from the garden or when they're on sale & freeze in ziplocs. Then I take out what I need for recipes or to top homemade pizzas.

The main things I freeze from my garden are purple hull peas & tomatoes. The tomatoes can only be used in cooking once frozen.

I also freeze nuts & chocolate. I like to buy chocolate after major holidays for cooking. You can buy Valentine or Easter chocolate on clearance then break into chunks & freeze for cookie, cake or brownie recipes.

I also store some of my garden seeds in the freezer.

Things I've had bad luck freezing are mashed potatoes, homemade bread dough(I should be able to do this but haven't learned the trick yet) & asparagus(it just doesn't taste as good as fresh from the garden!).

Things I've heard you can freeze but have never tried are butter & eggs. I've read that you can whisk a dozen eggs as if you're making scrambled eggs. Divide them into an ice cube tray with 12 compartments. Then once they're frozen pop them out & store in a freezer bag. One cube equals one egg in your cooking.

Like I said, I LOVE my freezer & use it every day. I really like the slide out baskets in your new freezer. Mine is upright too but I don't have as many compartments. I really like yours. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do mine! Jen PS sorry this is so long but I hope it's helpful.

Tanya Porth said...

The one thing that I haven't seen on this list is bacon. I buy it on sale and if I'm lucky along with a coupon. I have found Walgreens actually has the best price on Oscar Mayer bacon (my brand of choice). I buy a couple of pounds at a time and freeze them. Pull them out and pop them in the fridge a day before I use them and they taste great.

cathy said...

Tanya...yes I have frozen bacon and my mother did it for years...freeze as is and defrost the night before in the frig. does anyone else wash their expensive ziploc bags and reuse them...just wondering if i'm the only crazy one..:)

Anonymous said...

A good trick to freezing homemade though is to use parchment paper before putting it into the freezer bag.
always works for me.

Linda said...

When my bananas turn brown, I peel them, cut in half and freeze them. When I want a fresh smoothie, I add all of my ingredients in the blender, and then instead of ice, I add the half banana. It's yummy!

Anonymous said...

if you freeze your bread, make sure to slip a peice of paper towel in the bag to absorb the moisture when thawing!

Anonymous said...

We freeze milk all of the time and have no issues w/ it. If it does separate, just shake it up and it will blend back together. We've never had any complaints from the 4 kids about the taste. We also freeze cheese slices. It does look a little funny when thawed, but they still eat it. Note on the milk though, it will expand when frozen- so the jug sometimes will deform.

Anonymous said...

Recently, I learned that you can freeze onions. I did not know this, but my husband's Grandmother told me so, and you know how that goes, they know best! lol. I don't know if anyone posted this on any other comment, but thought I'd pass it on. Usually I have onion left over and many times, do not use it all after spaghetti, etc. so this is a great way to do it and it is so fresh and ready for next time! I just used a ziploc bag. :)

Anonymous said...

I always freeze FLOUR, especially whole wheat. This keeps the flour from becoming rancid and makes all your homemade goodies taste fresh. I also freeze nuts and chocolate.

Anonymous said...

A couple of months ago there was a .50/1 coupon for Coffeemate creamers. I buy these all the time, so I went on ebay and bought 20 coupons for it. My grocery store put the little bottles on sale for $.99, so guess what? They were free when my coupon doubled. I wanted to buy 20 bottles, but didn't think I could use them before they went bad. I decided to try freezing them and it worked out great. I put them in the frige to defrost and they were just as good as ever. I will mentioned that I did not buy the fat free kind. I read that when freezing foods, the low fat and fat free foods do not freeze as well.

Bethany said...

I read somewhere that the best kind of cheese is Mozzarella. Other kinds will change consistency/taste...
Best containers are freezer ziplocks...flatten everything out and you can pull things out flat; it also thaws quicker this way.
My favorite things to freeze:
browned hamburger meat, separated into 1-lb bags
cooked, diced chicken. I buy at least two whole chickens, cook them at the same time, de-skin and bone and then dice. Great to pull out when you need cooked chicken. I usually freeze these in 1-cup increments so it's also pre-measured.
Fresh herbs keep frozen for up to a year. I buy them in season, wash, dry WELL and freeze in a ziplock. Pull out and ready to use.
One tip is to make sure you are only freezing things ONCE. Like don't use cooked meat to make a casserole and then re-freeze it. It will lose taste. Same with fruit or veggies. You can also make an entire casserole and bake it, and freeze into single servings. This is great for single people or empty-nesters.
I would freeze everything if I had a bigger freezer. But I don't. So I'm always crammed for space. If I had more room I would do more meals ahead of time.

Bethany said...

Oh, one more thing. I read a good tip in a magazine other week and it was to freeze extra juice in ice cube trays, then pop one in a glass of water for your kids...instant watered-down juice!

Rachel W said...

Have you thought about Canning? When the fruits and veggies are at there cheapest, in season, you can them and enjoy them later. This also cuts down on sugar and preservatives, and time. The veggies are already washed and slightly cooked!

Anonymous said...

We make trays of eggplant parm or baked ziti. We put them in the alum. trays and cover with the lids. Mark the top with the date and freeze; do not cook before freezing. We have also made desserts and frozen them. You can even freeze store bought desserts including Entements cakes. I regularly freeze bread and lunch meats too. We buy a cinnamon bread from out local fair, slice it and freeze. Pull out what we need to make french toast and it's DELISH :) Happy freezing!

Alicia said...

Everything! I freeze anything I can make in large batches. Whenever I make spagetti sauce or chili I just triple the recipe and freeze it in amounts that my recipes call for. I also do the same when I bake bread, and I freeze loaves of bread I find good deals on. I have a lemon tree and freeze whole lemons when there are too many to use. They are a bit softer when they thaw, but it makes them perfect for juicing.

Probably my favorite thing to freeze is brown rice. I love to use it since it's healther, but it takes longer to cook. I cook a large stock pot of it once, then freeze it in small batches. To use later I put it straight from the freezer into a steaming basket and it comes out perfect! It even has a better texture than when made without freezing.

I do the same thing with oatmeal. I like steel cut oats, so I'll cook a whole batch and freeze portions to make for faster breakfast prep.

Anonymous said...

I peel bananas, break them into about three or four pieces and use them in fruit smoothies. It gives the smoothies a really thick frothy texture. If they are in the freezer for a really long time they will start to turn brown, but I have only had an issue with this a few times.

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